On Sunday, the 6th of August 1950 - 70 years ago - more than 300 students, professors, politicians and journalists from nine countries came to the border station at St. Germanshof. During the well-planned operation, they tore down the barriers on the German and French sides and declared their support for a common Europe. This historically significant event ultimately laid the groundwork for the later Schengen Agreement. At the same time, the memory of this event is an opportunity to reflect on the ideas of the time in the context of today's challenges and to give an impetus to the future-oriented discourse of the citizens as a whole and of young people in Europe in particular.
The fact that the Palatinate is generally considered the home of the early German nation-building and democratic movement is particularly evident from the Hambach Festival in 1832 and the March Revolution in 1848. Far less well known, however, is the storm of students on August 6th, 1950 at St. Germanshof – less than 50 kilometers from Hambach Castle-which represents a significant date for the European movement and is in no way inferior in its symbolic power to the events mentioned above.
Shaped by the bitter experiences from the wars between Germany and France, but also by the economic disadvantage due to its peripheral location, the Palatinate became a pioneer of Franco-German reconciliation and European integration after the Second World War. Against this background, the storm of students was a milestone in European history only five years after the end of the darkest chapter of German history. Around three hundred students from several countries, but mainly young Germans and French, found an impressively courageous way to formulate their visionary idea of peaceful European unification-without shedding a drop of blood.
Today, more than seventy years later, the demands of the past have long since been overtaken by reality and yet Europe no longer seems to be able to get out of its crisis mode and is finding it difficult to define its own role. The action group Bobenthal-St.Germanshof has set itself the goal of conveying the spirit of the storm of students to the European youth and thereby re-inspiring the European movement. There is hardly a place that can better explain the need to overcome national differences than St. Germanshof and hardly a generation can present these ideas more convincingly than our young European generation. The time is ripe for new courageous steps.
- Dr. Norbert Herhammer, Chairman
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The monument consisting of twelve steles (in the style of the twelve stars of the European flag) erected in 2007 on the initiative of Dr. Herbert L. Breiner and his colleagues ("Aktionsgemeinschaft Bobenthal - St. Germanshof e.V.") commemorates the historically significant event of the year 1950, which ultimately laid the groundwork for the later Schengen Agreement. It is located on the field across from the former toll house at St. Germanshof.