09. November 2023

University of Bonn Senate Reinstates Doctoral Degrees of Four Alumni University of Bonn Senate Reinstates Doctoral Degrees of Four Alumni

Doctoral titles revoked in the Nazi era restored

At its November 9 meeting the University of Bonn Senate restored the doctoral titles of four former graduates who suffered persecution under the Nazi regime as Jews or for other ideological reasons. During that time, the University had withdrawn the doctoral titles of three doctoral degree holders from the Faculty of Law and Economics and one from the Faculty of Medicine after they escaped and fled abroad.

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On many occasions since reopening of the University of Bonn in 1945 the institution has denounced the injustices committed under the Nazi dictatorship, including those perpetrated by and on behalf of the University. In 1998 the University Senate comprehensively addressed the issue of doctoral degrees revocation in the Nazi era, formally reversing such internal decisions. Around 60 individuals were named in a resolution adopted back then whose doctoral degrees were thereby reinstated.

In doing so, the Senate was aware that the list of reinstated degree holders was not exhaustive due to gaps in the record keeping, as the University’s archives had perished in the war. Accordingly, the Senate resolution passed at that time expressly underscored how “the University intends to review and consider every single case brought before us in the future out of our commitment to reversing perpetrated Nazi injustices, and decide appropriately.”

Thus on the basis of previously unknown facts recently brought to its attention, at its November meeting the Senate passed the following resolution, having reviewed four additional cases of revoked doctoral degrees of individuals not named on the 1998 list:

The Senate of the University of Bonn has become aware of further cases of the arbitrary withdrawal of doctoral titles under the National Socialist dictatorship. The Senate therefore confirms—on the date of the November pogroms carried out against Jewish citizens 85 years ago today, and in memory of all victims of the Nazi dictatorship—that the following individuals have the right to bear the academic titles earned at our institution:

- Prof. Dr. Otto Kirchheimer (Dr. iur. 1928)
- Dr. Friedrich Mayer-Alberti (Dr. iur. 1929)
- Dr. Hans Oberländer (Dr. iur. 1933)
- Dr. Franz Paul Glees (Dr. med. 1935)

Senate Chairman Prof. Dr. Rainer Hüttemann commented on the occasion: “We are aware there may be further, yet unreported cases of unjust Nazi actions. Accordingly, we will continue researching into and reviewing such cases and officially recognizing their reversal going forward, as a permanent obligation to the integrity of this institution, and to future generations.”

The Senate is one of the central governance bodies of the University, consisting of 23 voting members representing its four constituencies: the student body, the professorate, academic staff and technical & administration staff. Members of the Rectorate, the deans of the seven faculties and other university officers may attend Senate sessions in a non-voting advisory capacity. The Senate plays a role in the election of Rectorate members, adopts ordinances and issues recommendations and statements on matters of fundamental relevance to the University overall.

Contact for the Media:

Prof. Dr. Andreas Archut
University Communications Division
Phone: 0228/73-7647
email: kommunikation@uni-bonn.de

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