Institute for Archival Science (Potsdam)

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The Institute for Archival Science in Potsdam was in 1950 the central training center for scientific archivists in the German Democratic Republic. The institute was initially part of the German Central Archives in Potsdam. With the ordinance for the reorganization of higher education and technical schools in the GDR in 1958 it was instructed that the Institute for Archival Science should be attached to the Humboldt University in Berlin. The training of scientific archivists took place after the reorganization and reorganization of the archival science department within the history section at the Humboldt University of Berlin, which was formed with the 3rd university reform .

With the end of the GDR, the end of the university archivist training was heralded and in 1992 the matriculation freeze for new graduates was imposed and finally in 1996 the field of archival science under the professorship of Botho Brachmann was completely wound up.

The resulting gap in the academic training of archivists cannot be closed in terms of form and scope across Germany to this day.


The educational institution, which was newly founded in 1950, continued the tradition of the Prussian Institute for Archival Studies and Historical Studies, which had existed until the end of the war in 1945. Heinrich Otto Meisner took over the management of the institute (initially part-time, from 1952 full-time, 1953 appointment as professor at the Humboldt University).

According to the statutes of the Institute for Archival Science of September 9, 1950, only candidates with a university history degree or university degrees in historical geography, law, economics or German studies were initially admitted. A doctorate was desired, but not a condition for admission. Later, the archivists trained at the technical college for archives in Potsdam were also admitted to the higher service.

The archival studies course lasted two years with a final state examination.

From 1950 to 1958 the institute was subordinate to the Ministry of the Interior of the GDR in Berlin and then to the Philosophical Faculty of the Humboldt University in Berlin.

In 1967, a five-year university archivist training was offered at this faculty for the first time. As a result, the archival science area of ​​the history section was created and the former institute in Potsdam was dissolved. In the GDR, the course was offered in direct study but also in distance learning with fixed attendance dates.

Well-known graduates of the institute or the archival science department (selection)

Technical School for Archives Potsdam

Between 1953 and 1955, the "Franz Mehring" technical school for archiving was established in Potsdam for the training of the upscale archive service in the GDR and existed at the Menzelstrasse site until it was closed in 1992. In this facility, the archivists were trained in direct or distance learning over a 3-year study period. Each year around 25 students from Germany and abroad were able to complete their archival training in direct studies. In addition, up to 25 students completed a distance learning course in Potsdam each year. The prerequisite was the high school diploma or a successful completion of the vocational training as an archive assistant with very good results. In individual cases, lateral entrants with professional training and practical experience were admitted to the course. The professional training to become an archive assistant (today middle service, FaMI archive ) also took place in Potsdam. The Potsdam / Berlin location thus developed into a central training location for archive staff and archivists of different qualification levels in the GDR. The diverse archival landscape in Potsdam and Berlin allowed theory and practice to be closely linked.

Upon successful completion of the technical college studies at the time, a scientific degree at the Humboldt University Berlin was possible in direct or distance learning. The permeability of the training paths was thus given.

More detailed information on the technical school can be viewed in the Federal Archives. The information sciences department of today's Potsdam University of Applied Sciences can be regarded as the successor institution .


  • Andrea Buse: Training as archivist in the GDR 1949–1990 . In: Forum , Issue 12: 50 Years of the Marburg Archive School , Marburg 1999.

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. ^ VO on the further socialist reorganization of higher education and technical schools in the GDR from February 13, 1958, Journal of Laws of I., p. 175
  2. The FH blog on long-distance training at:
  3. Technical school for archives