PFG project "Critical Online Edition of the Diaries of Michael Kardinal von Faulhaber (1911-1952)"

© Festschrift Kardinal Faulhaber zum achtzigsten Geburtstag, Freising 1949

Michael Kardinal von Faulhaber (1869-1952) was archbishop of Munich, an eminent theologian and an articulate opinion leader of political Catholicism as well as a champion of church interests. He was a close friend to Pius XII., but also negotiated with a wide range of politicians, which included Hitler, Roosevelt and Adenauer. This project aims to edit and comment his comprehensive diaries and to publish them online, easily accessible to all those interested.

The German Research Foundation (DFG) agreed to finance this long-term project in July 2013 , which is meant to span over twelve years. The historians Prof. Dr. Andreas Wirsching (Institut für Zeitgeschichte München-Berlin) and Prof. Dr. Hubert Wolf have joined to direct it, also cooperating with the Archiepiscopal Archives of Munich (Erzbischöfliches Archiv München), which keeps these diaries. 

Faulhaber's influence reached far beyond the borders of Germany and the Catholic Church. He travelled much and maintained important international contacts to leading personalities in the fields of the church, politics and culture. The many interlocutors he daily received came from all walks of life. Even though he was revered by many members of the church already during his lifetime, he also remains highly contentious both in research and in the general public today, mostly because of his contradictory behaviour during the "Third Reich".

Faulhaber was not only an important political actor, but also an attentive observer and analyst during a period full of upheaval. His notes were not originally destined for publication and therefore allow for an authentic look behind the scenes. They reveal emotions and motives which could hitherto hardly be depicted by means of the so far available sources. In this context Faulhaber, socialised in the Catholic milieu of the German Empire and a convinced monarchist, is often representative for broad currents in Catholicism.


Faulhaber mostly wrote in "Gabelsberger" shorthand. Since this can only be deciphered by a handful of experts, extensive archival holdings are in danger of becoming illegible. By encompassing Gabelsberger courses, the project will provide an important contribution to the preservation of this cultural technique. Thanks to the generous support of the Fritz Thyssen Foundation, selected parts of the Faulhaber holdings were transliterated, in order to be able to prepare the application to the DFG.

It is a stroke of luck that Faulhaber's diaries have been completely preserved for the years 1911 to 1952 and are available to research since April 2012. This corpus of sources is unique both quantitatively and qualitatively. The diary entries are generally short, but Faulhaber produced supplementary sheets for important topics and conversations, which stand out due to their attention to detail and a high level of reflection. Both the diaries and their supplements are to be catalogued comprehensively, edited in historical-critical fashion, commented on and published in an online database.

The edition will be indicative for key questions of German and European history; the universal structure of the Catholic Church opens up the possibility of international comparisons. The project will enable new contributions on the relationship between religion and politics as well as the handling of totalitarian ideologies by the Catholic Church. The same is true for innovative research on theological and cultural history, for instance on personal networks, forms of piety, Catholic interpretations of war and gender roles or the relations with other religious communities.

For further information and to access the online database please go to the project's homepage