The long-serving academic head of the Princely and Comital Fugger Family and Foundation Archive passed away suddenly on 04 August 2022. Prof. Dr. Johannes Burkhardt assumed the voluntary position in 1991, a few months after his appointment to the Augsburg Professorship for History of the Early Modern Period, which he held until his retirement in 2008.
Johannes Burkhardt immediately imposed his own style: Whereas, under the predecessor, Prof. Dr. Hermann Kellenbenz, Fugger research had mainly concentrated on questions of economic history, he decisively expanded the perspectives by linking them to his own focal points, notably in the field of cultural history and the Holy Roman Empire, which was a particular area of interest for him. With him, the Fugger historiography became connected to historical scholarship in the subject at the level of contemporary interests and debates. A series of high-quality publications in the series of “Studies” and the “Materials on the Fugger story” published by him prove the great success with which Johannes Burkhardt was able to inspire his students to work on the Fugger history: A total of nine volumes of “Studies”, including two dissertations, were published under his aegis, along with six volumes of “Materials” and numerous relevant articles published elsewhere. He organised and led four internationally attended conferences, largely followed with great attention, on the history of the family, the trading company and the foundations, most recently a symposium on the history of poverty, which Fugger research first started to look at in more detail in the 19th century.
What Johannes Burkhardt said about the importance of the Fugger family for the culture of memory on the occasion of his retirement in the Leonhardskapelle church in the Fuggerei on 04 February 2014, in an as usual brilliantly worded presentation, described the speaker himself in his own way: He concisely and convincingly saw the impact of the Fugger family combined under the headlines of “Networking to success”, “Agents of federalism” and “European and regional”. A variety of interdisciplinary and international contacts also characterised the always conciliatory Johannes Burkhardt, who was an exceptionally entertaining historian both personally and professionally; he saw himself as an academic “agent” of the typically petit bourgeois structures of Germany with their characteristic cultural achievements and as a researcher and unique “storyteller”, which he was, of course he also wanted to educate locally and globally.
Johannes Burkhardt was a brilliant godsend for the Fugger foundations and their archive, and with him, one of Germany’s most famous historians of the Early Modern Period, they worked in intense cooperation from the “Fugger site” with the authors of regional history, notably the Swabian research community, in order to make Fugger research internationally visible and successful with new topics and approaches.
The Fugger foundations owe Johannes Burkhardt great and permanent thanks. The Princely and Comital Fugger Family Seniorat and the employees of the foundations, notably of the Archive, extend their sympathies to his family and friendsArchives.
Requiescat in pace!