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Soultz-Haut-Rhin (Municipality, Haut-Rhin, France)

Last modified: 2021-04-24 by ivan sache
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Flag of Soultz-Haut-Rhin - Image by Ivan Sache, 28 November 2011

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Presentation of Soultz-Haut-Rhin

The municipality of Soultz-Haut-Rhin (7,131 inhabitants in 2007; 2,956 ha; municipal website) is located 20 km north-west of Mulhouse. While the town is locally known as Soultz, its complete, official name, differentiates it from Soultz-les-Bains and Soultz-sous-Forêts, two municipalities located in the Department of Bas-Rhin.

Soultz was mentioned for the first time in 667, as Sulza ("a salted source"), when Duke of Alsace Adalric transferred the village to the abbey of Ebersmunster. Around 1015, Soultz was overtaken by the Bishop of Strasbourg; the fief of Sulzo was granted in 1118 to the Countess of Eguisheim, in 1254 to William of Soultz, and, subsequently, to the lords of Pfaffenheim. In the early 13th century, the Knights of the Order of Malta founded a chapel out of the town, which would become one of the ten most important commanderies of the order in Alsace. In 1250, Soultz was granted the title of town and the right to build a town wall.
Incorporated to the Kingdom of France in 1648, Soultz became actually French only in 1681. The town was mostly resettled by emigrants coming from Switzerland.
The inhabitants of Soultz are nicknamed Babbaschlackers, that is, Gruel's Lickers. A local tradition recalls that during the Thirty Years' War the women of Soultz repelled an assault by the Swedes by throwing down to them a hot mixture of gruel and flour.

Soultz is the cradle of the Anthès family. The ironmaster Jean-Henri Anthès, director of a Royal manufacture of weapons, was ennobled in 1730 by King Louis XV. Joseph Conrad Alexandre d'Anthès helped Louis XVI's family in the failed attempt to leave France. Back to Soultz in 1803, he was elected a Legitimist Representative in 1823-1830.
His son Georges-Charles emigrated after the abdication of Charles X; in Russia, he met the Dutch ambassador, the Baron van Heeckeren, who adopted him, therefore his name of Georges Charles de Heeckeren d'Anthès. He married Catherine Goncharova, the elder sister of Pushkin's wife and eventually killed the Russian poet in a duel. Back to Soultz, he took the party of Napoléon III and was elected Mayor of Soultz, contributing to the embellishment of the town.

Soultz is the birth town of the volcanologist Katia Krafft (1942-1991). With her husband Maurice, she visited most of the world's volcanos, writing several books and shooting several films still considered as references. Both died in 1991 in Japan during the eruption of Mt. Unzen, together with the volcanologist Harry Glicken and 38 other people.
Soultz is the birth place of the football player Bernard Genghini (b. 1958), one of the "magic fours" (together with Michel Platini, Alain Giresse and Jean Tigana, and succeeded by Luis Fernandez) of the French national "dream team" that won the Euro in 1984 and ranked 4th in the 1982 World Cup and 3rd in the 1986 World Cup. Genghini played with Sochaux, Saint-Étienne, Monaco (winner of the French Cup, 1985), Servette Genève, Marseilles and Bordeaux.

Ivan Sache, 28 November 2011

Flag of Soultz-Haut-Rhin

The flag of Soultz-Haut-Rhin (photo in L'Alsace, Guebwiller edition, 14 January 2005) is white with the municipal coat of arms, "Gules a cross argent cantonned with four birds passant sable", surmounted with "Soultz" written in black capital letters

The arms of Soultz were featured on municipal seals dated 1544. Beforehand, the seals (dated 1272 and 1300 to 1528) featured St. Maurice riding. St. Maurice is the patron saint of the town, which took the same patron saint as the abbey of Ebersmunster. St. Maurice is often represented with a red flag charged with a white cross hoisted to his spear. The black birds are ravens, symbolizing war, death and slaughter. Here the ravens recall that St. Maurice was slaughtered by the Romans, together with his whole legion.
The Armorial Général shows the arms of the town of Soultz as "Gules a cross argent cantonned with four birds passant sable". The birds are represented in white on the drawing, however (image).
[Armorial des Communes du Haut-Rhin]

Pascal Vagnat & Ivan Sache, 19 October 2020