Dominik Josef Wölfel

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Dominik Josef Wölfel (born May 25, 1888 in Vienna ; † April 27, 1963 there ) was an Austrian historian and ethnologist.

Wölfel is an important explorer of North African cultures and the history of the Canary Islands . He was a lecturer in ethnology at the University of Vienna and curator at the Museum für Völkerkunde Vienna . The main focus of his research was the investigation of primary sources in the archives of the Vatican, Madrid, Simancas ', Lisbon and Paris '. He is regarded as the rediscoverer of the work "Descrittione et historia del regno de l'isole Canarie" by Leonardo Torriani , which he published in 1940 with a German translation. His most important work, the Monumenta Linguae Canariae ( Canarian Language Monuments ), was only published in 1965, two years after his death.

Wölfel was a supporter of the corporate state and a sympathizer of Franco fascism , to which he also dedicated a Catholic anti-Semitic work on the Spanish Civil War . In April 1937 Wölfel became a member of the Ostmärkische Sturmscharen . From 1938 to 1945 he was suspended from his activities in Vienna because he was married to a so-called “ half-Jewish ” woman. He was therefore negative and critical of National Socialism. In 1939 Wölfel was forced to retire at the Museum of Ethnology. In addition, Wölfel had made enemies in the scientific community because he spread rumors about Hugo Bernatzik's Jewish descent . Wölfel also tried in vain to hide his Archivum Canarium from the Research Association of German Ahnenerbe . For this reason, Oswald Menghin and Viktor Christian probably prevented his habilitation .

Wölfel was active in the resistance of the Museum of Ethnology during the National Socialist era, together with Robert Bleichsteiner . In 1945 it was put back into service by the same museum.

Wölfel received an honorary doctorate from the University of La Laguna on Tenerife for his great services to the exploration of the Canary Islands .

The Dominik-Wölfel-Medal of the Institutum Canarium and the Dominik-Wölfel-Gasse in Vienna- Floridsdorf (21st district) were named after him.


  • This is Spain: Secret story of a civil war , Vienna 1937
  • Monumenta Linguae Canariae , Vienna 1965
  • The religions of pre-Indo-European Europe , Vienna 1951
  • The Canary Islands and their Indigenous People (Editor), 1940
  • Eur-African word layers as cultural layers , Salamanca 1955
  • Don Juan Tenorio: Romantic drama in 5 acts (7 images). With a study of Don Juan in Spain , German adaptation by Dominik Wölfel, Vienna 1947
  • A course of practical English in 30 letters , Vienna 1946
  • 3500 words German – English / English – German (pocket dictionary), Vienna 1946

Individual evidence

  1. Leonardo Torriani: The Canary Islands and their native inhabitants . An unknown illuminated manuscript from 1590. In the original Italian text and in German translation as well as with ethnographic, historical-geographical, linguistic and archaeological contributions. In: Dominik Josef Wölfel (Ed.): Sources and research on the history of geography and ethnology . tape 6 . KF Koehler, Leipzig 1940.
  2. Dominik Josef Wölfel: Monumenta linguae canariae . Academic printing and Verl.-Anst., Graz 1965 ( [1] [accessed on January 31, 2017]).
  3. a b Vienna's street names since 1860 as “Political Places of Remembrance” (PDF; 4.4 MB), p. 297ff, final research project report, Vienna, July 2013


Carmen Díaz Alayón: Dominik Josef Wölfel and his Canarian studies . In: Almogaren . No. 20 , 1989, ISSN  1695-2669 , pp. 7–32 ( [2] [PDF; accessed January 1, 2019]).

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