The excellent teaching at my classical high school awakened in me (Reiner) a great interest in history, and the very good language instruction I received there in Latin, ancient Greek, English, Hebrew, French and Russian gave me a very good foundation for my study of history.
In 1977 I was commissioned to research the history of the small village of Gnadenthal. This place originated in the 13th century as a Cistercian Nunnery and then became a Lutheran and then Reformed Ladies’ Convent in the 16th century, which perished during the Thirty Years’ War. After the war it was administered by the state and leased from the year 1700 onwards. During the 3rd Reich, this estate was then converted into a hereditary village. My work included interviewing contemporary witnesses, reviewing existing literature, and sifting through the material remains from the history of the village, especially the stable-barn building that had once been the church. Above all, this included the review and evaluation of the documents and records of Gnadenthal from the 13th – 20th centuries archived now at the Hessisches Hauptstaatsarchiv (Hessian Central State Archives) at Wiesbaden. As a fruit of these efforts I organized and built a local historical exhibition about the history of this place. It became clear to me that all epochs had their own particular style, considered certain things self-evident and other things desirable. It became very clear to me that it is necessary to understand what the external conditions were and what really moved people at that time if you want to describe what happened in a certain situation at a certain time and place.
For several years I was then a member of the Historical Working Group Goldener Grund, in which people met regularly, who were engaged with great commitment in researching the history of our region, either full-time or as a hobby.
After my 1st state exams for a High School Teacher in physics and mathematics I was able to study history at Mainz with a lot of joy and great interest and to take an exam (Erweiterungsprüfung) for teaching history at secondary schools.
History has become an important part of my life and thinking.
Some aspects of history that have become important to me:
- The Bible seen by a historian
- Authority and Rule in the Christian West
- On the right way to deal with German history
- War and peace
- About the effects of truth and lies