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20 in German History
September 20, 1863
Death of Jakob Grimm in Berlin, Germany.
Along with his brother Wilhelm he is known most for the
Grimms' fairy tales, published as Kinder- und
Hausmärchen. (1812-1822). But the brothers did a
huge amount of work which is equally important but less
known. Between 1816-18 they published Deutsche Sagen, a
collection of German legends. Between 1819 and 1837 Jakob
prepared a complete German grammar, Deutsche Grammatik. His
work in linguistics led to a new science. Grimm's Law in
linguistics is named for Jakob Grimm. He further published an
analysis of ancient Germanic law, Deutsche
Rechtsaltertümer. The most extensive work undertaken by
the brothers was the complete German dictionary, Deutsches
Wörterbuch. The work was so extensive that neither lived
to see it completed. Scholars continued the work after the
Grimms' deaths and finally finished it about a century after
they had started it. Jakob also published a history of the
German language, Geschichte der deutschen Sprache.
September 20, 1875
Birth of Matthias Erzberger in
Buttenhausen, Germany. Erzberger, a member of the Catholic
Center Party, worked toward the peace to end WWI and was a
signatory of the Armistice in 1918. Later he was first
berated by right extremist groups and in 1921 shot to death
by right-wing radicals.
September 20, 1884
A 6.2 mile tunnel, the Arlberg Tunnel, is
completed in the Austrian Alps.
September 20, 1894
Death of Heinrich Hoffmann in Frankfurt am
Main. Hoffmann is most widely known as the author of Struwwelpeter.
September 20, 1945
German rocket engineers who have been
captured at the end of the War and been brought to the US,
start work on the American rocket program.
September 20, 1949
Ludwig Erhard is named Minister of
Economics in Konrad Adenauer's cabinet.
September 20, 1990
The two Germanys ratify a treaty of unification. A reunification treaty between West Germany and the GDR was negotiated in mid-1990, signed on 31 August of that year and finally approved by large majorities in the legislative chambers of both countries on 20 September 1990. The amendments to the Federal Republic's Basic Law that were foreseen in the Unification Treaty or necessary for its implementation were adopted by the Federal Statute of 23 September 1990. After that last step Germany was officially united at 00:00 CET on 3 October 1990. East Germany joined the Federal Republic as the five states of Brandenburg, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Saxony, Saxony-Anhalt and Thuringia. These states had been the five original states of East Germany, but had been abolished in 1952 in favour of a centralised system. As part of the 18 May treaty, the five East German states had been reconstituted on 23 August. At the same time, East and West Berlin reunited into one city, which became a city-state along the lines of the existing city-states of Bremen and Hamburg.
September 20, 2005
Simon Wiesental dies at age 96 at his home
in Vienna. He was an Austrian Holocaust survivor who became famous after World War II for his work as a Nazi hunter. After four and a half years in the German concentration camps such as Janowska, Plaszow, and Mauthausen during World War II, Wiesenthal dedicated most of his life to tracking down and gathering information on fugitive Nazis so that they could be brought to justice for war crimes and crimes against humanity.
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