M: A scattering of plastered half-timbered houses clustered around half a dozen alleyways, a little stream (called Belzbach), a church, several inns – that’s what Dotzheim looked like in around 1900. A village that had evolved over centuries, first mentioned in a charter of 1128.
The distinctive “T” in the town coat of arms harks back to earlier times: in the early 7th century, there’s said to have been a local manor that belonged to a certain “Tuzzo”. Hence, “Tuzzos Heim” – Tuzzo’s Home – turned into “Duzzeheim” and finally “Dotzheim”. The “T”, as a reminder of the former landowner’s name, was already present in a local court seal that dates back to 1636.
F: Now, please take a look at the map at the back of the room on the left. It shows the area covered by Dotzheim today. The self-contained purple area in the middle corresponds to the historic village center.
After World War Two, the place expanded rapidly. Within just a few decades, Dotzheim’s population grew from six thousand to almost thirty thousand people – its current level. Residential complexes shot up, surrounding the old village center: Kohlheck to the north, Schelmengraben and Märchenland in the south-west, Freudenberg and Sauerland in the south-east.
M: But even before the world wars, there was a first boost to the population. From the mid-19th century onwards, increasing numbers of craftsmen moved to Dotzheim, later followed by workers and day laborers. They organized, voted for the Social Democrats or the Communist Party, and transformed the sedate farming village into a small blue-collar town active in the class struggle – and known as “red Dotzheim”. Next to the map, on the left, you’ll find a selection of voting slips, newspaper clippings, brief biographies and historic photographs showing the development of local politics during the time of the German Empire and the Weimar Republic.
In the next room, we’ll be giving you an idea of the wide range of professions and trades pursued in Dotzheim in the past.