Lutz Niethammer

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Lutz Niethammer (born December 26, 1939 in Stuttgart ) is a German historian and university professor . It deals in particular with German post-war history and oral history , a method of historical research, by interviewing of witnesses tried the traditional oral, subjective view of history of a given population or specific environment (as opposed to political actors to reconstruct).


Niethammer studied history , Protestant theology and social sciences in Heidelberg , Bonn , Cologne and Munich a . a. with Hans Mommsen . He received his doctorate in 1971, the supervisor was Werner Conze . Niethammer is married to the Bochum historian and university professor Regina Schulte .

After chairs in Essen , at the Open University in Hagen and a position as founding director of the Institute for Cultural Studies in Essen, he was appointed to the Chair of Modern and Contemporary History at the University of Jena in 1993 . Guest stays took Niethammer to St Antony's College in Oxford (1972/73), to the Maison des Sciences de l'Homme in Paris (1978/79), to the Academy of Sciences of the GDR in East Berlin (1986/87) , to the Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin (1987/88), to the University of Basel (1988/89), to the European University Institute in Florence (1988/89) and to the University of Vienna (2008/09). Lutz Niethammer retired in 2005. Niethammer's successor at the Jena chair was Norbert Frei . Niethammer was an advisor to the federal government on the issue of compensation for forced laborers . Ulrich Herbert , Detlev Peukert and Dirk van Laak are among his students .

Lutz Niethammer has been a Foreign Honorary Member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences since 2003 . He is the recipient of the Bochum Historian Prize . He is a member of the Scientific Advisory Board of the Institute for Diaspora and Genocide Studies at the Ruhr University Bochum (since 1998), the Board of Trustees of the Buchenwald Memorial (since 1993), and the Scientific Advisory Board of the Ettersberg Foundation for comparative research on European dictatorships and their overcoming in Weimar (since 2002) and the scientific advisory board of the foundation “Remembrance, Responsibility and Future” (since 2004). Niethammer is also a liaison professor at the Hans Böckler Foundation (since 1978).

Niethammer is considered a pioneer of oral history in Germany. The first volume of his study Life History and Social Culture in the Ruhr Area 1930–1960: Volume 1, Experiences of Fascism in the Ruhr Area, is considered a German-language pioneering work . From 1980 to 1994 he was the German representative of the Oral History Association, from 1990 to 1992 also its chairman. He is on the editorial board of BIOS magazine .




  • (with Bodo Hombach , Tilman Fichter , Ulrich Borsdorf ) "People don't make their story of their own free will, but they make it themselves." Dietz, Berlin 1984 ISBN 3898616622
  • "You don't know the years where to put them today". Experiences of fascism in the Ruhr area. Dietz , Bonn 1983 (= life story and social culture in the Ruhr area, vol. 1) ISBN 380120085X
  • "Afterwards you can tell that it was right, that it went wrong". Post-war experience in the Ruhr area. Dietz, Bonn 1983 (= life story and social culture in the Ruhr area, vol. 2) ISBN 3801200906
  • (with Alexander von Plato ) "We're getting other times now". In search of the experience of the people in post-fascist countries. Dietz, Bonn 1985 (= life story and social culture in the Ruhr area, vol. 3) ISBN 3801201139


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