Commune: Gemeinde Graben-Neudorf



History of Graben-Neudorf

The foundation of the community Graben is obscure. The presently still visible Roman Road 'Kehl-Mühlburg-Heidelberg-Neuenheim' which is passing the district of Graben from south to north and the discovery of Roman coins imply that there used to be a fortified Roman place. Between the 5th and the 7th century the fortified village of Graben was founded. In 1306 Graben was mentioned in a document for the very first time.

In the 14th and 15th century Graben used to be the official residence, market town ('Graben the Market') and site of a deanery. The Thirty Years' War brought a lot of despair and distress to Graben. In 1622 the population of Graben was 145 and in 1648 it was only 42. In the 'Orlean War' which was declared in 1688 French soldiers destroyed the castle and the village of Graben; only the church, the town hall and some buildings remained. The people of the village lived from then on in the forest and in the neighboring localities. Peace, order and recovery reverted not before the midst of the 18th century.

The community of Neudorf was founded by merging of two clearing settlements. This new village was mentioned for the first time in 1497 called 'Nuwdorff'. Neudorf was not only the youngest village in this area but also the smallest and the poorest one. The late announcement indicates that fact as well as the small district, the little common land and the missing common forest. Politically seen Neudorf belonged to the worldly dominion of the Bishopric of Speyer while Graben has no longer belonged to it since 1312 but churchly Neudorf was conformed with Graben.

The conformity of the two churchly associated Villages to two different worldly dominions was not of minor importance for the further development In 1556 the margrave Karl 2nd of Baden-Durlach set in the Reformation in his dominion. Therefore, the inhabitants of Graben were forced to voluntarily convert to the Protestantism whereas the inhabitants of Neudorf belonging to the worldly dominion of the bishopric of Speyer had to adhere to the Roman Catholic Church.

In the 17th century it is said that the village of Neudorf was laid in ashes a couple of times and was furthermore afflicted by typhus epidemic and the pestilence again and again and hence only eight families were left in Neudorf in 1683. Being part of the boom at the right side of the Bishopric of Speyer in the first half of the 18th century Neudorf's population grew rapidly as the figures show: In 1719/20 - 48 families and in 1742/43 - 70 families lived in Neudorf.

Together with the part of the right side of the Bishopric of Speyer Neudorf was passed to the margrave Karl Friedrich of Baden on 1st Dec., 1802. A special indicator of the beginning "Time of Baden" is the relatively considerable increase of population. In 1813 the population was 537 and in 1852 it was already 1,236. As the inhabitants lived of agriculture and animal husbandry and their principal occupation was the peat-ditch they stayed as poor as poor can be. That is why in the 1950th and 1960th many families tried their luck in foreign countries. A continually upward-trend only started in the last quart of the 19th century.

Nowadays 11,000 people live in Graben-Neudorf.