UPDATE: zu deutschsprachigen Texten zur Causa Karl Bosl und Wolfgang Benz siehe den ersten Text vom 15.01.2010:
sowie den jüngsten Artikel vom 09.04.2010:
und weitere Texte auf dieser Homepage…
By Christopher Hale and Clemens Heni
Recently we have been in Riga, protesting against the march of former Waffen-SS men and their Neo-Nazi friends who annually commemorate their comrades who fought in the ‘Latvian Legion’ recruited by Heinrich Himmler. What is the German reaction to such a political demonstration in favor of the fight of Latvians side by side with Hitler’s Wehrmacht and SS against the Red Army? Maybe Germany today is too busy with looking for shredded Stasi files, as the London Times reported recently…
This kind of obsession with Stasi files is interesting if we look at a genuine scandal in German academia. A Ph.D. supervisor is perhaps the most influential person in one’s academic career. You must choose carefully and confidence and integrity is essential in such a relationship. Dr. Wolfgang Benz
is the head of the Institute for Research on Antisemitism (ZfA), based at Berlin’s Technical University in the heart of West Berlin. This institute and its director are supposed to deal critically with the Nazi past. However, Benz wrote his Ph.D. in 1968 under the auspices of Prof. Karl Bosl in Munich. Benz contributed to a volume to honor Bosl on his 80th birthday in 1988. Two years later Benz became head of the one and only Center for Research on Antisemitism (ZfA) in Germany. In 1990 Bosl gave a long biographical interview to a journalist, claiming that he played no part promoting Nazi ideology in the Hitler period.
The truth is very different:
Karl Bosl (1908-1993) was himself a member of the Nazi party (NSDAP) and the Stormtroopers (SA) from 1933, the Nazi Teachers’ Association from 1934. In 1938, he was paid by the infamous “Ahnenerbe der SS” (“German Ancestral Heritage Society”), to work on a big “scholarly project”. The Ahnenerbe supported lethal experiments on humans in concentration camps (KZ), including Dachau and Natzweiler.
Bosl also took part in the so called “Aktion Ritterbusch”, a major project of “the humanities” in Nazi Germany (including history, art history, archeology, law, and other fields), named after Paul Ritterbusch, a Nazi party member from 1932, who declared that “Jews” do not belong to the “new German nation”. The Aktion Ritterbusch (“German Humanities at War”) included up to 700 leading academics, including famous Carl Schmitt, Theodor Schieder, and Hans-Georg Gadamer. Their aim was to prove German ‘racial’ superiority. The “Aktion Ritterbusch” contributed to the “Generalplan Ost”, which envisioned murdering some 25 million people to make agriculture more “German” (read: productive in a Nazi sense), to settle Germans or pro-German people on various territories.
Even after the unconditional surrender of Nazi Germany, Bosl continued to participate in pro-Nazi activities. For example, he edited volumes to honor Theodor Mayer in 1963. Mayer, a member of the NSDAP since 1937, was a very influential academic in the Nazi period and took part in the ‘Aktion Ritterbusch’. Bosl also honored Karl Alexander von Müller in 1964: von Müller was the Ph.D. supervisor of Bosl in 1938 and a very close friend of Hitler and a committed Nazi from the early 1920’s, and a member of the Nazi party in 1933. Von Müller gave an address on November 19, 1936, for the opening of the “Forschungsabteilung Judenfrage des Reichsinstituts für die Geschichte des neuen Deutschlands” (“Research Department ‘Jewish Question’ at the Reich’s Institute for the History of the New Germany”) at Munich University. This means that von Müller contributed to the Holocaust – which began with the legal exclusion of German Jews from the rest of German society – which provided the justification for any anti-Jewish action.
Bosl participated in a conference in Erlangen, on April 18 and 19, 1944 of the above mentioned “Aktion Ritterbusch”, which was co-headed by Theodor Mayer. Mayer was also awarded a honorary doctorate from the same university of Erlangen in 1942…Finally Bosl was part of the supposedly last conference of German historians (and the “Aktion Rittersbusch” as well), which took place on January 16 and 17, 1945. This conference honored the “Führer” at his birthplace in Braunau am Inn (Austria). The conference took place in the restaurant “Gann” at the “Adolf-Hitler-Platz”.
The local chapter of the Nazi party served game and fish.
In the same city of Erlangen on March 21, 2010, Wolfgang Benz was confronted with these facts about his supervisor. Was he ashamed? He aggressively answered, “no” and said that “Bosl was widely regarded a highly respected liberal scholar”.
What about Bosl’s post-war activities? Was he as Benz claims a great liberal, remorseful for his past and ashamed of his contribution to the Nazi regime? Not at all. He lied in a long biographical interview in 1990 about his past, and, well, he spoke in 1964 at a conference of the so called “Witikobund”, an organization of German displaced persons (“Vertriebene”), many of whom had been in the Nazi party until 1945. He accused Czechoslovakia of having committed a “final solution” of the German problem in a “Hitlerian” way… Read: the Holocaust was not at all unique, the German displaced persons had or have become victims of a similar crime as the Jews in Auschwitz, Treblinka, Sobibor or the woods near Riga or Vilnius.
In a book on “Bavaria” Bosl wrote in 1981 that the “Third Reich” “kept on working for egalitarian policies for the entire society”. This is an anti-Semitic erasure of the anti-Jewish politics of Nazi Germany! In 1983 Benz was part of a huge “Tabula Gratulatoria” (list of congratulators) for Bosl’s 75th birthday. In an announcement for a public lecture of Benz in the city of Aalen on November 26, 2009 was proudly mentioned that Bosl was the Ph.D. supervisor of Benz in 1968.
Benz said that Bosl was regarded as a liberal in the 1960s. Well, as it happens, the mainstream Frankfurter Rundschau daily reported in January 1966 about several former Nazis who now played a key role in the “Sudetendeutsche Landsmannschaft”, the umbrella organization of those expelled Germans (from Czechoslovakia) where the “Witikobund” was included. For Germans at that time this “Landsmanschaft” was quiet well known for its anti-Semitic and right-wing extremist character. Bosl spoke at the yearly conference of that group in 1964 and the Witikobund itself, who published Bosl’s lecture, was found in 1950 in the city of Stuttgart exclusively (!) by former NSDAP- or SS-members!
To sum up: Karl Bosl was a committed Nazi, a member of several Nazi organizations, and even paid by the SS for his ‘research’. After 1945 Bosl was still a close friend to former Nazis like von Müller, Theodor Mayer or anti-Semitic and revisionist organizations like the Witikobund. Bosl was also member of the British Academy of Science in London. We are sure they did not know about his Nazi career! The British Academy of Science has to revoke Bosls membership.
How should we deal with the fact that Prof. Benz passes over in silence, without the slightest sign of regret, the manifold Nazi activities of his mentor Bosl? Perhaps Benz is nowadays too busy working overtime to equalize anti-Semitism with “Islamophobia”, which he did several times publicly over the last few months.
Downplaying the uniqueness of the Holocaust while continuing to remain silent about his own Ph.D. supervisor’s Nazi career: Benz has to resign from his position as director of the Institute for Research on Antisemitism (ZfA). Ignoring the Nazi legacy of his beloved Ph.D. supervisor and colleague Karl Bosl cannot be tolerated from an academic in such an important and influential position.
Bosl honored a Nazi like Karl Alexander von Müller, who gave an address to an anti-Semitic institute in 1936 to prepare the Holocaust, until 1964. This is unacceptable and a researcher on anti-Semitism like Prof. Benz who is still proud of Bosl, cannot stay director of a research institute on anti-Semitism!
Christopher Hale is a British writer and documentary producer. He is the author of Himmler’s Crusade : the true story of the 1938 Nazi expedition into Tibet, London : Bantam, 2003. xiv, 422 p; Hale is now researching and writing Hitler’s Foreign Executioners…
Dr. Clemens Heni is a political scientist, he published two books on German antisemitism and was published by scholarly journals in the US, Israel, New Zealand and Germany. Until August 2009 he was a post-doctoral researcher at the Yale Initiative for the Interdisciplinary Study of Antisemitism