John Paul (historian)

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Johannes Paul 1973 in Kiel

Johannes Paul (born May 12, 1891 in Leipzig ; † May 31, 1990 in Hamburg ) was a German historian . He was a professor at the University of Greifswald , the Herder Institute in Riga and at the Department of History at the University of Hamburg . His main field of work was Nordic history .


Johannes Paul was born in Leipzig in 1891, where his father Karl Friedrich Paul was a judge at the Imperial Court . He attended the Heilig-Kreuz-Gymnasium in Dresden and the Thomasschule in Leipzig and then studied at the University of Munich , the University of Uppsala , the University of Edinburgh and the University of Leipzig . During his studies he became a member of the Association of German Students in Leipzig . In Leipzig he was in 1914 with a dissertation on Lübeck and the Vasa in the 16th century to Dr. phil. PhD.

In the First World War he served as a war volunteer from 1914, was seriously wounded near Verdun in 1916 and then appointed as an adjutant to the German military representative in Sweden. In 1916 he was awarded the Knight's Cross 2nd Class of the Saxon Order of Albrecht . From 1919 to 1921 he worked in Sweden as a teacher and translator.

In 1921 he completed his habilitation at the University of Greifswald for Medieval and Modern History with a habilitation thesis on Engelbrecht Engelbrechtsson and his fight against the Kalmar Union . In the same year he became an assistant at the Nordic Institute at the University of Greifswald. In 1928 he was an unscheduled associate. Professor at the Nordic Institute. For his work for German-Swedish relations, he was awarded the Swedish North Star Order in 1929 . In 1930 he moved to Riga, where he became full professor at the Herder Institute in Riga , a German-speaking university. In 1932 he received an honorary doctorate from the Theological Faculty of the University of Greifswald. In 1933 he went back to Greifswald, where he became director of the Swedish Institute . The Swedish Institute was re-established in 1933 when the previous Nordic Institute was reorganized into four independent national institutes under the umbrella of the Nordic Foreign Institutes . There he was one of Sven Hedin's main German contacts in the Third Reich , as the mutual correspondence in Riksarkivet in Stockholm shows. In 1935 he was a scheduled associate in Greifswald. Professor of Middle and Modern History. He also dealt with the history of Pomerania ; From 1937 to 1939 he published the series “Pomerania once and now” together with his colleague Adolf Hofmeister from Greifswald .

Paul joined the SA in 1933 and the NSDAP in 1938 . In World War II he served 1941-1944 in the Armed Forces, specifically with the Department Helsinki the Office defenses . After leaving the Wehrmacht, he worked for a time on the Swedish program of the Reich broadcaster Königsberg . He was captured by the Soviets on May 5, 1945, convicted as a spy in Moscow in 1946 and detained in Siberia until 1955. Not until 1955 did he return to Germany as a late returnee , where he received a professorship at the University of Hamburg , was soon retired , but also initially held lectures on Nordic history as an emeritus.

He was involved in the Pomeranian Landsmannschaft , in 1957 became chairman of its cultural advisory board, in 1963 editor of the magazine Unser Pommern and in 1965 co-editor of the magazine Mare Balticum . In 1973 he was awarded the Pomeranian Culture Prize.

Johannes Paul died in Hamburg on May 31, 1990 at the age of 100.

In an obituary, the historian Ludwig Biewer paid tribute to Paul's "sense of duty and responsibility, striving for truth, a sense of justice and a deep love of the country". In contrast, in a commemorative publication in the GDR in 1982, Paul's work as a university lecturer in Greifswald was described as that of an “active fascist”.


  • Lübeck and the Vasa in the 16th century. In: Publications on the history of the Free and Hanseatic City of Lübeck. Volume 5, 1920. (Dissertation)
  • Engelbrecht Engelbrechtson and his fight against the Kalmar Union. Nordic Studies, Volume 1. Greifswald 1921. (Habilitation thesis)
  • Swedish politics in the world war. Announcements from the Nordic Institute of the University of Greifswald, No. 3. Ratsbuchhandlung L. Bamberg, Greifswald 1921.
  • Nordic history. Wroclaw 1925.
  • Gustav Adolf. 3 volumes. Quelle & Meyer, Leipzig 1927–1932.
  • Europe in the Baltic region. Musterschmidt, Göttingen 1961.
  • Gustav Adolf. Christian and hero. Musterschmidt, Göttingen 1964.
  • Ernst Moritz Arndt. It should be the whole of Germany. Musterschmidt, Göttingen 1971.


Web links


  1. Louis Lange (Ed.): Kyffhäuser Association of German Student Associations. Address book 1931. Berlin 1931, p. 167.
  2. ^ A b Adolf Hofmeister : From the history of the historical institute. In: Festschrift for the 500th anniversary of the University of Greifswald. Volume 2. Greifswald 1956, p. 108.
  3. ^ A b Leopold Magon : The history of the Nordic studies and the foundation of the Nordic Institute. In: Festschrift for the 500th anniversary of the University of Greifswald. Volume 2. Greifswald 1956, p. 267.
  4. Ludwig Biewer: In Memoriam Johannes Paul. In: Baltic Studies . Volume 76 NF, 1990, ISSN  0067-3099 , p. 159.
  5. Helmut Heiber: University under the swastika. Part 1. The professor in the Third Reich , KG Saur, Munich, London, New York, Paris 1991, ISBN 3-598-22629-2 , p. 365 and p. 578 with reference to the University of Greifswald 525 years , Berlin 1982 , P. 44.