Photo Gallery Cologne Tries to Save its Past

A day after the collapse of the building housing Cologne's city archive, efforts to save some of the valuable documents stored in the facility have begun.
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The building housing Cologne's city archives collapsed on Tuesday afternoon. Despite searching all night, the city's fire department said that two people remained missing on Wednesday and are presumed dead.

Foto: DPA
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The building began creaking and groaning just before it collapsed, giving those inside just enough time to escape. The two thought to have died in the disaster were in a building next door, which also partially collapsed.

Foto: DPA
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The process of determining just how much of Cologne's history was lost has now begun. Here, journalists take pictures of a box full of historical documents.

Foto: DDP
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Cologne's archive contained documents from over a millinium of the city's history. Here, a policeman hands over folders of the more hum-drum variety.

Foto: DDP
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When the archive building collapsed, it took down parts of neighboring residential buildings along with it. Here, an apartment is torn open to the elements.

Foto: DDP
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The archive had eight kilometers of shelves holding countless valuable documents. Some 9,000 documents have already been pulled out of the basement. But it is unclear just how great the losses might be.

Foto: DDP
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Cologne's history dates back 2,000 years, to Roman times. The archive's earliest document came from 922. Two of the four manuscripts in the hand of Albertus Magnus, considered the greatest German theologian of the Middle Ages, were kept in the archiv'e rare books collection.

Foto: DPA
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In addition to rare documents, the archive housed centuries of city council notes plus receipts issued from 1350 to 1450, a valuable resource for historians.

Foto: DPA
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Rescue workers tried to stabilize the rubble by pumping concrete inside. A number of neighboring buildings were evacuated out of fear that they too might collapse.

Foto: AP
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Cracks ran through a number of neighboring buildings after the collapse. Cracks had likewise been discovered in the archive recently, but had been discounted.

Foto: DDP
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The collapse may be connected with the construction of a new subway line under the street out in front of the archive.

Foto: DDP
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The Cologne archive was the largest in Germany, and one of the most important municipal archives in Europe.

Foto: DPA
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The archive contained the personal papers of almost 800 prominent German authors, composers and politicians, including those of the country's first post-war chancellor, Konrad Adenauer.

Foto: DPA