Maurice half wax

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Maurice Halbwachs (1898)

Maurice Halbwachs (born March 11, 1877 in Reims ; † March 16, 1945 in Buchenwald concentration camp ) was a French sociologist and philosopher whose work has played a key role in shaping the concept of collective memory to this day .

Live and act

Halbwachs came from a Catholic family and attended the École normal supérieure in Paris , where he studied philosophy with Henri Bergson . After his examination in philosophy in 1901, he taught at grammar schools and in 1904 went to study at the University of Göttingen for a year . Returning to France, he turned in 1905 as a student Émile Durkheim of sociology to. He became co-editor of Année Sociologique , where he worked with François Simiand in the field of economics and statistics. In 1909 he went to Berlin to get to know German economics and Marxism better. In December 1910 he was expelled from Prussia as an “annoying foreigner”; As a correspondent for the Paris Humanité , he had reported too critically in the opinion of the authorities about a meeting of striking workers and its violent dissolution - the so-called "Weddinger Riots". In 1913 he married Yvonne Basch, daughter of the Jewish Germanist and philosopher Victor Basch (1863-1944) and his wife Hélène (1863-1944); two sons came from this marriage. His in-laws were murdered by collaborator Paul Touvier in 1944 .

During the First World War , Halbwachs worked in the French War Ministry and then became professor of sociology and education at the French University of Strasbourg . In 1921 he took up a teaching position at the Center d'études germaniques in Mainz - in the zone of the Rhineland occupied by French troops .

Halbwachs worked as a visiting professor at the University of Chicago for one year in 1932 and was appointed to the Sorbonne from Strasbourg in 1935 . There he taught sociology, worked closely with Marcel Mauss and published the Annales de Sociologie , the successor journal to the Année Sociologique . In 1944 he followed the honorable call to the chair of social psychology at the Collège de France .

As a socialist and due to clan liability (his two sons had joined the Resistance ), Halbwachs was arrested by the Gestapo in Paris on July 23, 1944 and deported to the Buchenwald concentration camp , where he suffered an illness as a result of his extermination on March 16, 1945 Work died.

A street in Reims is named after Halbwachs.

He is the grandfather of the computer scientist Nicolas Halbwachs .


  • La mémoire collective [1939], Paris: Presses Universitaires de France, 1950.
  • Les cadres sociaux de la mémoire [1925], Paris: Presses Universitaires de France, 1952.
  • La Topographie lègendaire des Èvangiles en Terre Sainte [1941], Paris: Presses universitaires de France 1941.

The following are published in German:

  • The collective memory , Stuttgart: Enke 1967. (New edition: Frankfurt / M .: Fischer, 1985/1991).
  • The memory and its social conditions , Berlin: Luchterhand 1966. (New edition: Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkamp, ​​1985/2006).

Works edition of selected writings in the édition discours :

  • Volume 1: Outline of a Psychology of Social Classes. About the social drives of people , Konstanz: UVK Verlag 2001.
  • Volume 2: Classes and Lifestyles. Selected writings , Konstanz: UVK Verlag 2001.
  • Volume 3: Collective Psychology. Selected writings , Konstanz: UVK Verlag 2001.
  • Volume 4: Social Morphology. Selected writings , Konstanz: UVK Verlag 2002.
  • Volume 5: Theory and Method. Selected writings , Konstanz: UVK Verlag 2001
  • Volume 6: Places of Annunciation in the Holy Land. A study on collective memory , Konstanz: UVK Verlag 2003.


  • Anette Becker: Maurice Halbwachs. Intellectuel en Guerres Mondiales 1914–1945 , Paris 2003
  • Stephan Egger (ed.): Maurice Halbwachs. Aspects of the work . UVK publishing company , 2003 . ISBN 978-3-89669-895-7
  • Hans Leo Krämer: The Durkheimians Marcel Mauss (1872–1950) and Maurice Halbwachs (1877–1945). - In: Classics of Sociology , Vol. I. Ed. By Dirk Kaesler . 5th ed. Munich: CH Beck 2006, pp. 254-279. ISBN 978-3-406-54749-2
  • Hermann Krapoth & Denis Laborde, eds .: Memory and Society. Homage to Maurice Halbwachs 1877–1945. Mémorie et Société. Yearbook for the history of sociology. VS Verlag , Wiesbaden 2005. ISBN 3-531-14852-4 . Bilingual German-French, with summaries in the other language. With the participation of the Mission Historique Française en Allemagne
  • Dietmar J. Wetzel: Maurice Halbwachs . UVK Verlagsgesellschaft , 2009. ISBN 978-3-86764-106-7

Individual evidence

  1. Wolf Lepenies : Franco-German Culture Wars - Maurice Halbwachs in Berlin. WZB lectures 10, June 13, 2004 ( online )
  2. ^ Wolf Lepenies : Culture and Politics. German stories , Munich: Hanser 2006
  3. Wolf Lepenies: Franco-German Culture Wars - Maurice Halbwachs in Berlin. WZB lectures 10, June 13, 2004 ( online )

Web links

Commons : Maurice Halbwachs  - Collection of pictures, videos and audio files