"Wenn euch die Leute fragen: / "Wo ist Absalom ?" - the 180th anniversary of the Frankfurter Wachensturm

"Wenn euch die Leute fragen: / "Wo ist Absalom ?" / So dürft ihr wohl sagen: / "Oh, er hänget schon ! / Er hängt an keinem Baume / er hängt an keinem Strick, /sondern an dem Traume/ der freien Republik"* (Die Freie Republik, zeitgenössisches Lied)

3 April 1833: Today, 180 years ago, 50 people, mostly teachers and students, charged the two major police stations of Frankfurt to get access to the armouries and arm more followers to start a revolution.

15 years before the Revolution of 1848 and a year after the political gatherings of the Hambacher Fest and risings and revolutions in France, Belgium and Poland in 1830, the "Frankfurter Wachensturm" (Charge of the Frankfurt Police Stations or Guard Houses) is a beacon of revolt against the institutionalised systems of oppression that was imposed on continental Europe after the Congress of Vienna in 1815, when the merits of the French Revolution were filed away and most countries tried to return to political conditions of the era before 1789.

The 50 revolutionary academics from the university towns of Heidelberg and Tübingen taking part in the "Frankfurter Wachensturm" chose the trade fair city as target, because it was more or less the administrative capital of the German Confederation and had a symbolic value. Their planned action was revealed by the Confederations extensive network of snitches and narks and the uprising was quelled in the same night. With no support from the good people of Frankfurt, nine people were killed in a fire exchange, the captured revolutionaries sentenced to death, the verdict being converted into life imprisonment. Nine of them could flee with the help of a prison warder. Of the 2.000 people that were put on a black list by a specifically initiated police task force many fled to the US, the "Dreißiger" (Thirties), forerunners of the "Forty-Eighters" who fled after the failed Revolution of 1848

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* "When people ask you / where is Absalom (synonymous for a revolutionary) / you may tell them: / Oh, he is hanging! / He is hanging from no tree / he is hanging from no noose / he is hanging on to a dream / of a free republic"