Jürgen Rohwer

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Jürgen Rohwer, military historian and former director of the library for contemporary history (photo from 2004)

Jürgen Rohwer (born May 24, 1924 in Friedrichroda ; † July 24, 2015 in Weinstadt ) was a German librarian and military historian who dealt in particular with naval warfare in World War II and after. He was director of the library for contemporary history in Stuttgart for thirty years , and from the 1970s he was also an honorary professor at the University of Stuttgart . Rohwer was married and the father of two sons.

Live and act

Rohwer was born in 1924 in the state of Thuringia as the son of a practicing doctor and his wife. From 1934 to 1942 he attended the learned school of the Johanneum in Hamburg and after graduating from high school in 1942 he joined the Navy as an officer candidate ( Crew VI / 42) . He served on the destroyer Z 24 , the barrier breaker 104 and the minesweeper M 502 . At the end of the Second World War he was released as a lieutenant in the internment room in Dithmarschen .

Although initially enrolled at the University of Hamburg , he earned his living as a construction worker from 1945 to 1947. In 1948 he continued his studies in history, geography and constitutional law. During this time he lived with the parents of Peter Tamm , with whom he would cultivate a close friendship afterwards. Under the leadership of the frigate captain a. D. Günter Hessler Rohwer worked on behalf of the British Admiralty and the US Navy Department (Ministry of Navy) in the drafting of The Submarine War in the Atlantic 1939-1945 . The work was completed in 1949. Rohwer received his doctorate in philosophy from 1937 to 1941 with Egmont Zechlin at the Philosophical Faculty with his dissertation The German-American Relationship .

From 1954 to 1959 he was managing director of the working group for defense research , of which he was a member until 1991. From 1958 he was chief editor of the Marine-Rundschau , which he remained until 1986. From 1959 he was director of the library for contemporary history in Stuttgart, which under his leadership developed into an important institution with international recognition. On the initiative and with the financial support of the German Research Foundation (DFG), a large collection of materials from the new social movements was built up from 1972 . He retired in 1989, after which he was chairman of the board of trustees. Since 1971 Rohwer was honorary professor for history at the University of Stuttgart .

Already after the war, Rohwer made contact with the Naval Historical Team (NHT) in Bremerhaven via the submarine comradeship in Kiel and the Marinemesse Hamburg , and later also with the equivalent in Brunsbüttel . Rohwer participated in research into the role of the Enigma in World War II, particularly in the submarine war . In connection with the congress “The murder of the European Jews” organized in May 1984 by the University of Stuttgart and the library for contemporary history, he also gave the anthology The murder of the Jews in World War II with Eberhard Jäckel . Decision making and realization out, which contains the most important contributions to discussions and lectures. He also published the memoirs of Karl Dönitz , Ten Years and Twenty Days , which he commented on and explained together with Hans Meckel, the former commander of U 19 and assistant to Otto Kranzbühler in the Nuremberg Trial . In 1966 Rohwer published the monograph on the Soviet fleet in World War II by Nikolai Alexejewitsch Piterskij.

As part of the research on ship losses in the Black Sea during the Second World War , articles were made about the sinking of the Jewish refugee transporters Struma and Mefkure , which, in an academic exchange with the Bulgarian military historian Assen Koschucharow from the Varna Naval Academy, led to the creation of more detailed monographs and magazine articles.

From 1985 to 1991 he was chairman of the Committee of the Federal Republic of Germany for the History of the Second World War and from 1985 to 1991 Vice-President of the International Commission for Military History . In 1993 he was a founding member and until 1999 chairman of the working group on the history of the intelligence services and the International Intelligence History Association (IIHA). Then he became honorary president. From 1975 he was also a member of the US Naval Institute (USNI) in Annapolis , Maryland and from 1977 of the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) in London.

In 2004, on the occasion of his 80th birthday, the German Society for Shipping and Marine History (DGSM) organized a celebratory colloquium in the rooms of the Württemberg State Library in Stuttgart , and at the same time published a commemorative publication.


Fonts (selection)

  • Editor: Maritime Power Today, contributions from leading American and German experts. With a foreword from General Heusinger . Oldenburg, Stalling, 1957
  • with Hans-Adolf Jacobsen (editor, on behalf of the Working Group for Defense Research): decisive battles of the Second World War , Frankfurt am Main, Verlag für Wehrwesen Bernard and Graefe, 1960 (English edition Putnam 1965, with foreword by Cyril Falls)
  • Editor: Submarines. A chronicle in pictures. Oldenburg, Stalling, 1962.
  • The library for contemporary history and its tasks in historical research . In: Ewald Lissberger (ed.): In libro humanitas. Festschrift for Wilhelm Hoffmann on his 60th birthday, April 21, 1961 , Stuttgart: Klett 1962, pp. 112-138.
  • Sinking of the Jewish refugee transporters Struma and Mefkure in the Black Sea (February 1942, August 1944) - historical investigation , Bernard and Graefe Verlag für Wehrwesen, 1965
  • 66 days under water. Nuclear submarines and missiles . Oldenburg, Stalling 1964
  • with Gerhard Hümmelchen : Chronik des Seekrieges 1939-1945 , (edited by the working group for military research and the library for contemporary history) Stalling: Oldenburg 1968, English editions: London 1972/74, 1992, 2005
  • Submarine successes of the Axis powers 1939–1945 Ed. Library for Contemporary History. JF Lehmann , Munich 1968 (English editions 1983 & 1999, Russian edition 2004)
  • Editor of the completely revised and expanded German version by Elmer B. Potter, Chester W. Nimitz : Seemacht. A history of naval warfare from antiquity to the present , Bernard & Graefe: Munich 1974
  • Superpower Confrontation on the Seas: Naval Strategy since 1945 , Beverly Hills, Sage Publications 1975
  • Convoy battles in March 1943 , 1975 (English edition: The critical convoy battles of March 1943: the battle for HX.229 / SC122, Annapolis, Naval Institute Press 1977, London, Allan 1977)
  • with Claude Huan: La marine sovietique , Paris 1978
  • with Eberhard Jäckel (editor): radio reconnaissance and its role in World War II , Stuttgart, Motorbuch-Verlag 1979 (international conference in Bonn-Bad Godeberg and Stuttgart November 15-18, 1978); Lecture on this as PDF; 7.4 MB , accessed September 14, 2017
  • with Eberhard Jäckel (editor): The turn of the war in December 1941 , Bernard and Graefe 1984
  • with Eberhard Jäckel (editor): The murder of the Jews in World War II - decision making and realization , DVA, Stuttgart 1985, Fischer TB 1987
  • Troubled world. Causes of conflict and war since 1945 , Bernard & Graefe, Koblenz 1989, ISBN 3-7637-5869-0 .
  • Publisher: Armaments race at sea 1930–1941 (on behalf of the International Commission for Military History and the Library for Contemporary History), Bernard and Graefe, Munich 1991
  • with Marlene Hiller, Eberhard Jäckel (editor): Cities in World War II - an international comparison , plain text: Essen 1991
  • Editor: Enemy Images and Military Strategies since 1945 (Conference of the Working Group for Defense Research, Bonn / Bad Godesberg 1990), Edition Temmen: Bremen 1992
  • The War at Sea 1939-1945 , Urbes: Graefelfing vor München, 1992 (English edition: War at Sea , Naval Institute: Annapolis 1996)
  • Allied Submarine Attacks of World War II , Greenhill: London 1997 (Licensed by Bernard and Graefe: Munich 1997)
  • with Mikhail S. Monakov: Stalin's Ocean-Going Fleet: Soviet naval strategy and ship building programs 1935-1953 , Cass: London 2001
  • 53 years ago. The first HiTaTa. Motives, backgrounds and experiences In: Jens Graul, Dieter Hartwig (Hrsg.): From the historians for the fleet. The 50th Historic-Tactical Conference of the Fleet (= Small series of publications on military and naval history . Vol. 21). Winkler, Bochum 2010, ISBN 978-3-89911-151-4 .


Web links

Individual evidence

  1. a b c d e f g h i j k Jan Heitmann : Prof. Dr. Jürgen Rohwer on his 80th birthday . In: Schiff & Zeit / Panorama maritim 59 (2004), p. 44 f.
  2. Dieter Hartwig: Grand Admiral Karl Dönitz Legend and Reality. Schöningh, Paderborn (inter alia) 2010, ISBN 978-3-506-77027-1 , p. 340.
  3. Brief history of the Marine-Rundschau up to Rohwer's resignation as editor
  4. formerly "Documentation Center for Unconventional Literature" ( Memento from September 22, 2015 in the Internet Archive )
  5. Oldenburg: G. Stalling, 581 pp.
  6. ^ Jürgen Rohwer: The sinking of the Jewish refugee transporters Struma and Mefkure in the Black Sea (February 1942, August 1944); historical investigation. Bernard & Graefe Verlag für Wehrwesen, Frankfurt / Main 1965 ( worldcat.org [accessed on August 21, 2019]).
  7. Koschucharow, Assen N .: The newly published directories of the German professor Jürgen Rohwer and the Bulgarian losses in the maritime communication during the Second World War ( Bulgarian Новоизлезлите справочници на немския професор Юрген Ровер и българските загуби по морските комуникации през Втората световна война ). // Military Journal, No. 6, 2000, pp. 163-166.
  8. Koschucharow, Assen N .: Professor Jürgen Rohwer (1924-2015), in: Historical overview ( Bulgarian Исторически преглед ). 2016. Т. 72. № 3-4. С. 170-171.
  9. www.usni.org
  10. ^ Naval history - naval warfare - radio reconnaissance. Festschrift for Jürgen Rohwer , see literature