the document in different resolutions

From the collection of the Deutsches Historisches Museum:

First Printing in German of the Declaration of Independence of the United States of America, July 4, 1776


U. Roloff-Momin*



The American Declaration of Independence was adopted on July 4, 1776. Just a few days later, between July 6 and 8, the German version of the document was printed in Philadelphia. At the suggestion and with the generous help of Professor Dr. h. c. Hans L. Merkle, deputy chairman of the board of the "Kulturstiftung der Lšnder" (Cultural Foundation of the Lšnder), it was possible to acquire an original broadside print of this document for the Deutsches Historisches Museum. Only one other copy is known to exist and that is in the United States.

This unique document bears witness on the one hand to the independence of the United States and to the origin of all democratic constitutions; on the other hand it reminds us that many Germans helped to shape the birth of the USA, this "nation of nations". Those Germans had left their home country for political, economic and religious reasons in the hope of finding a free and safe existence in the New World. And so the Deutsches Historisches Museum is also portraying a piece of Germany's own history with this singular document and calling to memory the fact that citizens of the Old World were long denied the rights to opposition and reform and that for many of them emigration was the only road to a life in a just and safe environment.

Apart from the "Kulturstiftung der Lšnder", financial support for the acquisition has been provided by the Stiftung Deutsche Klassenlotterie Berlin, Robert Bosch Ltd., and the Robert Bosch foundation. The Land Berlin also contributed to the purchase with funds from the relevant acquisition budget of the Deutsches Historisches Museum. We are grateful to them all, especially to Professor Merkle, whose prompt approval of the project facilitated the decisions of the others, and to Dr. Klaus Maurice, Secretary General of the "Kulturstiftung", who coordinated the process. I would also like to thank the committees of the "Kulturstiftung" - the Council and the Board - for their unanimous decision to support the purchase of this document for the Deutsches Historisches Museum.


* former Berlin culture official