University of Königsberg

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Group.png University of Königsberg  
Totally destroyed and closed in 1945.

The University of Königsberg was the university of Königsberg in East Prussia. It was founded in 1544 as the world's second Protestant academy (after the University of Marburg) by Duke Albert of Prussia, and was commonly known as the Albertina.

Following World War II, the city of Königsberg was transferred to the Soviet Union according to the 1945 Potsdam Agreement, and renamed Kaliningrad in 1946. The Albertina was closed and the remaining native population either executed or expelled. Today, the Immanuel Kant Baltic Federal University in Kaliningrad claims to maintain the traditions of the Albertina.


Albert, former Grand Master of the Teutonic Knights and first Duke of Prussia since 1525, had purchased a piece of land behind Königsberg Cathedral on the Kneiphof island of the Pregel River from the Samland chapter, where he had an academic gymnasium (school) erected in 1542. He issued the deed of foundation of the Collegium Albertinum on 20 July 1544, after which the university was inaugurated on 17 August.

The 18th century went down in cultural history as the "Königsberg Century" of Enlightenment, a heyday initiated by the Albertina student Johann Christoph Gottsched and continued by the philosopher Johann Georg Hamann and writer Theodor Gottlieb von Hippel the Elder. Notable alumni were Johann Gottfried Herder, Zacharias Werner, Johann Friedrich Reichardt, E. T. A. Hoffmann, and foremost the philosopher Immanuel Kant, rector in 1786 and 1788. These scholars laid the foundations for the later Weimar Classicism and German Romanticism movements.

During the university's last years, the Albertina faculty and the German Student Union after the territorial separation of the Province of East Prussia by the Treaty of Versailles stressed its affiliation with the Reich, pushing intellectual life towards German nationalism. On 10 July 1944, the university celebrated its 400th anniversary in presence of Reich Minister Walther Funk. A few weeks later, during the nights of 26/27 and 29/30 August, Königsberg was extensively bombed by the Royal Air Force. From January to April 1945 the city was further devastated by the East Prussian Offensive of the Red Army and the final Battle of Königsberg. When General Otto Lasch signed the capitulation on April 9, the historic inner city was destroyed by the attacks, and 80% of the university campus lay in ruins. The faculty had fled, many of them were received at the University of Göttingen.

The remaining premises including the Albertina main building were used by the Kaliningrad State Pedagogical Institute from 1948, which in 1967 received the status of a Kaliningrad State University.


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Gerhard Schröder (CDU)11 September 191031 December 1989GermanPoliticianWest Germany Foreign Minister in the 1960s