The keeper of the munnerstadt past

The keeper of the Munnerstadt past

"I want to give the past a future", says klaus dieter guhling, the master of countless shelf meters full of books, newspapers, photos, posters, files, century-old folios and much else that is collectible to document the history of the city of munnerstadt. He has been the honorary director of the city archive in the zehntscheune for 33 years. This work keeps him young, a few days ago he celebrated his 80th birthday. Birthday.

That klaus dieter guhling would one day find his home in munnerstadt on the edge of the rhon was not preordained for him. He was born on 1. June 1940 in warthegau in what is now poland. His father had to go to war as a soldier and was reported missing in action in russia in 1943. "I don’t know what it’s like to have a father", says guhling therefore. In the fall of 1945, he was expelled from poland together with his mother and sister. They came to marktredwitz in the upper franconian district of wunsiedel in the fichtelgebirge mountains. Klaus dieter attended elementary school here and passed his school-leaving examination at the gymnasium in 1960. "We felt at home here, we were doing well", he says about this time.

He then moved 400 kilometers away to tubingen in swabia to study. There he studied greek, romance and german literature at the eberhard karls university. "It was a carefree and beautiful time, without worrying about where it was all going", looking back on this time, he states. In 1963 he traveled for two and a half months through greece to get to know the places like athens, delphi or olympia that are mentioned in ancient literature. After that it was clearer to him what his goal was.

Not leaving his girlfriend alone in munnerstadt

He continued his studies at the university of erlangen, with the aim of taking the first state examination for the teaching profession at gymnasiums. The exam was passed, and he came to the albrecht-altdorfer-gymnasium in regensburg as a student trainee. Among the group of six trainee teachers he met there was his future wife. During the so-called assignment phase at external schools, klaus dieter guhling was to come to a school in kulmbach. His girlfriend, to whom he was not engaged, was to go to the gymnasium in munnerstadt. She presented herself there in august 1967 and he accompanied her. The first impression of the town was obviously not 100% positive, because he remembers: "the whole main street was torn up"." His girlfriend didn’t like to stay alone in munnerstadt, so they got married on the 30th. August without rough celebration in regensburg, hoping that a married couple was not separated.

Robert hornung, then principal of schonborn grammar school, was of the same opinion and successfully lobbied for both to come to munnerstadt. In 1968, guhling passed his second state examination in regensburg and came to munnerstadt permanently as an assistant professor, as did his wife anna johanna. 14 years klaus dieter guhling taught german and latin in munnerstadt. During this time he built a house in reichenbach together with his wife, because she wanted to have a rough garden.

School numbers at the gymnasiums were falling, so there was a risk that he could be transferred to a school further away. He therefore voluntarily transferred to the rhon high school in bad neustadt so that he could at least stay in the region – and stayed there for 21 years. In 2002 he retired as director of studies, as did his wife.

Political and honorary commitment

The children of the guhling family attended kindergarten in reichenbach. For this reason, his father was involved in the board of the kindergarten association and took care of the extension building from 1977 to 1982. He has been a member of the local SPD association since 1972. From 1978 to 1996, he was a member of both the city council and the district council. In munnerstadt, he also had ambitions to become mayor. "But I didn’t stand a chance against ferdinand betzer" , he remembers. In 1995 he joined the masonic lodge georg liberalitas in meiningen "i still adhere to their ideals today". Already during his active time as a grammar school teacher, guhling took over the management of the town archive from josef willmann in august 1987 and developed it into a very remarkable institution for a town of this coarse order. His special merit is that he did not limit himself to archiving the files from the town hall. He was able to build up a collection of tens of thousands of photos from the archives of gerhard fuhrmann, anton muller, christian winterstein and josef parsch, among others, and also systematically collected the material from the two local newspapers: "because in the newspapers you can find such detailed reporting on the day-to-day events as is documented nowhere else." For his services he received the golden city medal.

Corona makes stroke through birthday planning

So that he doesn’t have far to go to his archives, he has now given up his house in reichenbach and lives with his youngest son in jorgentorgasse. With the death of his wife in 2013, klaus dieter guhling was hit by a hard stroke of fate. In the meantime, however, he has found a new life partner, whom he has known since his youth. The fact that she lives in the USA was not a big problem before the corona pandemic. So he flew over the "big pond" from time to time, or she visited him in munnerstadt. She was here in march, and they were supposed to fly to druben together – but one day before the scheduled departure, the u.S. Imposed an entry ban on foreigners. She flew, he had to stay here. Together they wanted to reach the 80th. Birthday back in munnerstadt to celebrate here with friends. Nothing came of it either. At least "skype makes it possible that they can still hear and even see each other every day.

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