Day of Remembrance: Geosciences in Nazi Times

How did Jewish geologists fare in Nazi times? How did the big expeditions between both World Wars influence the politicization of science? The Faculty of Geosciences invites interested persons to listen to two public, online talks at 4 p.m. on January 27, 2022.

Each year on January 27, the Day of Remembrance for the Victims of National Socialism takes place in Germany. At the University of Bremen, one of the twelve faculties organizes the central memorial service - this year it is the Faculty of Geosciences. In order to enable as many students and staff to partake, the afternoon of January 27 is a Dies Academicus, thus no classes are held.

Professor and AWI Director Antje Boetius Highlights Earlier German Expeditions

The first presentation entitled “Between Two World Wars: International Expeditions for the Community” (“Zwischen zwei Weltkriegen: Internationale Expeditionen für die Gemeinschaft”) will be held by Antje Boetius, Director of the Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research (AWI) and professor within the Faculty of Geosciences at the University of Bremen. The history of polar and marine research is a story of international cooperations, but also competition for presence, an edge in terms of knowledge, and technical advancements. The presentation provides insight into the background of the three German expeditions between the World Wars that were funded by the Emergency Association of German Science (predecessor organization of the DFG). The expeditions took place in the times of the Weimar Republic, which was characterized by economic, social, and political uncertainty. The expeditions were the Alai Pamir Expedition to investigate glaciers, the Meteor Expedition to survey the Atlantic, and Alfred Wegener’s Greenland expedition. Letters and photos from the period highlight the difficult situation for science and science promotion in attaining international recognition. The immense entanglement of expeditions with the military and politics, as well as the independences within science promotion should not be forgotten.

Individual Fates of Jewish Geologists Shown by Professor Andreas Hoppe from Freiburg

Professor Andreas Hoppe, geologist, head of the Archive for the History of Geology in Freiburg, and visiting professor at the University of Freiburg will shed light on Jewish geologists in Germany in the 20th century in the second talk. Based on a statement from the well-known geologist Hans Stille that “Jews are no good as geologists,” the talk takes a look at their actual significance for the geosciences. Exemplary descriptions of individual fates follow: One geologist – a Catholic patriot –  had to emigrate due to a Jewish grandfather, returned to Nazi Germany, and became a successful university lecturer after the war. Despite emigrating, another geologist was arrested by the SS in Yugoslavia and was murdered in Buchenwald.

Further Information:

The event will take place via Zoom. You can find the access details here:

Password: 2468


Prof. Dr. Simone Kasemann
Dean of the Faculty of Geosciences
University of Bremen
Phone: +49 421 218-65930
Email: simone.kasemannprotect me ?!uni-bremenprotect me ?!.de

Prof. Dr. Thomas Hoffmeister
Vice President Academic
University of Bremen
Phone: +49 421 218-60031
Email: kon2protect me ?!uni-bremenprotect me ?!.de

Stolpersteine auf der Straße
Stumbling stones across Germany remind us of the Holocaust. At the University of Bremen, the Faculty of Geosciences is hosting two public, online lectures on January 27.