Key Documents

    This source edition does not represent a complete set of archival holdings, but is composed of documents selected from different archives and institutions based on their content. Longer texts or expansive image files/audiovisual documents are excerpted to present key passages or parts of this source. Where the rights could be obtained, both the excerpted version (annotated according to our edition guidelines) and the entire source are included; if a digitized version of a source already exists, a link is included. The main criterion for source selection is the idea of “key documents.”


    The term key documents describes selected sources which are used as examples to provide insight into historical contexts and events. Key documents are supposed to “open doors” leading to a better and more vivid understanding of history. Whether these are well-known records – such as by-laws and other legal documents – or previously little studied sources, efforts were consistently made to ensure the representative character of the entire volume of documents. The selection of the interpreted and edited sources is a result of close cooperation between the editorial staff, the authors, and editors.


    The following criteria were central to the selection of sources which include texts, images, sound recordings, and audiovisual files.


    The source has to…

    connect to a broader historical context / pose questions represent an example from a larger volume of sources or tell a “typical” story because of its uniqueness be clearly identifiable based on extensive information on the source (time of creation, author, etc.)


    The basic idea is that each source and its commentary should be closely connected in order to allow references back to the source and inferences from it in a manner that is as transparent as possible. The reader is encouraged to not just follow the interpretation, but attempt their own interpretation. In order to ensure this, focusing on short documents seemed necessary.