District Archives (Kreisarchive) in Baden-Württemberg
The task of the Kreisarchive in Baden-Württemberg is twofold: On the one hand they maintain the many-sided (state and local) tradition of the Landratsämter, Bezirkämter, Oberämter and their pedecessors. More and more the history of these institutions have been the centre of historical research in the last few years. On the other hand the Kreisarchive advise the Stadt- and Gemeindearchive (municipal and communities) which have no trained archivists and see to it that these archives will be maintained. For these reasons they hold a special position on a so-called "third level" between the State Archives and the municipal ones. This position is based on a century-old municipal self-governing body, for example, the "Amtsversammlung" in Württemberg or the "Kreisverband" in Baden.
The first Kreisarchive were already established in the 1950s. At first they showed responsibility for the local archives (kommunale Archivpflege) and for the work in the field of regional historical education. After the introduction of the State Archives Act (Landesarchivgesetz) in 1987, which gave a new legal position to all public archives, more Kreisarchive were set up. Thus the "Gesetz über die Pflege und Nutzung von Archivgut (Landesarchivgesetz)" July 27 1987 introduced the legal justification for holding records of the "unteren staatlichen Verwaltungsbehörden" in their own Landkreis archives under the condition that the necessary archival and technical obligations were met. Before the year 1987 these records had to be transferred to the relevant Staatsarchive. In 2002 for the first time all the 35 Landkreise, which were founded in 1973 January 1, had their own Kreisarchive.
The new law of 1987 led to a new situation of archival processing of State records. In the future the State records will be transferred to the Kreisarchive. The same situation applies to special State agencies (veterinary, health, water). The result is that records of State and district agencies are held in the Kreisarchive. In addition the Kreisarchive possess many collections of photos, postcards, maps, plans etc. The users can fall back upon records of earlier times not only in the State archives but also upon records in the Kreisarchive. However, the Staatsarchive as well as the Kreisarchive are interested in a sensible separation, but at the same time in an exchange of holdings, which takes into consideration the individual situation of archival processing. In this case the users can profit from the new situation without difficulties. The exchange of finding aids and the continuing microfilming will also improve the access to the records.
A good summary of the responsibility, the record groups, the collections, the access regulations and the work in general of the Kreisarchive gives the manual "Die Kreisarchive in Baden-Württemberg. Aufgaben und Bestände" (Verlag Regionalkultur, Ubstadt-Weiher 1998; ISBN 3-929366-3). It is also a survey of the above mentioned situation of the Kreisarchive with a historical development of the Oberämter, Bezirksämter and Landratsämter in Baden-Württemberg.
Information will be given by the
Arbeitsgemeinschaft der Kreisarchive beim Landkreistag Baden-Württemberg
c/o Kreisarchiv Konstanz
Tel. +49 7531-919740
Fax +49 7531-919742