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The National Socialist Era

This dossier provides an outline of the history of the DFG during National Socialism: from its naming through self-mobilisation and Aryanisation to the funding of “research critical to the war”. An intensive critical reappraisal of the National Socialist era is also documented here.

The Research Unit on the History of the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft, 1920-1970

In spring 2000, the President of the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft, Professor Dr. Ludwig Winnacker, convened a working group to explore ways and opportunities to examine the DFG’s history. After this initial discussion, the President asked Professors vom Bruch (Berlin) and Herbert (Freiburg) to assume charge of the DFG history research project. This initiative gave rise to a research association whose work was based on the following three guiding principles: the research should focus on the period of Nazi rule; the group’s main focus should be the research projects funded specifically by the DFG; the project should focus less on the history of individual disciplines. Instead, it should be more of an analysis of interdisciplinary developments.

Further information

Access to the historical records

Indexing information on the funding records and other documents of the Notgemeinschaft and the DFG from the period up to post-Second World War (call number R 73) is available in invenio, a research tool of the Federal Archive. Funding records are located in the “unclassified” category, and other documents can be found by clicking on the arrow at R 73.

Information on literature used and sources

Tiergartenstraße 4

A memorial and information centre in Berlin commemorates the victims of the National Socialist “euthanasia” murders. The DFG knowledge transfer project “To remember means to commemorate and inform” developed the materials for the interactive exhibition.

Exhibition on the General Plan East

The DFG's exhibition entitled “Research, Planning, Expulsion – The National Socialists’ General Plan East” chronicles the close connection between academic research, rational planning and research funding in the service of National Socialist invasion and extermination policies.

DFG programme contact