Herbert Cysarz

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Herbert Cysarz (born January 29, 1896 in Oderberg , Austria-Hungary , † January 1, 1985 in Munich ) was an Austro-German Germanist . He was also known as a supporter of the Sudeten German "Volkstumskampfes" of the 1920s and 1930s.


Herbert Cysarz was born in the Austrian part of Silesia . From 1908 to 1914 he attended high school in Teschen . Initially, Cysarz was primarily interested in the natural sciences . In 1914 he began studying philosophy , psychology , biology and physics at the University of Vienna .

In 1915, during the First World War , Cysarz became a soldier on the Italian Southwest Front. On September 28, 1916, he was badly wounded and lost his left hand entirely, while the right remained mutilated. This war injury made him unfit for scientific experiments , so that he then turned to German and English .

In 1919 he received his doctorate in philosophy in Vienna . His extended doctoral thesis was published in 1921 under the title Experience and Idea. Problems and ways of life in German literature from Hamann to Hegel . In 1923, Cysarz received the Wilhelm Scherer Prize from the Prussian Academy of Sciences for his dissertation . In 1924 the post-doctoral thesis German Baroque Poetry followed . From autumn 1922, Cysarz held German lectures in Vienna. In 1926 he was appointed associate professor. In 1927, the German called him University in Prague on August Sauers Germanic Chair .

On October 28, 1928, Cysarz gave his inaugural lecture in Prague. He understood his subject, German studies, to be a “fighting science” for “Germanness”, which has been in the minority in Czechoslovakia since 1918 , in the sense of preserving the German language and culture and securing the existence and civil rights of the Sudeten Germans. In 1937 he became chairman of the "Sudeten German Chamber of Culture and Literature".

In 1938, before the Munich Agreement , he moved to the University of Munich . In the same year, the Nazi side Karl Ziegenbein paid tribute to him in 20 Years of Front Fighting German Studies at the Prague German University with the words: "For him [Cysarz] science is rather a national 'nutritional and military service', especially in the Sudeten German emergency and Trutzgemeinschaft. "

In 1940 Cysarz was accepted into the NSDAP , dated back to November 1, 1938. This happened as a result of a kind of "honorary membership" in the Sudeten German party Konrad Henlein , whose members joined the NSDAP on October 1, 1938 after the Sudetenland was annexed to the German Reich were convicted.

In the summer of 1941 Cysarz was to receive a vacant chair for philosophy in Munich. An exponent of the Nazi Lecturer Association brought down the plan by supplying party offices with material that was supposed to prove "favoring Jews and traitors". In earlier books, such as Von Schiller zu Nietzsche (1928) and On the Spiritual History of the World War (1931) (which was attacked as " pacifist ") and even to the last in his lectures, Cysarz had also cited Jewish , left-wing authors who were frowned upon by the Third Reich and appreciated. Winifred Wagner complained to a party office about Cysarz's non-party-compliant assessment by Richard Wagner . The university withdrew the application and no further impeachment was due to Cysarz's war invalidity.

After his Munich apartment was bombed out in 1944, Cysarz saw the end of the war in Mönichkirchen ( Lower Austria ), which came under Soviet occupation. Cysarz became critically ill. Because of these circumstances, proper denazification never took place . Since 1951 he lived in Munich again, in retirement.

Although his university career ended in 1945 due to his political entanglements, he was able to continue his research at the Collegium Carolinum from 1957 to 1985.

Cysarz's extensive work includes individual studies and overall presentations, works on philosophy as well as writings critical of culture and time. He also authored two novels: New Moon (1956) and Arcadia (1967). In 1976 his autobiography Vielfelderwirtschaft was published .

Effect among the Sudeten Germans

In the winter semester 1957/58 he became honorary in the old boys' association of fraternity Thessalia to Prague in Munich and added to a no longer comprehensible time after 1945 also honorary in the AHV the former to Cieszyn resident fraternity Silesia Munich . In 1969 he received the Great Sudeten German Culture Prize. The Sudetendeutsche Zeitung celebrated its national struggle at the German University in Prague on February 2, 1996: "The ten years of teaching at the German University in Prague led Herbert Cysarz to the cultural center and intellectual bastion of the Sudeten German defensive fight against Czech oppression." Scientist Peter Becher paid tribute to his university years in Prague .


In 1922 Cysarz met Friedrich Gundolf , who also introduced him to Stefan George . The friendship with Gundolf lasted until his death in 1931. Gundolf saw in Cysarz the bearer “a marriage of the most concrete and the most universal penetration of the word, the radical demand for art and the insight into total order”.

Cysarz pointed in the foreword to the volume published by him we carry a light , Munich 1934, a collection of poems with "calls and songs of Sudeten German students" to the "world literary greatness of Franz Kafka ". He can thus be considered one of the earliest authors to recognize Kafka's rank.

Awards and honors

Bibliography (selection)

  • Experience and idea. Problems and ways of life in German literature from Hamann to Hegel. Vienna / Leipzig 1921.
  • German baroque poetry. Renaissance, Baroque, Rococo. Leipzig 1924.
  • History of literature as a humanities. Criticism and system. Hall 1926.
  • From Schiller to Nietzsche. Hall 1928.
  • On the intellectual history of the world war. The poetic changes in the German image of war 1910–1930. Hall 1931.
  • Schiller. Hall 1934.
  • Poetry in the struggle for existence. Five lectures. Karlsbad-Leipzig 1935.
  • German baroque in poetry. Leipzig 1936.
  • The immortal. The legalities and the law of history. Hall 1940.
  • Fate / honor / salvation. Three encounters between man and the world law . Weimar 1942.
  • Seven character portraits. Brno-Munich-Vienna 1943.
  • The creative. The natural-historical order of creation in history. Hall 1943.
  • The existing being. Ultimate questions in the humanities and general sciences. Vienna / Zurich 1948.
  • Beyond left and right. Vienna 1949.
  • New moon of the spirit. Three times accusation and defense. Vienna 1950.
  • The fall of modern times - and the rise of whose? Frankfurt 1953.
  • New moon. Roman, Stuttgart 1953.
  • The German national consciousness. Present, history, reorganization. Munich 1961.
  • Prague in German intellectual life. Mannheim / Sandhofen 1961.
  • German intellectual life of the present. Munich 1965.
  • Arcadia . Roman, Bodman / Bodensee 1967.
  • Evidence problems. Sources and modes of human certainty. Berlin 1971.
  • Were the Sudetenland nationality issues solvable? Looks through the 19th and 20th centuries. Munich 1973.
  • Multi-field economy. A work and life report. Bodman / Bodensee 1976 (extended 2nd edition: 1980)


  • Peter Becher : Herbert Cysarz (1896–1985), Germanist. His university years in Prague . In: Monika Glettler, Alena Míšková (eds.): Prager Professoren 1938–1948. Between science and politics . Essen 2001.
  • 25 years of Collegium Carolinum Munich 1956–1981 , Munich 1982 (2nd edition Munich 2002).
  • Helge Dvorak: Biographical Lexicon of the German Burschenschaft. Volume II: Artists. Winter, Heidelberg 2018, ISBN 978-3-8253-6813-5 , pp. 118–119.
  • Rudolf Jahn (Ed.): Borderline case of science: Herbert Cysarz . Frankfurt am Main 1957.
  • Hans-Dietrich Sander (Ed.): Herbert Cysarz: Image and concept. German studies in the humanities field . Künzell 2006, ISBN 3-937807-07-1 .
  • Ivan Stupek: Herbert Cysarz (1896–1985) - the forgotten philosopher. Würzburg medical history reports 21, 2002, pp. 523-532.

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Jump up ↑ Gerhard Kaiser, Border Confusions - Literary Studies in National Socialism , Oldenbourg Akademieverlag, 2008, ISBN 978-3-05-004411-8 , p. 272
  2. Birgit Wägenbaur: Internationales Germanistenlexikon 1800–1950 . 1st edition. tape 3 . Walter de Gruyter, Berlin 2003, ISBN 3-11-015485-4 , p. 356 ( limited preview in Google Book Search).
  3. Herbert Cysarz's member's entry at the Bavarian Academy of Sciences , accessed on January 16, 2017.