Schweinfurt is a city in the Lower Franconia
Lower Franconia
Lower Franconia is one of the three administrative regions of Franconia in Bavaria , Germany ....

 region of Bavaria
Bavaria, formally the Free State of Bavaria is a state of Germany, located in the southeast of Germany. With an area of , it is the largest state by area, forming almost 20% of the total land area of Germany...

 in Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

 on the right bank of the canalized Main, which is here spanned by several bridges, 27 km northeast of Würzburg
Würzburg is a city in the region of Franconia which lies in the northern tip of Bavaria, Germany. Located at the Main River, it is the capital of the Regierungsbezirk Lower Franconia. The regional dialect is Franconian....



The city is first documented in the year 790, though as early as 740 a settlement called Villa Suinfurde is mentioned. In the 10th century Schweinfurt was the seat of a margraviate
A margrave or margravine was a medieval hereditary nobleman with military responsibilities in a border province of a kingdom. Border provinces usually had more exposure to military incursions from the outside, compared to interior provinces, and thus a margrave usually had larger and more active...

After the defeat of count Henry of Schweinfurt
Henry of Schweinfurt
Henry of Schweinfurt was the Margrave of the Nordgau from 994 until 1004. He was called the "glory of eastern Franconia" by his own cousin, the chronicler Thietmar of Merseburg....

 in the year 1002/1003, in the feud against King Henry II of Germany, his family lost its leading position in the town.
In the first half of 13th century Schweinfurt expanded to become a proper city with city wall, towers and city gates. At that time the Nikolaus hospital was founded, a mint was established and construction work on the Saint Johannis church began.

Around 1250 Schweinfurt was totally destroyed during a feud between the Earl of Henneberg and the Prince-Bishop
A Prince-Bishop is a bishop who is a territorial Prince of the Church on account of one or more secular principalities, usually pre-existent titles of nobility held concurrently with their inherent clerical office...

 of Würzburg
Würzburg is a city in the region of Franconia which lies in the northern tip of Bavaria, Germany. Located at the Main River, it is the capital of the Regierungsbezirk Lower Franconia. The regional dialect is Franconian....

. In the following years it was reconstructed. A document from 1282 signed by King Rudolf I of Habsburg states that Schweinfurt was a free city
Free Imperial City
In the Holy Roman Empire, a free imperial city was a city formally ruled by the emperor only — as opposed to the majority of cities in the Empire, which were governed by one of the many princes of the Empire, such as dukes or prince-bishops...

 within the Holy Roman Empire
Holy Roman Empire
The Holy Roman Empire was a realm that existed from 962 to 1806 in Central Europe.It was ruled by the Holy Roman Emperor. Its character changed during the Middle Ages and the Early Modern period, when the power of the emperor gradually weakened in favour of the princes...

. At least since then the known coat of arms of Schweinfurt is an imperial white eagle
White Eagle
White Eagle may refer to:A coat of arms:*White Eagle of the Serbian royal houses Nemanjić, Mrnjavčević, Lazarević, Crnojević, Obrenović and Karađorđević used on the Coat of arms of Serbia and the Flag of Serbia ....


In 1309 the city was given to the Count of Henneberg, but in the 1360s the city regained its independence and joined the Swabian–Franconian Confederation
Swabian League
The Swabian League was an association of Imperial States - cities, prelates, principalities and knights - principally in the territory of the Early medieval stem duchy of Swabia, established in 1488 at the behest of Emperor Frederick III of Habsburg and supported as well by Bertold von...

. In 1397 King Wenzel entitled the town to utilize the river Main, and in 1436–1437 Schweinfurt acquired the village of Oberndorf, as well as the Teutonic Order Fort on the Peterstirn and a small piece of land — including the villages of Zell and Weipoltshausen. Some years later there was the first uprising of Schweinfurt's citizens against the town council, followed by a second one in 1513–1514. This time the issuing of a constitution was allowed.

The city joined the Martin Luther
Martin Luther
Martin Luther was a German priest, professor of theology and iconic figure of the Protestant Reformation. He strongly disputed the claim that freedom from God's punishment for sin could be purchased with money. He confronted indulgence salesman Johann Tetzel with his Ninety-Five Theses in 1517...

's Reformation
Protestant Reformation
The Protestant Reformation was a 16th-century split within Western Christianity initiated by Martin Luther, John Calvin and other early Protestants. The efforts of the self-described "reformers", who objected to the doctrines, rituals and ecclesiastical structure of the Roman Catholic Church, led...

 in 1542. Schweinfurt was again destroyed in the course of the Margravian War, in 1554. The years up to 1615 were spent by the citizens for its reconstruction.

Schweinfurt joined the Protestant Union in 1609. In the Thirty Years' War
Thirty Years' War
The Thirty Years' War was fought primarily in what is now Germany, and at various points involved most countries in Europe. It was one of the most destructive conflicts in European history....

 it was occupied by Gustavus Adolphus, who erected fortifications, the remains of which are still extant. In 1652 the four doctors Johann Laurentius Bausch, Johann Michael Fehr, Georg Balthasar Wolfahrt and Balthasar Metzger founded the Academia Curiosorum in Schweinfurt, which is known today as the German Academy of Life Scientists, "Leopoldina".

At some point the inhabitants reverted to Catholicism, only to again receive a large section of Lutheran refugees/expellees after 1945 from Germany east of the Oder-Neisse line
Oder-Neisse line
The Oder–Neisse line is the border between Germany and Poland which was drawn in the aftermath of World War II. The line is formed primarily by the Oder and Lusatian Neisse rivers, and meets the Baltic Sea west of the seaport cities of Szczecin and Świnoujście...

. The latest addition to the Lutheran churches in Schweinfurt arrived during the last years of the Soviet Union.

In 1777 Johann Martin Schmidt commenced with the production of white lead (ceruse). Schweinfurt suffered from heavy casualties during the Napoleonic Wars
Napoleonic Wars
The Napoleonic Wars were a series of wars declared against Napoleon's French Empire by opposing coalitions that ran from 1803 to 1815. As a continuation of the wars sparked by the French Revolution of 1789, they revolutionised European armies and played out on an unprecedented scale, mainly due to...

 of 1796–1801.

Schweinfurt remained a free imperial city until 1802, when it passed to the Electorate of Bavaria
Electorate of Bavaria
The Electorate of Bavaria was an independent hereditary electorate of the Holy Roman Empire from 1623 to 1806, when it was succeeded by the Kingdom of Bavaria....

. Assigned to the grand duke of Würzburg
Grand Duchy of Würzburg
The Grand Duchy of Würzburg was a German grand duchy centered on Würzburg existing in the early 19th century.As a consequence of the 1801 Treaty of Lunéville, the Bishopric of Würzburg was secularized in 1803 and granted to Bavaria. In the same year Ferdinand III, former Grand Duke of Tuscany, was...

 in 1810, it was granted to the Kingdom of Bavaria
Kingdom of Bavaria
The Kingdom of Bavaria was a German state that existed from 1806 to 1918. The Bavarian Elector Maximilian IV Joseph of the House of Wittelsbach became the first King of Bavaria in 1806 as Maximilian I Joseph. The monarchy would remain held by the Wittelsbachs until the kingdom's dissolution in 1918...

 four years later. The first railway junction was opened in 1852. In the following years Schweinfurt became a world leader centre for the production of ball bearing
Ball bearing
A ball bearing is a type of rolling-element bearing that uses balls to maintain the separation between the bearing races.The purpose of a ball bearing is to reduce rotational friction and support radial and axial loads. It achieves this by using at least two races to contain the balls and transmit...

s. This was to lead to grievous consequences for the city during World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...


World War II

In 1939, Schweinfurt produced most of the Nazi Germany
Nazi Germany
Nazi Germany , also known as the Third Reich , but officially called German Reich from 1933 to 1943 and Greater German Reich from 26 June 1943 onward, is the name commonly used to refer to the state of Germany from 1933 to 1945, when it was a totalitarian dictatorship ruled by...

 ball-bearings, and factories such as the Schweinfurter Kugellagerwerke became a target of Allied
Allies of World War II
The Allies of World War II were the countries that opposed the Axis powers during the Second World War . Former Axis states contributing to the Allied victory are not considered Allied states...

 strategic bombing during World War II
Strategic bombing during World War II
Strategic bombing during World War II is a term which refers to all aerial bombardment of a strategic nature between 1939 and 1945 involving any nations engaged in World War II...

 to cripple tank
A tank is a tracked, armoured fighting vehicle designed for front-line combat which combines operational mobility, tactical offensive, and defensive capabilities...

and aircraft production. Schweinfurt was bombed 22 times during Operation Pointblank by a total of 2285 aircraft.

The Schweinfurt-Regensburg mission
Schweinfurt-Regensburg mission
The Schweinfurt–Regensburg mission was an air combat battle in World War II. A strategic bombing attack flown by B-17 Flying Fortresses of the U.S. Army Air Forces on August 17, 1943, it was conceived as an ambitious plan to cripple the German aircraft industry...

 caused an immediate 34% loss of production and all plants but the largest were devastated by fire. Efforts to disperse the surviving machinery began immediately and the Luftwaffe deployed large numbers of interceptors along the corridor to Schweinfurt. Bombing also included the Second Raid on Schweinfurt
Second Raid on Schweinfurt
The second Schweinfurt raid bombed World War II ball bearing factories to reduce production of these vital parts for all manner of war machines. Named Black Thursday because the loss of aircrewmen was the highest for any USAAF mission...

 on 14 October 1943, ("Black Thursday") and Big Week
Big Week
Between February 20–25, 1944, as part of the European strategic bombing campaign, the United States Strategic Air Forces launched Operation Argument, a series of missions against the Third Reich that became known as Big Week. The planners intended to lure the Luftwaffe into a decisive battle by...

 in February, 1944.

Although losses of production bearings and machinery were high and much of the industrial and residential areas of the city were destroyed, killing more than a thousand civilians, the factories were restored to production and the industry dispersed. Although German planners initially thought it essential to purchase the entire output of the Swedish ball-bearing industry, losses in production bearings were actually made up from surpluses found within Germany in the aftermath of the first raid. The de-centralized industry was able to rebuild output to 85% of its pre-bombing output. Hitler
Adolf Hitler
Adolf Hitler was an Austrian-born German politician and the leader of the National Socialist German Workers Party , commonly referred to as the Nazi Party). He was Chancellor of Germany from 1933 to 1945, and head of state from 1934 to 1945...

 made restoration of ball-bearing production a high priority and massive efforts were undertaken to repair and rebuild the factories, partially in bomb-proof underground facilities.

The 42nd Infantry Division (United States) entered Schweinfurt on 11 April 1945 and conducted house-to-house
Urban warfare
Urban warfare is combat conducted in urban areas such as towns and cities. Urban combat is very different from combat in the open at both the operational and tactical level...

 fighting. On 12 April an internment camp at Goethe-Schule held male civilians aged 16–60.

Recent years

After the war Schweinfurt became a stronghold of U.S. military and their dependents. Schweinfurt still hosts the USAG Schweinfurt. Thus Schweinfurt recovered relatively quickly from its third period of destruction. Later, the new suburbs of Bergl, Hochfeld and Steinberg were developed to settle a growing population. In 1954 the city laid the first stone for the new town hall and commemorated the 700th and 500th anniversaries of the two earlier respective destructions, as well as the ongoing reconstruction following World War II. In 1998 German and American veterans and survivors of the bombing raids came together to erect a war memorial
War memorial
A war memorial is a building, monument, statue or other edifice to celebrate a war or victory, or to commemorate those who died or were injured in war.-Historic usage:...

 to the fallen.

Currently twinned with Motherwell
Motherwell is a town and former burgh in North Lanarkshire, Scotland, south east of Glasgow. The name "Moderwelt" appears on a map of Lanarkshire made by Timothy Pont some time between 1583 and 1611 and printed in the Netherlands in around 1652, although the settlement was probably little more...

, Scotland
Scotland is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. Occupying the northern third of the island of Great Britain, it shares a border with England to the south and is bounded by the North Sea to the east, the Atlantic Ocean to the north and west, and the North Channel and Irish Sea to the...

., Châteaudun, France, and Seinäjoki, Finland.

Main sights

Schweinfurt's main landmarks include:
  • The Gothic
    Gothic architecture
    Gothic architecture is a style of architecture that flourished during the high and late medieval period. It evolved from Romanesque architecture and was succeeded by Renaissance architecture....

     Town Hall (1570–1572)
  • The church of St. Johannes (1554–1562)
  • The Old Gymnasium, seat of the local museum

The Museum Georg Schäfer
Museum Georg Schäfer
The Museum Georg Schäfer is a German art museum in Schweinfurt, Bavaria, Germany. Based on the private art collection of German industrialist Georg Schäfer, the museum primarily collects 19th-century paintings by artists from German-speaking countries....

 specializes in 19th-century paintings by artists from German-speaking countries.

The Schweinfurter Rathaus (town hall) square has a large Friedrich Rückert
Friedrich Rückert
Friedrich Rückert was a German poet, translator, and professor of Oriental languages.-Biography:Rückert was born at Schweinfurt and was the eldest son of a lawyer. He was educated at the local Gymnasium and at the universities of Würzburg and Heidelberg. From 1816-1817, he worked on the editorial...

 monument in the center around which weekly markets and many city festivals are held. A large number of immigrants from many other countries add to the crowded innercity traffic-free Markthalle shopping area.

Motherwell is a town and former burgh in North Lanarkshire, Scotland, south east of Glasgow. The name "Moderwelt" appears on a map of Lanarkshire made by Timothy Pont some time between 1583 and 1611 and printed in the Netherlands in around 1652, although the settlement was probably little more...

 Park connects the surrounding medieval buildings to the innercity market square. To avoid car-filled streets, walking through the park with part of the original city walls offers pathways and shortcuts bringing one on foot from one end of town to another, reminiscent of medieval town life.


Schweinfurt is known for its metal industry, especially ball-bearing plants and bicycle
A bicycle, also known as a bike, pushbike or cycle, is a human-powered, pedal-driven, single-track vehicle, having two wheels attached to a frame, one behind the other. A person who rides a bicycle is called a cyclist, or bicyclist....

 manufacturing; see also FAG Kugelfischer, ZF Sachs AG and SKF
SKF, Svenska Kullagerfabriken AB , later AB SKF, is a Swedish bearing company founded in 1907, supplying bearings, seals, lubrication and lubrication systems, maintenance products, mechatronics products, power transmission products and related services globally.-History:The company was founded on...

. The pigment Schweinfurt Green
Paris Green
Paris Green is an inorganic compound more precisely known as copper acetoarsenite. It is a highly toxic emerald-green crystalline powder that has been used as a rodenticide and insecticide, and also as a pigment, despite its toxicity. It is also used as a blue colorant for fireworks...

, which is extremely toxic, was manufactured here. Due to its heavy concentration in primarily one industry, Schweinfurt has suffered high unemployment rates (over 6%) relative to the Bavarian average, especially since the German reunification
German reunification
German reunification was the process in 1990 in which the German Democratic Republic joined the Federal Republic of Germany , and when Berlin reunited into a single city, as provided by its then Grundgesetz constitution Article 23. The start of this process is commonly referred by Germans as die...

. Politically, with its heavy concentration of workers and labor unions, Schweinfurt is traditionally the most left-leaning county in the otherwise heavily right-leaning Bavaria. The GDP per capita of Schweinfurt is the third highest in Germany with 65,852 EUR per inhabitant and in 2007 a study ("Prognos Zukunftsatlas 2007") opted Schweinfurt for the most dynamic town in Germany. On the other hand the crime rate of Schweinfurt is about 60% higher than the average German crime rate (making it the highest crime rate in Bavaria).

Communal facilities

  • Alexander-von-Humboldt-Gymnasium
    Alexander-von-Humboldt-Gymnasium, Schweinfurt
    The ' is a Gymnasium in Schweinfurt, Bavaria, Germany.The eponym is Alexander von Humboldt . The school has approximately 100 teachers and 1,800 students.- External links :*...

  • Swimming pool
  • Swimming hall
  • Library
  • School of music
  • Fachhochschule
    A Fachhochschule or University of Applied Sciences is a German type of tertiary education institution, sometimes specialized in certain topical areas . Fachhochschulen were founded in Germany and later adopted by Austria, Liechtenstein, Switzerland and Greece...

    Würzburg is a city in the region of Franconia which lies in the northern tip of Bavaria, Germany. Located at the Main River, it is the capital of the Regierungsbezirk Lower Franconia. The regional dialect is Franconian....


Historical population

Year Population
1939 49,302
1950 46,128
1961 56,923
1970 58,446
1987 51,962
2002 54,670
2004 54,467
2006 53,970
2010 53,433

External links

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