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A branch archive of the Federal Archives known as the "Memorial to Freedom Movements in German History" was opened in the baroque Palace of Rastatt in 1974 following encouragement by the then Federal President Gustav W. Heinemann.

This historically important location played a central role in the final phase of the revolution of 1848/49: A rebellion of soldiers from Baden began on the 9th of May 1849 in the Court of Honour of the Palace calling for the "basic rights of the German people" of December 1848 and avouching the Paulskirche Constitution. The Palace was both the headquarters of the freedom fighters and their last bastion during the siege of Rastatt in the summer of 1849. After their capitulation on 23 July 1849 they were court-martialled in the Ahnensaal of the Palace.

The Federal Archives branch understands itself to be a "living memorial to contemplation of, and encounter with" (Heinemann) democracy in its specific German tradition. The themes covered range from the freedom movements of the early Modern Era to the peaceful revolution in the GDR.

As an extramural learning location, the memorial makes an important contribution to the integration of following generations in our free democratic society in particular, and to the development of politically aware citizens.

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