Dietrich Hahn

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Johannes Dietrich Hahn (born April 14, 1946 in Frankfurt am Main ) is a German journalist and publicist who has lived in Thailand since summer 2012 .


He is the only son of the art historian and architecture researcher Hanno Hahn and his wife Ilse Hahn, nee. Pletz, and only grandson of nuclear chemist and Nobel Prize winner Otto Hahn . He spent his childhood and youth in Frankfurt-Berkersheim and - until 1960 - in Rome (Italy), where he attended the German School . After the early accidental death of his parents - he was 14 at the time - he attended several country school homes, most recently the boarding school Schloss Stein an der Traun near Seebruck am Chiemsee . From 1968 he studied performing arts at the State University of Music (Dept. IX, Max Reinhardt School for Drama ) (today University of the Arts ) and with Professor Marlise Ludwig in Berlin . In 1972 his theater work began on German theaters, which was characterized, among other things, by his participation in several first and world premieres (including Trianà, Eisendle , Taylor, Ibsen , Gorki ). Even then, his interest in the history of science grew , especially in the 20th century, and as an autodidact he was primarily concerned with the life and work of his grandfather Otto Hahn and his colleague Lise Meitner , who was his godmother . He sees this work as a legacy and feels a special responsibility to document the historical scientific achievements of Otto Hahn and Lise Meitner as authentically as possible and to preserve them for future generations.

On his last visit to Cambridge in July 1965, Lise Meitner said to him:

“You can't rave enough about your dear grandfather, everyone loves him, everyone adores him, and I especially. Do you know what it means to be your grandson? It is a gift from God. Do you even deserve that, fellow? "

Since 1975 he has published numerous books and articles, primarily about Otto Hahn, Lise Meitner and Walther Gerlach for the press, radio and television. In 1975 he published the historical correspondence between Otto Hahn and Lise Meitner (November 1938 to March 1939) at Econ Verlag , to which Karl Erik Zimen , the founding director of the Hahn Meitner Institute in Berlin, wrote the foreword. In 1979, List Verlag Munich published Dietrich Hahn's main work to date, a large-format 'Biography in Pictures and Documents' on the occasion of Otto Hahn's 100th birthday, with over 700 annotated reproductions and facsimiles of original historical documents. “Unique in our literature” , as it was assessed by Professor Walther Gerlach at the time, while Friedrich Herneck , science historian at Humboldt University, was of the opinion: “As far as I know there is no comparable detailed description for any other natural scientist, not even for Einstein.” And Hermann Rudolph reviewed in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung :

“The content of an epoch, its loud and silent revolutions: in what are they really recognizable? In a life that moved in the focal points of time, on the contour line of its spectacular events? Or in a life like Otto Hahn, the discoverer of nuclear fission? The photo and documentary volume, compiled and edited by his grandson Dietrich Hahn, has its merit in the fact that it follows the private trace of this life just as attentively and tirelessly as the path that it first took in the scientific and then in the political public. Because this life was quiet, normal, bourgeois, in this respect completely undramatic with its success stories. [...] And yet it is this life that has tracked down the point from which the entire modern civilization has come under new, disruptive conditions. In that the book visualizes both the bourgeois inconspicuous and the spectacular side of this life, it places an instructive and original as well as - this too - moving cut into the landscape of history and events of our century. "

1987 in Munich, at the suggestion of Hermann Josef Abs in a branch of the Deutsche Bank , and in 1998 in the Szczecin Palace in Szczecin (Poland) Hahn designed extensive exhibitions of selected watercolors, paintings and drawings by his grandmother, the painter Edith Junghans (1887–1968), and in 1990 a memorial exhibition in the Bibliotheca Hertziana in Rome on the occasion of the 30th anniversary of his parents' death and the first award of the Hanno and Ilse Hahn Prize .

Hahn has been a personally sponsoring member of the Max Planck Society and the Deutsches Museum in Munich since 1976 , as well as an active member in various nature and animal protection organizations, where he is particularly committed to PETA and SHAC ; In 2014 he also became a member of the British RSPCA . From 1982 to 2012 he was a member of the Bavarian Journalists Association (BJV) in Munich , since then he has been a member of the German Association of Specialized Journalists (DFJV) in Berlin and the British Science Association in London .

In 1981 he was the only German participant in the two-month Antarctic expedition of the National Science Foundation and the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, DC (circling the Antarctic and visiting numerous research stations, including Palmer , Esperanza , Arctowski , Halley , McMurdo , Scott Base , Dumont d ' Urville , Macquarie and the historic cottages of Shackleton and Scott at Cape Royds , Hut Point and Cape Evans ).

In 1983 he was officially confirmed as permanent resident of New Zealand from the New Zealand government in Wellington , which made his work at a publishing house in Picton ( Queen Charlotte Sound ) much easier. In 1987 he was on board the four-masted barque SY Sea Cloud on her maiden voyage in the South Pacific on the route of William Bligh in 1788 in a west-east direction via Fiji ( Viti Levu ), Tongatapu , Samoa , Niue , Aitutaki , Mitiaro , Maupihaa , Maupiti , Bora Bora , Raiatea , Moorea to Tahiti . He had summarized his impressions and experiences on this trip in a kind of diary of around 80 loose sheets of paper which, together with a collection of around 1,200 small-format slides, were lost during his last move from Germany to Thailand.

In 1995 he turned in a widely noticed protest action against the French atomic bomb tests announced by President Jacques Chirac in Mururoa Atoll ( Polynesia ) by presenting the Order of the Legion of Honor to Otto Hahn by President Charles de Gaulle in 1959 together with a four-page protest note to Chirac returned. In 1998 he became a member of the Otto Hahn Peace Medal Board of Trustees of the LV Berlin-Brandenburg of the German Society for the United Nations (DGVN), and - since the beginning of 2013 - an external member of the New York Academy of Sciences .

From 2004 to 2010 he was a participant in all maiden voyages of the RMS Queen Mary 2 across the Atlantic , Pacific and Indian Oceans and became a member of the Cunard World Club in Southampton . On the other hand, he had to refuse an invitation to go on a multi-week excursion on the nuclear ship NS Otto Hahn to Brazil and South Africa at the end of the 1970s , as he was unable to attend due to his theater work at the time.

A few years ago he increasingly began to educate the public about the background and facts of the work of Otto Hahn and Lise Meitner, to organize readings (e.g. the historical Hahn-Meitner correspondence 1938/39 ) and the like. a. together with Marlen Diekhoff , Carola Regnier , Christa Berndl , and to give lectures (main focus: Otto Hahn: a life for science, humanity and peace ), u. a. in Albstadt ( Maschenmuseum ), Bad Camberg (Festival of Quiet Tones), Berlin ( Academy of Sciences ), Hamburg ( Aby Warburg Library), Saarbrücken ( Union Foundation ), and in numerous high schools, schools and vocational training centers.

In October 2013, at the invitation of Tadatoshi Akiba , he visited the city of Hiroshima and the Itsukushima Shrine on Miyajima for the first time and gave two highly regarded lectures at the University of Hiroshima on Otto Hahn's life and work, in particular on his peace policy activities since the US atomic bombs were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki it in August 1945. Furthermore, visited the atomic bomb dome and the peace Memorial Museum Hiroshima and lay, also on behalf of his grandfather at the cenotaph in the peace Park a wreath and commemorated the victims and Hibakusha . At a meeting with Hiroshima's mayor Kazumi Matsui , the latter described Otto Hahn as a “champion of peace” and praised his pacifist commitment as “instructive, forward-looking and exemplary for future generations” .

On the occasion of the commemoration of the First World War 1914–1918, Dietrich Hahn gave a lecture in September 2015 at the Käthe Kollwitz Museum in Berlin, describing Otto Hahn's transformation from an imperial-Wilhelmine war participant to a determined humanist and fighter for global nuclear disarmament, peace and international Détente highlighted. Title: Otto Hahn - From gas officer in 1915 to active pacifist in Hiroshima in 1945 .

In December 2015 he was invited by the Catholic 'Saint Louis University' in Baguio (Philippines) to give a two-part lecture about his grandfather (title: Otto Hahn - A Life for Science, Humanity and Peace ) and the rededication of the Otto Hahn Building (opened in 1970 as the Faculty of Architecture and Engineering) on ​​the university campus. He also took part in the unveiling of a commemorative plaque that was installed in his honor under a portrait of Otto Hahn.

Dietrich Hahn, divorced twice and a vegetarian since 1986 for ethical reasons , married 34-year-old Siamese Khun Vipaphon Chaisutthi Suphatipp Patcharapan on October 18, 2012 in the rite of Theravada Buddhism in Samut Sakhon and lives with his wife near Bangkok in the Kingdom of Thailand .

At the end of September 2018, a fist-sized brain tumor was removed from him by Prof. Bhunpoth and his team in the Bangkok Siriraj Clinic in a six-hour complicated but life-saving resection . His health has been stable since then.

Publications (selection)

  • (Ed.): Otto Hahn - experiences and knowledge . With a foreword by Prof. Dr. Karl-Erik Zimen . Econ Verlag, Düsseldorf-Vienna 1975. ISBN 3-430-13732-2 .
  • (Ed.): Otto Hahn - founder of the atomic age . A biography in pictures and documents. With a foreword by Reimar Lüst , a foreword by Paul Matussek and an introduction by Walther Gerlach . List Verlag, Munich 1979. ISBN 3-471-77841-1 .
  • Dietrich Hahn: Otto Hahn and Fritz Straßmann . Physikalische Blätter , 37, (1981) pp. 44-46.
  • (Ed.): Otto Hahn in the criticism . Moos Verlag, Munich 1981. ISBN 3-7879-0198-1
  • Walther Gerlach, Dietrich Hahn: Otto Hahn - A researcher's life of our time . (Great Naturalists, Volume 45). Wissenschaftliche Verlagsgesellschaft, Stuttgart 1984. ISBN 3-8047-0757-2 .
  • (Ed.): Otto Hahn - My life . The memories of the great atomic researcher and humanist. Extended new edition. Piper Verlag, Munich-Zurich 1986. ISBN 3-492-00838-0 .
  • (Ed.): Otto Hahn. Life and work in texts and pictures . With a foreword by Carl Friedrich von Weizsäcker . Insel-Suhrkamp Verlag, Frankfurt am Main 1988. ISBN 3-458-32789-4 .
  • (Ed.): Otto Hahn - From radiothor to uranium fission . Extended new edition. With a foreword by Prof. Dr. Kurt Starke, Marburg. Vieweg Verlag, Braunschweig-Wiesbaden 1989. ISBN 3-528-08413-8 .
  • (Ed.): Lise Meitner: Memories of Otto Hahn . S. Hirzel Verlag, Stuttgart 2005. ISBN 3-7776-1380-0 .
  • Dietrich Hahn: Foreword to the commemorative publication 30 years of the Lise Meitner School OSZ Berlin . Weka Info-Verlag, Mering 2009.
  • Dietrich Hahn: Foreword to Volker Lässing: Nobody takes the devil! Otto Hahn and the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute for Chemistry in Tailfingen . CM-Verlag, Albstadt 2010. ISBN 978-3-939219-00-2 .
  • Dietrich Hahn: Foreword to the commemorative publication Otto Hahn Schule Jenfeld . Hamburg 2012.


See also

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Lise Meitner: Memories of Otto Hahn. S. Hirzel Verlag, Stuttgart 2005, page X. ISBN 3-7776-1380-0 .
  2. ^ Friedrich Herneck, June 19, 1979. In: Otto Hahn in der Critique. Moos Verlag, Munich 1981. p. 100. ISBN 3-7879-0198-1 .
  3. ^ Hermann Rudolph: Review by Dietrich Hahn (Ed.): Otto Hahn - founder of the atomic age. A biography in pictures and documents. List, Munich 1979. In: Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, October 2, 1979.

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