Europäischer Autorenkreis für Film und Video e. V.
European Film & Video Makers Circle

My Ansbach

by Anni Bergauer

I have always lived - with short breaks during school years - on the outskirts of Ansbach. My hometown is the administrative capital of Middle Franconia and the former residence of the Margrave of Brandenburg. Ansbach can look back on more than 1250 years of affecting and eventful history. I feel comfortable here, because today with 40,000 inhabitants (the town of Ansbach includes at least 54 districts) it ranks among the smaller towns. But I love this accessibility.

In the year 748 a Benedictine monastery was established between the Onoldsbach (from which the name Ansbach was later derived) and the Rezat.

Its wealth of historical sites and treasures gives Ansbach a special position among the cities of Franconia. Impressive monuments such as the Chancellery, the churches of St. John and St. Gumbertus, the residence with its 27 state rooms and the magnificent Orangerie in the Hofgarten (where our gala evening will be held) bear witness to the glorious past of the erstwhile royal capital. In the Residence - our castle - you will find among other things the Ansbach Porcelain Factory. Thanks to a  "privilege" bestowed in 1709 by Margrave Wilhelm Friedrich the Ansbach Porcelain Factory produced from 1710 the first porcelain with blue and white décor. Famously the porcelain factory succeeded in copying the Chinese decor of the "green family". The pieces of this type, the cold-painted pieces with cherry blossoms and the relief decoration of birds are especially precious. These can be seen during a guided tour of the Margrave Castle.

From the towers of the castle, Simon Marius, the astronomer who lived in Ansbach, discovered the moons of Jupiter over 400 years ago - even before Galileo Galilei.

The Orangery and the courtyard were first mentioned in the Herb Book of Leonhart Fuchs in the early 16th century. During World War II, both were badly damaged and have now been rebuilt in the style of the 17th and 18th centuries.

A mysterious crime story and a tragic victim, who was led by his destiny to Ansbach: this is the source of many puzzles. It refers to Kaspar Hauser, the "Child of Europe", who lived in Ansbach from 1830 until his violent death in December 1833. Not only has Hauser's death remained a mystery, but also his past life. Was he the legitimate offspring of the Grand Duke of Baden, or perhaps just the son of a Tyrolean maid? No one has yet been able to solve the mystery. Even DNA analysis failed to yield any clear results.

A monument in the old town, a memorial stone at the site of his assassination in the courtyard garden, a department in Margrave museum and his grave remind us of his fate.

In the historic centre (pedestrian zone) of Ansbach there are many more very interesting buildings to visit. The Jewish synagogue in the Rosenbadstr. 3 built in 1740 was desecrated during the pogrom of November 1938 by SA-men, but to protect neighbouring buildings it was not set on fire. Today it serves as a "symbolic house of God."

The St. Gumbertus church and the St. John's church both date from the 15th century. Within the old town near the Margrave Museum a small remnant of the former city walls can be seen. In addition, you can find in the old town, numerous lovingly restored buildings, spacious city squares and countless street cafes, beer gardens and many speciality shops, to stroll around and linger over. On the other side of Fränk. Rezat - connected by a modern footbridge to the old town - there is a Shopping Center in Brückencenter with 60 shops under one roof. Since 2007, the town of Ansbach has also had a private theatre. Its founding director was the playwright, director and author Jürgen Eick, who was honoured for his numerous productions, co-productions and guest performances in 2010 as "Artist of the Month" by the Nuremberg Metropolitan Region. Marketed under the name "Ansbach Theater - Culture Cooperative at the Castle" a series of a classical concerts with international guests and the Ansbach Castle Cinema operate next to the theatre.

The Ansbach Bach Week is a music festival held each year in Ansbach, which is dedicated to the life and work of Johann Sebastian Bach. The first Bach Week took place in 1947.
Numerous concerts are performed in the Charles Hall, the Great Hall of the Margrave Castle, the Orangerie and the churches St. Gumbertus and St. John.

The program lists well-known world-class artists who have played in Ansbach: Yehudi Menuhin, Gidon Kremer, Mstislav Rostropovich, Ludwig Hoelscher, Ferdinand Leitner and Karl Richter. In recent years, there have been guest appearances by, for example, John Eliot Gardiner, Philippe Herreweghe, Ton Koopman, Andreas Staier, Martin Stadtfeld and Masaaki Suzuki with his Bach Collegium of Japan. The Ansbach Bach Week is the oldest festival which features the work of Johann Sebastiann Bach and which takes place in a fixed centre in Germany.

With its Rococo Festival, the city celebrates its name as "the Frankish Rococo city". This is part of its great margravial heritage. Courtly bustle, gallantry and a touch of powder and perfume give the festival a unique character and make the Rococo Festival a unique experience. Each year the elegance, music and dancing of the 17th and 18th centuries against the backdrop of the Orangerie in the margravian Hofgarten attract thousands of visitors.

Since 2007, an art exhibition in the city of Ansbach has caused a stir: that is the "Ansbach Sculpture Mile", showing modern art in public spaces, in interaction with historical buildings and places, but also in front of modern facades. Numerous sculptures by Prof. (hc) Jürgen Goertz or Claude Viseux from Anglet and sculptures of Swiss artist Quirin Mayer or Kurt Laurenz Metzler provoke many discussions.

In the 60s Ansbach was known throughout Germany because the Porzner brothers of TSV 1860 won the German field handball championship twice from 1960 to 1962. In 1981, 1982 and 1985 the Ansbacher Grizzlies were German Champions in American football.

Ansbach is twinned with four cities: Bay City (USA) since 1960, Angelet in France since 1968, Jing Jiang in China since 2004 and most recently with Fermo in Italy since 2006.

Today, modern educational institutions like the University of Ansbach with about 3,000 students, characterise the city of Ansbach. Of course Ansbach has numerous high schools and vocational schools. But there are other important sites in this former garrison town: the Bavarian Economics School and Bavaria State Institute for the training of specialist teachers in general education and technical school for mechanical engineering and a Medical Academy, for medium-sized industrial enterprises in the fields of plastics processing (Oechsler AG, Heinlein plastics, etc.), food (Fa. Schafft -. Bifi and Unox soups ) the automotive supply industry (Robert Bosch GmbH, Diehl Metering GmbH) to name a few; the various administrative bodies and an attractive inner-city retail centre.

As the seat of county government, with regional authorities and courts such as the Administrative Court and a Senate of the Bavarian Administrative Court, Ansbach has a high proportion of public sector workers.

You see, in Ansbach there is a lot on offer, although that is only a small part of our fun activities. That is why I am particularly pleased that I can warmly welcome you all to EURO-FILM FESTIVAL 2015 in Ansbach. See you soon!