Friedrich Donath

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Friedrich Hugo Donath (born March 30, 1908 in Helbigsdorf ; † December 7, 1985 in Rostock ) was a German historian and Germanist. From 1961 he was professor for methodology of history teaching at the University of Rostock and from 1967 professor for history methodology at the German University of Physical Culture in Leipzig .


Donath came from the Saxon Erzgebirge and was the son of a carpenter's assistant. After attending school, he completed an apprenticeship as a book printer in Olbernhau , after which he went on a roll. From 1928 he was a member of the SPD (until 1945) and worked as a book printer in various places before taking his Abitur in Berlin in 1938. He then attended the college for teacher training in Hamburg and then began a teacher training course in Berlin. In 1940 he was drafted into the Wehrmacht. He participated in World War II until 1943 and lost his left arm before continuing his studies in Vienna.

From 1945 he was a lecturer in history for the new teacher training at the Technical University of Dresden and joined the KPD, with which he became a member of the SED through the compulsory union of the SPD and KPD in 1946. In 1948 he went to the University of Leipzig as a research assistant , where he received his doctorate in 1951 with the dissertation A turning point in the Weimar Republic . In 1960 he presented his habilitation thesis in Leipzig on the subject of investigations into the achievement of maximum educational results in history lessons in 7th grade .

From 1961 to 1967 Friedrich Donath was professor for methodology of history teaching at the University of Rostock after his predecessor Walter Schöler left the GDR. His concept in terms of a more effective socialist education was to merge the historical institute with the institute for historical methodology, which left the pedagogical institute. Because of the tense relationship with the authoritarian Donath, the institute employee Herbert Mühlstädt left the university. In 1967 Donath moved to the German University of Physical Culture in Leipzig as a professor of historical methodology . He belonged to the first generation of non-subject professors at DHfK. In 1973 Friedrich Donath retired.

Fonts (selection)

  • Lenin in Leipzig , Berlin 1958.
  • Teaching methods in history class. On the system of teaching methods in history and citizenship classes , Berlin 1960.
  • Bourgeois or socialist home? . In: Sächsische Heimatblätter , 6, 1960, No. 5, pp. 258–260.
  • Concept formation in history lessons , Berlin 1962.
  • On Lenin's footsteps in Germany , Berlin 1970.
  • Basic questions of ideological education in history lessons , Leipzig 1970.

Honors in the GDR

  • 1957 Medal for Excellent Achievement
  • 1957 Pestalozzi medal in bronze
  • 1960 Silver badge of honor from the Society for German-Soviet Friendship
  • 1962 Johannes R. Becher Medal in gold
  • 1966 Silver Pestalozzi Medal
  • 1968 Patriotic Order of Merit


  • Rudolf Bonna: The narrative in the historical methodology of the Soviet Zone and GDR , Bochum 1996 (= Diss. Dortmund 1995)
  • Tino Reuter: The Rostocker Geschichtsmethodik 1945–1962 , in: Contemporary history regional. Messages from Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania , 21-2, 2017, pp. 51-66

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Entry on Friedrich Donath in the Catalogus Professorum Rostochiensium
  2. Arnd Krüger & Paul Kunath: The development of sports science in the Soviet zone and the GDR, in: W. BUSS, C. BECKER u. a. (Ed.): Sport in the Soviet Zone and the early GDR. Genesis - structures - conditions . Schorndorf: Hofmann 2001, pp. 351–366.
  3. Rudolf Bonna: The story telling in the Soviet occupation zone and GDR. 1996, archived from the original on November 26, 2017 ; accessed on July 11, 2018 .