Götz Aly

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Götz Aly at the presentation of the Ludwig Börne Prize 2012

Götz Haydar Aly (born May 3, 1947 in Heidelberg ) is a German political scientist , historian and journalist . His main topics are National Socialist racial hygiene , Holocaust and economic policy of the National Socialist dictatorship as well as anti-Semitism of the 19th and 20th centuries.


Götz Haydar Aly is a descendant of the royal Prussian Chamberlain Friedrich Aly and a grandson of the philologist Wolfgang Aly . He attended elementary schools and high schools in Heidelberg (1954-1956), Leonberg (1956-1962) and Gräfelfing (1962-1967), where he at Kurt-Huber-Gymnasium , the 1967 High School took off. In 1967 and 1968 he went to the German School of Journalism in Munich . He then studied history and political science at the Free University of Berlin until 1971 .

During his studies, Aly was actively involved in the student movement . In the summer of 1970 he was elected as a student representative to the newly formed faculty council of the Otto Suhr Institute for the “socialist work collectives” . In 1971 he was one of the founders and editors of the newspaper Hochschulkampf. Battle sheet of the initiative committee of the Red Cells in West Berlin , which belonged to the Maoist proletarian left / party initiative . On June 24, 1971, he took part in an action in which activists of the “Grundsemester-Organization” (GSO) broke into a seminar held by Professor Alexander Schwan and used violence against him. From the beginning of 1972 to the middle of 1973 he was involved in the Red Aid West Berlin .

After completing his studies with a diploma in political science, Aly worked from 1973 as the head of a children's and youth recreational facility in Berlin-Spandau . In 1978 he was with a work about his experiences in the District Office Spandau near Reinhart Wolff and Wolf-Dieter Narr (pol. Dr. rer.) Doctor of Economics and Social Sciences PhD . From 1981 to 1983 and from 1991 to 1993 Aly worked as an editor for domestic politics for the newly founded daily newspaper taz . From 1997 to 2001 he was the chief editor of the Berliner Zeitung . In the meantime he occasionally wrote for the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung , the Süddeutsche Zeitung , Die Zeit and the Spiegel .

In October 1982, Aly applied for a postdoctoral fellowship on the topic of “The development of scientific standards for the assessment and killing of disabled German children in the years 1939–1945. Proposal to lighten a taboo ”at the German Research Foundation (DFG). According to his own account, his interest in the Nazi “euthanasia murders” aroused his daughter, who was born in 1979 and who had a brain inflammation shortly after her birth and suffered severe cerebral damage. The DFG rejected Aly's application because the contemporary historians Eberhard Jäckel and Karl Dietrich Bracher supported the research project, but questioned the professional qualifications of the political scientist with a doctorate. The third reviewer, the political scientist Klaus Jürgen Gantzel , on the other hand, had attested him “innovative research potential ”, “which should be promoted”. In the following years, together with Klaus Dörner , Ernst Klee and Karl Heinz Roth , Aly made a significant contribution to research into the murders of the sick under National Socialism . From 1984 to 1992 Aly co-edited the first ten volumes of the articles on National Socialist health and social policy , and from 1985 to 1988 he headed the project "Perpetrator Biographies" at the Hamburg Institute for Social Research .

In 1994 , Aly completed his habilitation in political science at the Otto Suhr Institute of the Free University of Berlin . After visiting professorships in Vienna and Salzburg, he held the four-semester visiting professorship for interdisciplinary Holocaust research at the Fritz Bauer Institute in Frankfurt am Main from 2004 to 2006 . In 2006, Federal President Köhler appointed him to the Board of Trustees of the Berlin Jewish Museum , of which he is still a member. In the 2012/13 winter semester, Aly held the Sir Peter Ustinov Guest Professorship at the Institute for Contemporary History at the University of Vienna .


Nazi research

The main topic of Aly's academic work was initially the history of the Holocaust , which he largely researched outside of the established academic world. The trigger for dealing with the subject of "Holocaust" was the most extensive investigation of euthanasia to date during the Third Reich, which was carried out in Hamburg in 1981. Aly uses less the ideological factor (racial madness, anti-Semitism) than rational reasons to explain it. Central to this is the book Vordenker der Vernichtung , published in 1991 with Susanne Heim , in which the authors emphasize economic and population-political motives in the genesis of the Holocaust. A scholarly debate arose around this book, which is reflected in particular in the anthology, Destruction Policy, edited by Wolfgang Schneider (also 1991). Some authors were critical of Alys and Heim's theses and their methodology , particularly researchers such as Ulrich Herbert or Norbert Frei .

With his work Endlösung (1995), which includes the Holocaust in the resettlement policy of the National Socialists and evaluates a number of new sources, Aly, however, met mostly with acceptance, for example by Hans Mommsen and Raul Hilberg . The book Hitler's People's State , published in 2005, again sparked controversy in specialist circles . Aly described the Nazi regime as a “dictatorship of convenience” from which, in his opinion, the Germans directly benefited and which sought to realize egalitarian principles through social welfare.

From 2002 to 2010, Aly was one of the initiators and editors of the 16-volume source edition The Persecution and Murder of European Jews by National Socialist Germany 1933–1945 (VEJ), in which private voices are to be documented as well as state and party officials and those persecuted or eyewitnesses. The long-term project is funded by the German Research Foundation with around 250,000 euros per volume and is currently the DFG's most complex humanities project.

Aly's statements during a press conference on the occasion of the controversial Berlin colonialism exhibition “ The Third World in World War II ”, which was intended to honor the achievements of the “colonial peoples” for the liberation of Germany in World War II , caused contradiction . Aly criticized the allegedly trivializing way in which the exhibition organizers dealt with the topic of the Nazi-friendly collaborators . Mahatma Gandhi was "one of the greatest friends" of the Nazis, the colored soldiers "unfree liberators", who should have had an interest in the defeat of their colonial rulers. Incidentally, “every village in southwest Germany can report rape by black soldiers” who “lived no different from the Russians” . Aly's allegations were dismissed as unfounded by British veterans agent Dennis Goodwin in The Daily Telegraph .

In his 2011 book Why the Germans? Why the Jews? Aly advocates the thesis that the central cause of the Holocaust was a specifically German social envy of the educated Jews, which only developed in the course of industrialization in the 19th century. Ulrich Herbert , on the other hand, objects that the direct connection between material interests and political demands clearly falls short. “Ideology” is not just something “thought out” a la Aly, but a building of convictions with a claim to explain the world and its own power of effect.

In 2013 he published his book The Loaded , in which he describes how the “ euthanasia ” murders of around 200,000 people in society were carried out as a “publicly known secret”; it shows the behavior of relatives as well as doctors, for whom this killing was daily therapeutic routine and who at the same time claimed reform goals for themselves.

His book Europe against the Jews, published in 2017 . 1880–1945 describes modern anti-Semitism as a cross-border phenomenon, fed by nationalism, crises and social envy, which the German occupiers were able to take advantage of in their policy of deportations and genocide . Martin Doerry complains that Aly is all about the envy of the dispossessed of the enterprising Jews. But Hitler had declared the "international Jews" to be the real enemy, who aimed at the annihilation of the German nation. In this respect Hitler did not want to take booty, but wanted to destroy the Jews.

Criticism of the 68 movement

In his book Our Struggle 1968 - An Irritated Look Back , published in 2008, Aly analyzes the reaction of the other side to the German student movement of the 1960s . He draws on files from German authorities and contemporary reactions, including those of Joseph Ratzinger , Ernst Fraenkel and Richard Löwenthal . He comes to the conclusion that the "68ers" were much more similar to their parents - the Nazi -influenced "generation of 1933" - than they wanted to perceive themselves.

As evidence of his thesis, Aly names the anti- bourgeois impetus, the willingness to use violence, anti-Americanism , latent anti-Semitism , and the hiding of criticism of left despots. The 1968 had a "late offshoot" is not the solution of totalitarianism -Problems, but part of the problem. Even with the liberalization of morals and manners the 68 not the triggers, but only beneficiaries of a process had been that already in the 1950s years have started. "It's hard to explain to your own daughters and sons what drove you back then," said Aly, referring to his own biography.

Aly's book on the 1968 political generation sparked a lively discussion of the foundations of the 1968 movement. The historian Norbert Frei explained to Alys comparison between the “Generation of 1933” and the 68ers: “I mean, here someone got carried away to a historiographically completely exaggerated depiction for the sake of the media bang.” The 68er generation got a 33er to the To put aside, in Frei's view, serves “only for provocation, not for historical knowledge”. Rudolf Walther accuses Aly that his equating the 1968 and National Socialist students is a short-circuit due to only certain external similarities. Wolfgang Kraushaar expressed himself in a similar way in his reply to Hitler's children? One answer to Götz Aly .




  • Per Leo: The fool by his own grace. Götz Aly and German History. In: Aesthetics and Communication. Vol. 36 (2005), H. 129/130, pp. 184-194.
  • Wolfgang Schneider (Ed.): "Destruction Policy". A debate about the connection between social policy and genocide in National Socialist Germany. Junius , Hamburg 1991, ISBN 3-88506-187-2 .
  • Aly, Götz. In: Munzinger , Internationales Biographisches Archiv, 43/2003 of October 13, 2003 (sh).
  • Christoph Amend: The dispute . In: Die Zeit , No. 21/2005

For discussion in 2008:

Web links

Commons : Goetz Aly  - collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. Veronica Frenzel: Families in Berlin: The historian Götz Aly is a descendant of the original Turk. In: tagesspiegel.de . August 12, 2014, accessed November 26, 2018 .
  2. Götz Aly: Our fight. 1968 - An irritated look back . exp. Edition Fischer TB, Frankfurt / Main 2009, pp. 25, 138 f.
  3. “At the end of June, when Professor Schwan finally went in, this new wave spilled over to the Otto Suhr Institute. This time it was not just any red cells that were responsible for this, but rather the "pig hunting and learning units" (leaflet text) of the "Basic Study Organization" (GSO) at the Osi - an association of mostly brutal socialist emotional Maoists from the early semesters "; in: Universities: throw it out . In: Der Spiegel . No. 28 , 1971 ( online ). However, the name of the activist group is misrepresented here - it read correctly “basic semester organization”; see: Peter Schneider : Answer to Götz Aly: Tunnel view of the totalitarian. Against the urge to denounce generalization - an answer to Götz Aly's theses about the 68s. In: Frankfurter Rundschau . April 10, 2008, accessed December 27, 2018 .
  4. Götz Aly: Our fight. 1968 - An irritated look back . exp. Edition, Fischer TB, Frankfurt / Main 2009, p. 140.
  5. Götz Aly: Our fight. 1968 - An irritated look back . exp. Edition Fischer TB, Frankfurt / Main 2009, p. 141 f.
  6. a b Tobias Freimüller: The burdened. Murder with accomplices. Götz Aly is re-publishing his research on "euthanasia" under National Socialism. In: zeit.de . March 7, 2013, accessed December 27, 2018 .
  7. Götz Aly: The burdened: "Euthanasia" 1939-1945. A history of society. S. Fischer, Frankfurt / M. 2013, p. 18.
  8. perpetrator biographies. In: learning-from-history.de. Retrieved December 27, 2018 .
  9. Götz Aly, Susanne Heim: Vordenker der Vernichtung. Auschwitz and the German plans for a new European order , Frankfurt am Main 1991.
  10. ^ Board of Trustees of the Jewish Museum Berlin. In: jmberlin.de. Retrieved December 27, 2018 .
  11. Gerhard Lechner, Alexander Dworzak: "The good can cause bad". In: Wiener Zeitung . January 18, 2013, accessed December 27, 2018 (interview).
  12. ^ Bernhard Schulz: Everyday life of disenfranchisement. A comprehensive source edition documents the extermination of European Jews. First volume: Germany 1933–1937. In: tagesspiegel.de . January 25, 2008, accessed December 27, 2018 .
  13. Alan Posener: Colonialism Debate: Götz Aly bursts the collar in the fascism dispute. In: welt.de . September 4, 2009, accessed December 27, 2018 .
  14. David Wroe: Mahatma Gandhi 'was one of Nazis' greatest friends' German historian claims. In: The Daily Telegraph . September 4, 2009, accessed December 27, 2018 .
  15. More than just envy taz September 1st, 2011
  16. Panorama des Schreckens Der Spiegel February 25, 2017
  17. Götz Aly: Our fight. 1968. S. Fischer, Frankfurt a. M. 2008, ISBN 978-3-10-000421-5 - Reading samples: Vorgeblättert - Götz Aly: Our fight. In: Pearl Divers . February 10, 2008, accessed December 27, 2018 .
  18. Jacques Schuster : University Policy: Why Götz Aly is not allowed to become a professor. In: welt.de . March 22, 2011, accessed December 27, 2018 .
  19. Reviews: Götz Aly: Our fight. 1968. In: perlentaucher.de. Retrieved December 27, 2018 .
  20. Ulrike Baureithel: The pride in sin in one's own history. In: Friday . March 20, 2008, accessed on December 27, 2018 (interview with Norbert Frei ).
  21. Rudolf Walther: Escape from empiricism. Remote diagnosis. In: Friday. June 22, 2012, accessed December 27, 2018 .
  22. ^ Wolfgang Kraushaar: Hitler's children? One answer to Götz Aly. In: perlentaucher.de. March 25, 2009. Retrieved December 27, 2018 .
  23. ^ A foundation of the married couple Walther Seinsch . Thereupon Aly researched the namesake of the award and in 2004 published the biography Im Tunnel. The short life of Marion Samuel 1931–1943 .
  24. Götz Aly receives the Estrongo Nachama Prize for Civil Courage and Tolerance 2018. In: meridian-stiftung.de. Meridian Foundation, accessed May 3, 2018 .
  25. "An example of intellectual courage" / Holocaust researcher Götz Aly receives the Geschwister-Scholl-Prize. In: boersenblatt.net. September 20, 2018, accessed December 27, 2018 .
  26. Martin Ebel: Giving euthanasia victims a voice. In: Deutschlandfunk . April 14, 2013, accessed November 6, 2018 (review).
  27. Pieke Biermann : Götz Alys “People without a Center” - The Pattern of Covering Up. In: deutschlandfunkkultur.de. February 20, 2015, accessed December 27, 2018 .
  28. Florian Mildenberger : to Götz Aly: People without a middle. The Germans between fear of freedom and collectivism. In: Specialized prose research - Crossing borders. Volume 10, 2014, pp. 318-324.