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Valensise at the 125th anniversary of the German Historical Institute

Deeply rooted relations that the two countries’ traditional collaboration could be made even stronger in the future. This was the message of foreign ministry secretary-general Ambassador Michele Valensise’s speech at the celebration of the 125th anniversary of the German Historical Institute (DHI) in Rome, founded in 1888.


Oldest of German Historical Institutes abroad


The Rome DHI is the oldest of German Historical Institutes abroad. It was created following the opening of the Secret Vatican Archive, and was closed during the two world wars. In 2013 it celebrates its 60th anniversary since reopening after WWII. A reopening that was made possible by an Exchange of Notes signed by Alcide De Gasperi and Konrad Adenauer regarding German cultural institutes in Italy. The historical context of the DHI’s research ranges from the High Middle Ages to recent times and, clearly, follows Italian and German history with a special focus on relations between Rome and Berlin. Past Italo-German wars and, in particular, the destiny of Italian troops interned in Germany, are also a sphere of inquiry of the institute’s experts, particularly Historians Commission chairman Prof. Lutz Klinkhammer.


Valensise: stronger Rome-Berlin collaboration under Italian EU presidency


The DHI celebrated its 125th anniversary on 25 November. In his speech, Ambassador Valensise recalled that Italy hosts the largest number of German cultural institutes in the world. He also pointed out the numerous analogies in the history and politics of Italy and Germany, as well as the longevity and depth of bilateral relations and the common commitment to the European construction, expressing the hope that under the Italian EU presidency that traditional collaboration would be strengthened.


Germany, committed to building a common cultural memory of the tragic world war


The Secretary General’s speech was followed by those of the Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Education and Research Thomas Rachel (CDU) and various German speakers who echoed the words of a message sent by President of the Federal Republic Joachim Gauck in recalling Germany’s commitment to encouraging the building of a common cultural memory of the tragic events of 1943-45. The celebration closed with a presentation by the Prefect of the Secret Vatican Archive Mons. Pagano, who praised Germany’s impetus in the 19th century that was decisive to opening the massive Vatican archive, which is indebted to German culture and its research methods, and to the indispensable “investigative power” of numerous German scholars (and some Austrian) who have worked there down through the decades.

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