As an automotive historian and expert on automobile construction in Saxony, he helped to establish the August Horch Museum in Zwickau and was a lecturer at the Hochschule für Verkehrswesen Dresden (University of Transport).

The "Friedrich List" Faculty of Transport and Traffic Sciences remembers Prof. Dr. Peter Kirchberg, who passed away on 14 October 2023 at the age of 89. He had made a name for himself as an expert in automotive history and vehicle construction in the GDR.

Prof Kirchberg's academic career began in 1964 at the former Hochschule für Verkehrswesen "Friedrich List" (HfV, University of Transport), the predecessor institution of today's "Friedrich List" Faculty of Transport and Traffic Sciences at TU Dresden. He completed his doctorate there with a thesis on the history of Auto Union AG.

He then remained at the HfV as a senior assistant, specifically at the Institute of Transport Economics and History. From 1980, he worked there as a lecturer in economic and transport history. Kirchberg published more than 150 publications on automotive history, with 20 works focussing in particular on the history of motor vehicles in Saxony.

After reunification, Peter Kirchberg remained a professor at the HfV until its dissolution in November 1992. As Vice-Rector for Teaching and Studies from June 1990 to November 1992, he was involved in the transition period from the HfV to the Faculty of Transport and Traffic Sciences in Dresden.

From 1993, he worked as a freelancer with his "Research Office for the History of Technology and Transport".

Close collaboration with museums throughout Germany

In addition to his teaching activities in Dresden, the dedicated automotive historian was very keen to work for and with (technology) museums. He played a key role in the creation of the August Horch Museum in Zwickau, where he was Chairman of the Advisory Board from its opening in 1988 until 2017. He was also involved in the museum concept and automotive history public relations work at the Dresden Transport Museum (Verkehrsmuseum Dresden) and was a member of the advisory board of the Rhineland-Palatinate State Museum in Koblenz. He has also worked closely with the Audi AG on exhibition and museum developments since 1992.

In 2009, he was honoured with the only German transport history award, the "Goldener Kolben". In October 2022, he received the August Horch Honorary Award for his life's work.

The memory of Peter Kirchberg as an outstanding expert in automotive history will always be held in honour at the "Friedrich List" Faculty of Transport and Traffic Sciences at TU Dresden. Our sympathy goes out to his grieving relatives.

On behalf of all colleagues and employees of the "Friedrich List" Faculty of Transport and Sciences

Prof. Dr.-Ing. Regine Gerike, Dean

Sources for the obituary:;


Tim Diehl / Red. bearb.

Alte Schule, Folge 116 mit Prof. Peter Kirchberg (der Podcast), 2021