Research provided by: Martin Koepple, Panoramastr. 31, D-73207 Plochingen, Germany
& Franz birth announcement -
Located north of the city of Rastatt, Oetigheim covers an area of 10.97 square kilometers. A charming and favorite residential community with approximately 4,000 inhabitants.
This small village was first in a official document in reference to a donation to the monastery of Weissberg as "Ottingham", in the year 788. The monastery of Herrenaub and the noble houses of Eberstein and Baden all owned property in Oetigheim. The local nobility which took its name from the village died out shortly after 1374.
Oetigheim is best known throughout Europe for its summer time theater. It has one of the largest and best open air stages in all of Germany. The villagers annually present "A Village on Stage", a slogan which established that there are no professionals, only amateurs on the stage, even though they rely on professional support as required.
The founder of the Oetigheim plays was Josef Saier, who arrived in the community as a senior priest, in October 1905. His aim was to use the theater as an extension of his pulpit, to counter the perceived general shallowness in his parishioners by directing their thoughts to higher plains, while at the same time creating funds for charitable purposes.
The spectators area, in the shape of a semi-circle, is modified after an antique amphitheater. Initially it was without a roof with seats set in the lawn. Today, the audience area is fully protected with a seating capacity of 4,000 seats.
Annually, the "Town Threatre attracts over 80,000 visitors, carrying Oetigheim reputation beyond the borders of Germany.
Durm, Ganz, Günthner, Hammer, Heck, Heid, Kaiser, Kalkbrenner, Karius, Kölmel, Kohm, Kraus, Krebs, Kühn, Kühnle, Küstner, Löchler, Lusch, Maisch, Mattern, Mauterer, Mayer, Nold, Rieger, Sartori, Schlotter, Speck, Stöß, Tritsch, Weinbrecht, Weingärtner, Welz, Weßbecher, Wild, Wingert, Wittmann, Ziegler
It is with relative certainty that we may assume there were Roman settlements in the area of this village during their conquest of this region. The ending "heim" to a town name indicates that the town dates to the Franconian epoch: thus Oetigheim was the "home of Ottinc", dating permanent inhabitation to about the year 500. The first documented mention of the town is in 788, during the reign of "Karl the Great", while the Saxon wars were being waged.
Oetigheim suffered the same catastrophes as the other villages in this area during the middle ages and was subjected to countless accounts of looting and pillaging by wandering bands of mercenaries. The town was rebuilt after those incidents and was able to prosper despite the upheaval that surrounded it.
It is interesting to note that the town has been referred to, in various documents, by 22 different names since the 17 century. It is not surprising then that even today, the village is referred to by three different names by the local inhabitants; Oetigheim, Oetinge and Eetje.
The village has, since the turn of the century, moved away from its agricultural past and has developed into a modern housing community serving the needs of a technological society. The village boasts a number of attractions not the least of which is its "Volksschauspiel", open air theater. First performing in 1910, the theater attracted more than 100,000 people that year to its production of the play "Wilhelm Tell".