Karl Heinz Roth

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Karl Heinz Roth (born May 27, 1942 in Wertheim ) is a German doctor, political publicist and historian . He was best known for his work on the social history of National Socialism .


Roth is the son of a police chief and a seamstress. He graduated from high school in 1961. After obtaining his university entrance qualification, he volunteered for the Bundeswehr and was assigned to the Air Force. Here he experienced how the German armed forces uncritically invoked the Wehrmacht of the Third Reich in their maintenance of tradition . Therefore, Roth refused to take the “ solemn pledge ” - according to Roth his “first conscious political step”. Thereupon he was “transferred” to a medical unit.

This was followed by medical studies in Würzburg and Cologne and participation in the student protest against emergency legislation and the Vietnam War . In the Socialist German Student Union (SDS) he made it to the federal executive board. In addition, he began working as a company paramedic at the Ford factory in Cologne. At that time, numerous left-wing students worked temporarily in a company in order to ally themselves with the working class . In 1967 he continued his studies and his SDS activities in Hamburg . Shortly after the attack on the left student leader Rudi Dutschke , Roth took part in protests against the publisher Axel Springer . During a demonstration on May 1, 1968 , Roth was arrested and released shortly afterwards. The Hamburg judiciary then issued an arrest warrant against him for violating the town hall ban mile. The charges were eventually dropped as part of an announced amnesty by the Brandt government . In 1970, Roth completed his medical studies in Hamburg.

When the PLO was suppressed in the Jordanian Civil War in 1970 , Roth traveled to the Middle East to provide medical aid. He then worked for some time in the Hamburg Harbor Hospital and from 1973 in the Vinzenz Hospital in Cologne.

After the disintegration of the SDS, Roth became involved in the internationalism department of the AStA at the University of Hamburg and in the " Trikont Group " that emerged from it . From a part of this organization, to which Roth also belonged, later emerged the “ Proletarian Front ” and the “Proletarian Front - Group of West German Communists”, which were inspired by the political approach of the Italian operaist group “ Potere operaio ” and together with others Operaist groups brought out the publications We Want Everything and, as a result, autonomy - materials against the factory society. Roth contributed articles to both publications and helped found the autonomy in 1975.

An incident occurred on May 9, 1975, when Roth, again in Germany, got into a police check in Cologne; he was with Werner Sauber , a member of the June 2nd Movement . There was a shootout in which Werner Sauber and the police officer Walter Pauli were killed. Another policeman was shot. Roth himself was critically injured and subsequently charged with murder, and acquitted in 1977.

After his recovery, Roth settled as a doctor in Hamburg. Politically, he approached non-party left movements. At the same time he published books on the social history of National Socialism , in particular on the crimes in the medical field. He also wrote about the past and present of the German labor movement , including the 1974 book Die “Other” labor movement .

From the mid-1980s, Roth began to deal with company history. Together with the publisher Hans Magnus Enzensberger and his Foundation for the Social History of the 20th Century, he published some investigations by OMGUS that this office had carried out against large German companies after the Second World War : Investigations against Deutsche Bank (1985), the Dresdner Bank (1986) and the IG Farben .

In 1986, Roth co-founded the magazine 1999. Magazine for social history of the 20th and 21st centuries , which has been published since 2003 under the title Sozial.Geschichte. Journal for historical analysis of the 20th and 21st centuries appears. Roth works as an editor and author for these. In addition, Roth is still Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Foundation for Social History of the 20th Century, which is responsible for this magazine . In 1986 he received his doctorate as a doctor with a thesis on film propaganda and the extermination of the mentally ill and handicapped in the “Third Reich” . In 1987 Karl Heinz Roth and his Foundation Social History of the 20th Century edited the work Das Daimler-Benz-Buch - an armaments company in the millennium , whose impressive essay The Road to the Good Star of the »Third Reich«: Spotlights on the History of Daimler -Benz AG and its forerunners (1890–1945) from his pen.

In 1992 he put on his dissertation Intelligence and Social Policy in the “Third Reich”. A methodological and historical study the example of the work Scientific Institute of the German Labor Front in History before and was at the University of Bremen Dr. Phil. PhD. His doctoral supervisor was Hans-Josef Steinberg . The work was published in 1993 by Saur-Verlag and was reprinted in 2011.

Also in 1992, together with Angelika Ebbinghaus , Roth published a documentary about the historian Theodor Schieder, who was heavily involved in National Socialist Germany . It was about his previously little-known Polendenkschrift from October 7, 1939. Roth then commented on the history of historical science in the 20th century, in particular on the relationship between historians and National Socialism.

In the year 2000 he published the book Connect, Adjust, Unwind , in which he described the planning of West German government agencies in the event of reunification. For the 5th anniversary advice from Attac Germany in April 2005, Roth gave the closing speech with the title The state of the world and the chances of a credible alternative . He is part of the so-called grassroots movement and at the same time works as a left-wing publicist.

Karl Heinz Roth is on the advisory board of the Internet project Information on German Foreign Policy . He describes the group Wildcat , in whose eponymous magazine he publishes, as his political home. His political approach is still strongly influenced by operaism .

Fonts (selection)

  • with Eckard Kanzow: ignorance as impotence. On the interplay between capital and science. Voltaire Verlag, Berlin 1970.
  • with Nicolaus Neumann and Hajo Leib: GDR invasion target. Psychological warfare. From the Cold War to the New Ostpolitik. Konkret-Buchverlag, Hamburg 1971.
  • The “other” labor movement and the development of capitalist repression from 1880 to the present. A contribution to the new understanding of class history in Germany. With detailed documentation on counter-insurgency, factory security, etc., Trikont-Verlag, Munich 1974, ISBN 3-920385-55-1 .
  • with Angelika Ebbinghaus and Heidrun Kaupen-Haas (eds.): Healing and Destroying in the Model District Hamburg - Population and Health Policy in the Third Reich. Neuer Konkret Verlag, Hamburg 1984, ISBN 3-922144-41-1 .
  • with Götz Aly : Complete coverage. Counting, identifying, sorting out in National Socialism. Rotbuch Verlag, Berlin 1984. (revised new edition Fischer (Tb.), Frankfurt 2000, ISBN 3-596-14767-0 )
  • Film propaganda for the annihilation of the mentally ill and handicapped in the “Third Reich” . In Götz Aly (ed.): Reform and conscience. “Euthanasia” in the service of progress. (= Contributions to National Socialist health and social policy. 2). Further contributions. Karl Friedrich Masuhr , Maria Lehmann, Ulrich Schultz. Rotbuch, Berlin 1989, ISBN 3-88022-951-1 , pp. 125-193. (Additional dissertation med. University of Hamburg 1986)
  • The historical significance of the RAF. In: The old traffic regulations. RAF documents. With contributions by Wolfgang Pohrt , K. Hartung, Gabriele Goettle , Joachim Bruhn , KH Roth, Klaus Bittermann . 1st edition. Edition Tiamat, Berlin 1986, ISBN 3-923118-06-6 , pp. 175-198.
  • The way to the good star of the »Third Reich«: Spotlights on the history of Daimler-Benz AG and its predecessors (1890–1945). In: Foundation for Social History of the 20th Century. Ed .: The Daimler-Benz Book - an armaments company in the “Thousand Year Reich” . Nördlingen 1987, ISBN 3-89190-950-0 .
  • with Michael Schmid (ed.): The Daimler-Benz AG 1916–1948. Key documents in the company's history. Noerdlingen 1987.
  • Human experiments - madness and reality . As ed. With a foreword by Roth. Kölner Volksblatt, Cologne 1988, ISBN 3-923243-30-8 .
  • with Angelina Sörgel , Frieder Otto Wolf , Hermannus Pfeiffer, Klaus Milke and Gisela Rubbert (eds.): Power without control. Reports on the business of Deutsche Bank. Butterfly publishing house, Stuttgart 1990.
  • Intelligence and Social Policy in the “Third Reich”. A methodological-historical study using the example of the Ergonomic Institute of the German Labor Front . Saur, Munich 1993, ISBN 3-11-199988-2 . (again ibid. 2011, ISBN 978-3-11-169050-6 . Additional dissertation phil., History, University of Bremen 1992)
  • On the black ice of the new age - the crisis, the proletariat and the left. In: Res Strehle and others: Crisis - which crisis? Edited by IG Rote Fabrik. 1st edition. Edition ID archive , Berlin / Amsterdam 1995. (online)
  • History revisionism. The rebirth of the totalitarianism theory. KVV Konkret, Hamburg 1999, ISBN 3-930786-20-6 .
  • Connect, align, process. The West German plans for the takeover of the GDR 1952 to 1990. Konkret Literatur Verlag, Hamburg 2000, ISBN 3-930786-27-3 .
  • with Werner Röhr and Brigitte Berlekamp (eds.): The war before the war. Politics and economics of the "peaceful" aggressions of Germany 1938/1939. VSA-Verlag, Hamburg 2001, ISBN 3-87975-837-9 .
  • with Arno Klönne and Karl-Adolf Otto (eds.): Vanishing points. The social memory of the labor movement. VSA-Verlag, Hamburg 2003, ISBN 3-89965-039-5 .
  • with Angelika Ebbinghaus (ed.): Red chapels - Kreisau circles - black chapels. New perspectives on the resistance against the Nazi dictatorship 1938–1945. VSA-Verlag, Hamburg 2004, ISBN 3-89965-087-5 .
  • The social cut: Perspectives from above - counter perspectives from below. In: Engelke, Klein, Wilk (ed.): Social movements in globalized capitalism. Nevertheless publishing house, Frankfurt 2005, ISBN 3-931786-22-6 .
  • Intelligence and the “social question” - from today's perspective. In: Grundrisse.zeitschrift für left theory & debate. No. 18, 2006.
  • Heydrich's professor. Historiography of “Volkstum” and mass extermination: the case of Hans Joachim Beyer. In: Peter Schöttler (Ed.): Historiography as a science of legitimation 1918–1945. Suhrkamp, ​​Frankfurt 1997, ISBN 3-518-28933-0 , pp. 262-342.
  • with Marcel van der Linden (ed.) with collabor. v. Max Henninger: Beyond Marx. Work history and concept of work in the confrontation with the global working conditions of the 21st century . Association A, Berlin 2009, ISBN 978-3-935936-80-4 .
  • The global crisis. Global crisis - global proletarianization - counter-perspectives, VSA-Verlag, Hamburg 2010, ISBN 978-3-89965-363-2 . Review at HSozKult
  • with Jan-Peter Abraham: Reemtsma in the Crimea: Tobacco production and forced labor under German occupation 1941–1944. Edition Nautilus, Hamburg 2011, ISBN 978-3-89401-745-3 .
  • with Zissis Papadimitriou: Avoid the catastrophe. Manifesto for an egalitarian Europe . Edition Nautilus, Hamburg 2013, ISBN 978-3-89401-785-9 .
  • Greece on the precipice. the german reparation debt. a pamphlet. VSA-Verlag, Hamburg 2015, ISBN 978-3-89965-664-0 .
  • with Ulf-Thomas Lesle : National networks: Alfred Toepfer and the foundation company ACT / FVS A research balance sheet. In: Journal of History . Vol. 63, H. 3, 2016, pp. 213-234.
  • with Hartmut Rübner : Reparations Debt - Mortgages of the German Occupation Rule in Greece and Europe. Metropol, Berlin 2017, ISBN 978-3-86331-265-7 . (Collection of articles)
  • Karl Heinz Roth: Alfred C. Toepfer. In: Michael Fahlbusch , Ingo Haar , Alexander Pinwinkler (Hrsg.): Handbuch der Völkischen Wissenschaften. Actors, networks, research programs. 2nd, fundamentally revised and expanded edition. With the collaboration of David Hamann, 2 volumes. Berlin 2017, ISBN 978-3-11-043891-8 , pp. 825-843.


  • Klaus Dethloff (Ed.): A very common murder trial? The political environment of the trial against Roland Otto, Karl-Heinz Roth and Werner Sauber. Rotbuch Verlag, Berlin 1978, ISBN 3-88022-198-7 .
  • Frombeloff (Ed.): ... and the time of autonomy began . Political texts by Karl Heinz Roth. Compiled and provided with introductory texts by Frombeloff, Verlag Libertäre Association, Hamburg 1993, ISBN 3-922611-42-7 . (Contains among other things a political biography of Roth. In addition to the introductory texts and those by Roth, an interview with Roth from 1993 is printed.)
  • Karsten Linne, Thomas Wohlleben (ed.): Patient history. For Karl-Heinz Roth . Zweiausendeins, Frankfurt am Main 1995, ISBN 3-86150-015-9 . (with detailed bibliography and further biographical information). This includes, among other things:
    • Karsten Linne, Thomas Wohlleben: For Karl Heinz Roth. Pp. 11-19.
    • Angelika Ebbinghaus: Between Politics and Science - An Annotated Bibliography. Pp. 21-49.
  • Peter Schöttler : On the Difficulty of Heretical Science. For Karl Heinz Roth, the historian. In: Social.History. Journal of historical analysis of the 20th and 21st centuries. 22, No. 2, 2007, pp. 121-124.
  • Dietmar Lange: Company intervention and internationalism in the early 1970s. Interview with Karl-Heinz Roth. In: Work - Movement - History. Journal of Historical Studies . Metropol Verlag, ISSN  2366-2387 , Issue I, 2016, focus on left-wing company intervention , wildcat strikes and operational politics 1968 to 1988. pp. 100-107.


  • 4 years ago - 2 years ago , with Karl Heinz Roth and Roland Otto, documentary by Wolfgang Höpfner and Norbert Weyer, Federal Republic of Germany 1977, 103 min, 16 mm, b / w
  • Two minutes , with Karl Heinz Roth, documentary by Wolfgang Höpfner, Federal Republic of Germany 1978, 42 min, 16 mm, b / w

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Karsten Linne, Thomas Wohlleben: For Karl Heinz Roth. In: Karsten Linne, Thomas Wohlleben (ed.): Patient history . Zweiausendeins, Frankfurt am Main 1993, ISBN 3-86150-015-9 , p. 11.
  2. ^ Wolfgang Kraushaar : The attack. In: taz of October 10, 2019
  3. Karsten Linne, Thomas Wohlleben: For Karl Heinz Roth. In: Karsten Linne, Thomas Wohlleben (ed.): Patient history. Frankfurt 1993, p. 12ff.
  4. Dietmar Lange : Company intervention and internationalism in the early 1970s. Interview with Karl-Heinz Roth. In: Work - Movement - History. Journal of Historical Studies . Issue I, 2016.
  5. Homepage: 1999. Journal for Social History of the 20th and 21st Century .
  6. https://sozialgeschichte-online.org/ueberuns/ueberuns/ .
  7. In: 1999. Journal for Social History of the 20th and 21st Century 7, 1992, Issue 1, pp. 62–94.
  8. ^ Karl Heinz Roth: Historical revisionism. The rebirth of the totalitarianism theory . KVV Konkret, Hamburg 1999, ISBN 3-930786-20-6 . See also Karl Heinz Roth: The Elser Problem: The Misery of Historiography on the Anti-Nazi Resistance in the Cold War era and its effects on the paradigm shift of the 1990s. In: Achim Rogoss, Eike Hemmer, Edgar Zimmer (eds.): Georg Elser. An assassin as a role model. Edition Temmen, Bremen 2006, ISBN 3-86108-871-1 , pp. 72-85.
  9. ^ Karl Heinz Roth: The state of the world and the chances of a renewed socialist alternative . Speech in the Attac newsletter Sand in the gears. No. 44, June 2005, ( PDF ; 140 kB). See the extended version Karl Heinz Roth: The State of the World. Counter perspectives. VSA-Verlag, 2005, ISBN 3-89965-138-3 .
  10. Wildcat No. 83, Spring 2009, Contents .
  11. 4 years ago - 2 years ago , dffb archive
  12. Two protocols , dffb archive