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The German Physical Society and its Jewish members in the time of National Socialism

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Project description

The project will use further documents from archives in Berlin and Munich. We will also include younger scholars who were not members of the universities because they were still missing their postdoctoral lecture qualification. For example, we shall include stipendiaries at the PTR (Physikalisch-Technische Reichsanstalt).

Most German and Austrian physicists had been members of the German Physical Society. We discuss the development since its founding in 1899 as a back story. Then we will analyse in which way we can adequately describe the transitions between adaption and cooperation in the NS state. In this context we record all Jewish members whose share of about 15% is disproportionally high in comparison to 1% in the general population. We shall look for a sociological explanation. The fate of these members is part of this project and also leads to the history of scientific emigration.


  • Marginalization and Expulsion of Physicists under National Socialism: What was the German Physical Society´s Role? In: Hoffmann, Dieter; Walker, Mark: The German Physical Society in the Third Reich. Physicists between Autonomy and Accommodation. Cambridge MA 2012, S. 50–95.
  • Jewish physicists at German-speaking universities represented disproportionally highly: Connections between a scientific and an economic elite. In "Annali di Storia delle università italiane, Rivista semestrale" (2020), 1, S. 115–151.
  • Entrechtet, verfolgt, vertrieben und ermordet. Auch Mitglieder der DPG wurden Opfer des nationalsozialistischen Systems. In:  Physik Journal 19 (2020), S. 29–37.

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