Station:  Huguenots in Offenbach
M: You’ve already heard about two Huguenot families – the d'Orvilles and the Andrés. They’re typical of the Protestants who fled France and found a new home in Offenbach. In October 1685, King Louis the Fourteenth banned the practice of the Protestant faith in France, and in response, Reformed Christians left the country. In 1699, under Count Johann Philipp, the Huguenots founded a French Reformed congregation in Offenbach. Traces of its existence are still present in the city’s built environment.
Examples include the church and vicarage at Herrnstrasse number 66.
F: The first religious refugees to reach Offenbach were farmers, who were settled in the count's forest. Neu-Isenburg was founded. In 1703, skilled Huguenot artisans arrived: hosiers, wig-makers, tanners, silk-weavers, hatters and milliners. With the new trades, a flourishing textile industry was launched locally, while the André family established Offenbach’s reputation as a city of music.
M: On display here are liturgical vessels from the early years of the Reformed congregation, for example a flagon for the wine used in the service. We also have a collection of the privileges granted by Count Johann Philipp in 1705, which guaranteed the immigrants’ economic and religious freedoms. There’s even a hymn book in French from 1787. Like the privileges, it was printed here in Offenbach. Also on display is a model of the French Reformed church in Herrnstrasse before the rather grander current façade was added in 1874.
F: The last French language service to be held in Offenbach took place in 1822. But the French Reformed congregation still exists, and so the Huguenot tradition lives on to the present day.
Foto 1: © Haus der Stadtgeschichte
Foto 2: © Stadtarchiv
Foto 3: © Stadt Offenbach