Karl Hummel (botanist)

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Karl Hummel (born April 25, 1902 in Weiler ; † December 28, 1987 ibid) was a German pharmaceutical botanist as well as an oriental philologist and pharmacist .


Youth and education

Karl Hummel attended the Benedictine monastery high school near St. Stephan in Augsburg from 1912 to 1921 . After graduating from high school, he studied Indo-European linguistics, in particular Indology and Sanskrit with Wilhelm Geiger at the Ludwig Maximilians University in Munich, where he received his doctorate in oriental philology in 1925 .

The subsequent planned trip to the Orient did not take place for the time being and Karl Hummel worked as an intern in his parents' pharmacy while waiting. On this occasion he discovered his inclination for botany and dealt with the collection and identification of the various native medicinal plants . His first herbarium was created. He completed the training phase in 1927 with the “pharmaceutical pre- examination ” to become a pharmacist's assistant . He did his second year as a pharmacist as an assistant in a pharmacy in Rottenburg am Neckar . At the same time he was already working at the botanical institute of the University of Tübingen and in the university library.

With the aim of oriental studies still in the foreground, he studied botany for one semester in Tübingen in 1928 and Persian with Enno Littmann . In order not to give up the pharmacy that has been in the family for two generations, he switched to studying pharmacy and graduated in 1933 with his license to practice medicine . P. 146 In the difficult economic situation of that time, he worked for two years in the Weiler pharmacy. Then he took up the study of botany with the main focus on Iranian flora in Tübingen. P. 526 In 1935 he received an assistant position at the Botanical Institute with Walter Zimmermann and married Eugenie Haslach from his hometown.

War years

During the war years, Karl Hummel took over the chair for Walter Zimmermann, gave lectures in pharmacognosy (science of comparative plant anatomy) and received his doctorate in natural sciences in 1943 .

The war events, which were becoming more and more threatening for the capital Berlin, in particular the British air raids on Berlin in late autumn 1943 and finally the Russian troops advancing on Berlin in January 1945, prompted the National Socialist government, war-important companies, secret projects and university institutes in the area between the Neckar and the Upper Danube ( today's Zollernalbkreis south of Tübingen). This is how the Deutsche Hollerith-Maschinen Gesellschaft, affiliated with IBM, and parts of the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute for Physics, as well as the so-called uranium project, came to Hechingen . The Kaiser Wilhelm Institute for Chemistry under Otto Hahn , Erich Bagge and Carl Friedrich von Weizsäcker moved to Tailfingen at the same time as that for Physics , where Paul Harteck , Walther Gerlach , Horst Korsching and Max von Laue were also at the end of the war . The Kaiser Wilhelm Institute for Biology, which was also relocated to Hechingen in 1944 under Max Hartmann , Fritz von Wettstein and Emmy Stein , went to Tübingen in 1952. Physicists such as Werner Heisenberg and Karl Wirtz , who initially carried out research in the bunker in Berlin for the uranium project , also came to the Hechingen laboratory in January 1945 after their research reactor had been brought to Haigerloch via Stadtilm in Thuringia and set up in a rock cellar. This gave the doctoral student and Tübingen university assistant Hummel exceptional opportunities for encounters and discussions with this elite of scientists in the immediate vicinity, which gave him important ideas for the Lindich talks that were initiated later .

As a non-party member and devout Catholic, Karl Hummel was unable to pursue a further academic career during the Nazi era. P. 146

Tubingen - Hechingen

When the university ceased operations at the end of the war in April 1945, Karl and Eugenie Hummel moved with their four children from Tübingen to the West Allgäu and, after the death of their father Max Hummel, moved to their parents' pharmacy in Weiler in 1947. When the University of Tübingen reopened in October 1945, Karl Hummel was part of the "first hour". In his anecdotal description of the journey to Tübingen, Hartmann alludes to the scientist's human behavior and way of thinking: Karl Hummel set out on the bike, depending on the time and economic circumstances, which he, however, took with his luggage during a visit to church in Riedlingen - including his valuable habilitation thesis - was stolen. However, he did not give up, but continued on foot and on milk carts. He consoled himself over the loss of documents with the idea that God had wanted to give him the opportunity to write a new, better habilitation thesis . With this he received in 1946 the university teaching qualification for the subject pharmacognosy and the appointment as a lecturer at the University of Tübingen. P. 146

In 1947 Karl Hummel received an additional task from the Allied Control Council . Together with the later General Director Helmut Cimbal, he was appointed trustee of the Deutsche Hollerith-Maschinen Gesellschaft mbH (DEHOMAG) , which was relocated to the Zollernalb district during the war (renamed IBM (headquarters in Sindelfingen) in 1949 ).

Lindich Castle near Hechingen

With the support of the state and members of the teaching staff at the university, Karl Hummel gave way in 1946/1947 to the cramped conditions in the botanical institute of the University of Tübingen on p. 146 and set up the university - independent Fürstin-Eugénie -Institute for medicinal plant research of the Society for Natural Science and Technology at Lindich Castle near Hechingen Christian education e. V. a, p. 153 which was under his direction until 1976.

This institute served as a research facility for doctoral students and offered humanities and natural scientists a meeting place for scientific discussion and advanced training (so-called Lindich talks ). A large medicinal plant garden as well as several pharmacognostic and scientific history collections of thousands of dried plants provided the framework for this. P. 527

Karl Hummel ended his teaching activity in Tübingen in 1968, but continued his scientific work at the Botanical Institute until his death.


Karl Hummel was also active in his second area of ​​interest and knowledge, Oriental Studies, and promoted relations between the Orient and Europe. His support for Iranian students resulted in a cooperation order for the establishment of the medical faculty at the new Medical School Gundischapur ( Ahvaz Jundishapur University of Medical Sciences ) in Ahwas , Chuzestan Province in southern Iran, whereupon a visiting professorship for botany (in Persian language) for 1960/1961 followed. P. 153

At the Tabriz University of Medical Sciences in Tabriz , East Azerbaijan Province in Northern Iran, Hummel organized a seminar with the aim of developing a Persian nomenclature for plants. In 1975, Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi awarded him the Commander's Cross of the Himayoun Order in recognition of his services to German-Iranian cooperation . The award was presented to him by the then Persian ambassador at Lindich Castle and at the same time invited him to be a visiting professor at the Pharmaceutical Faculty of Tehran University for the 1975/1976 academic year . In the following period, 1976/1977, Hummel founded a laboratory for the identification and nomenclature of Iranian plants at the same faculty.

The Iranian revolution ended the lectures, but the contact with the Iranian students did not break off. P. 527 In the year of his retirement (1968) he founded together with Prof. Dr. Mahmud Kuros founded the German-Iranian Society in Bonn.

Villa Hummel


The pharmacist Josef Abler from Tettnang opened the first pharmacy in Weiler in 1807 in the building of today's Raiffeisenbank. Apotheker Sprenger took it over in 1842 and moved it to Hauptstrasse 42.

Karl Hummel's grandfather, the pharmacist Ignaz Hummel from Legau , acquired the pharmacy and building (later called "Villa Hummel") in 1862 and ran it until his untimely death in 1882. His son Max Hummel was still studying pharmacy in Munich at that time. After his exams he managed the pharmacy and finally acquired it in 1893. In 1886 he opened the so-called “Hummel branch” in Lindenberg at Hauptstrasse 69, today's “Cafe Herberger” and ran it under the management of an administrator until 1904, as Lindenberg got its own independent pharmacy.

After the death of his father Max in 1947, Karl Hummel, who worked in Tübingen but lived in Weiler, had the pharmacy run by an administrator. When Hummel ended his teaching activities in Tübingen in 1968, but continued his scientific work at the Botanical Institute, he handed the pharmacy over to his son Norbert. Norbert Hummel also built his own pharmaceutical production and ran the pharmacy until his death in 1982. In 1968, the Hummels moved the pharmacy from the family villa to the former "Heim Kaufhaus" in Fridolin-Holzer-Straße 13 and in 1977 moved to the new savings bank building Relocated at the corner of Hauptstrasse and Bahnhofstrasse, where it is still located today.

Local engagements

Despite his later university career, Karl Hummel always lived in Weiler and was connected to the place in many ways. He campaigned for the preservation of the natural local environment and worked from 1953 to 1967 as the district's nature conservation officer. In 1979/1980 he created a herbal collection for the public on the ground floor of the Heim-Haus with exhibits of native plants, display boards and explanatory texts.

Karl Hummel also supported measures to save and expand the natural, cultural and urban features of his hometown. In 1985 he was awarded the Bavarian State Ministry's environmental medal for his services .

Family tribe list

  1. Ignaz Hummel († 1882) from Legau, bought the pharmacy in 1842.
    1. Max Hummel († 1947) ⚭ Philomena b. Wachter (1868–1949), a sister of the three cheese dairy owners Johann-Baptist, Heinrich and Karl Wachter from Ellhofen, who had been a pharmacist in Weiler since 1882, bought the pharmacy in 1893
      1. Karl Hummel (* 1902 in Weiler; † 1987 ibid) ⚭ 1935 Eugenie b. Haslach (1906–2000), pharmaceutical botanist, oriental philologist and pharmacist in Weiler
        1. Edith Weber b. Hummel (* 1936)
        2. Bernhard Hummel (* 1938)
        3. Norbert Hummel (1940–1982), 1968–1982 pharmacist in Weiler
        4. Brigitte Hummel (1942–1987), social worker


The University Archives of Tübingen are keeping the scholarly estate of Prof. Hummels from the years 1947 to 1987 and records with a volume of 57 numbers, 1.5 running meters:

  • Scientific manuscripts and excerpts (54 numbers, around 1947–1987)
  • Correspondence A – Z (1950–1955, 1974–1985)
  • Correspondence with Iran, India etc. (1 No., 1966–1980).
  • Biographical materials, bibliography (2 nos.).


  • The relative chronology of the ancient prose Upanishads. Dissertation (Indology). 1925.
  • The determination of cut drugs in tec mixes . Tables with explanations for use in teaching and practice. G. Fischer publishing house, 1937.
  • The vegetation rhythm of some species and races of anemone subg. Pulsatilla. Dissertation (botany). 1943.
  • The periodicity of flower development in early spring flowers. Habilitation thesis. 1946.
  • Origin and history of herbal drugs. Scientific publishing company, Stuttgart 1957.
  • Johannes Cornelis Theodorus Uphof, Karl Hummel, Karin Staesche: Plant hairs. In: Handbook of Plant Anatomy. Verlag Gebrüder Borntraeger, 1962, ISBN 3-443-14015-7 . (Original digitized by the University of Michigan on June 1, 2006.)
    • Anatomy of the leaf - Leaf anatomy of angiosperms - Developmental and topographical anatomy of the angiosperm leaf.
    • The distribution of the hair types in the natural kin groups.
  • Ulrich Weber, Karl Hummel: Cut drugs - a help book for teaching and practice. , Gustav Fischer Verlag, Stuttgart 1965.
  • Spiritual cooperation in the training of Iranians in Germany for Iran: Lectures of the Lindich seminar. Seminar from 23.-24. July 1971, Volume 2, Seminar (Lindich). 1972.
  • Spiritual cooperation in the training of Iranians in Germany for Iran. 2nd episode. 1972. (Seminar from July 23-24, 1972)
  • With Dorothea Kümmerer: Beauties of plants - at the same time an introduction to the botanical collection in the Heim-Haus in Weiler. Felix Wankel Foundation, 1975.
  • Karl Hummel, Klaus Dobat, Franz Oberwinkler: The collections of the department for special botany of the University of Tübingen. Department of Special Botany, Tübingen 1977.
  • Spiritual cooperation - Lectures of the Lindich seminar on the training of Iranians in Germany for Iran. Seminar April 30, 1977, Volume 7, 1977.


Web links

Individual evidence

  1. a b c d e f g h Karl M. Hartmann: Respectful memory of Karl Hummel. Article in the local supplement April / May 2013 of the daily newspaper "Der Westallgäuer".
  2. a b c d see literature Armin Hermann and Armin Wankmüller: Physics, physiological chemistry and pharmacy at the University of Tübingen
  3. a b c d see literature Roswitha Ennemoser: Karl Hummel in the home book Weiler im Allgäu
  4. see also the corresponding detailed information in the chapters Hechingen # National Socialism and Uranium Project # Relocation of research to southern Germany ff.
  5. ^ IBM company history, section 1940s
  6. a b see literature Deutsche Apotheker-Biographie: Karl Hummel
  7. see the illustrated documentation about contacts to the Hummel family from 1963 in Tübingen by the German-Iranian Ferry Marwi
  8. see Academy of Gundischapur , the intellectual center of the Sassanid Empire
  9. see article of the same name in the English language Wikipedia
  10. a b c see web link Rosmarie Kimpfler: 200 years of pharmacy in Weiler
  11. Inventory overview of the Tübingen University Archives
  12. Under the GND 141541849 the works of the geologist Karl Hummel GND 117062332 were mixed in, so that of the eight books listed only one (The determination of cut drugs in tea mixtures) comes from the relevant pharmaceutical biologist and the rest can be assigned to the geologist Karl Hummel.