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Revolution and death in Karlsruhe

After the parliament in Frankfurt has been dissolved, revolts arise everywhere in Germany, also in Baden already in 1848. At that time Drais intended to put his demand of the imperative mandate into a newspaper - if he actually did it, has not yet been found out.

An armed revolution arises again in Baden on spring 1849. The Grand Duke flees to Koblenz. Even before courageous Drais puts down his nobility titles in a newspaper ad - no longer baron von Drais, but citizen Karl Drais he wants to be called. Baden gets a moderate revolutionary government. After the Prussian forces that were called for help by the ruler had defeated the corps of irregulars, two young noblemen test the loyality of Drais to the ruler: he is called upon to drink a glass of brandy to the Grand Duke. Drais refuses to do so and is maltreated by the two badly. The place of this abominable deed was the inn "Goldenes Kreuz" in Karlsruhe torn down after World War II. The modern inn "Goldenes Kreuz" is in a different street and is not the original one.

The Prussians being occupying power in Karlsruhe do summary shootings of many revolutionaries, others are put into madhouses. For Karl Drais they plan the incapacitation, and a Badenian medical officer gets involved in writing the required medical report. Drais' sisters and cousin in Freiburg raise an objection successfully. In addition the occupants confiscate Drais' pension to pay the costs of defeating the revolution.

On December 10, 1851 Karl Drais dies at the age of 66 in Zaehringerstrasse 43 at Karlsruhe. Only his most courageous friends dare to accompany the coffin of the democrat to the cemetery. When the old cemetery of Karlsruhe was transformed into a public garden, the German bicycle clubs collected money for the transfer to the new cemetery, a grave stone and a monument in the city in 1890. Even during the transfer Badenian monarchists spread tall stories ridiculing Drais and his two-wheeler invention - the effective method to disparage those democrats that stayed in the country.


© Sören Fink with scientific support of Prof. Dr. H. E. Lessing