Michael Wildt

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Michael Wildt (born April 13, 1954 in Essen ) is a German historian . He is a professor at the Humboldt University in Berlin.


Wildt grew up in Rüttenscheid and Bad Pyrmont , graduated from high school in 1972 and then completed basic military service . After training as a bookseller , he worked for the Rowohlt publishing house in Reinbek near Hamburg from 1976 to 1979 . From 1979 to 1985 he then studied history, sociology, law, cultural studies and Protestant theology at the University of Hamburg . He was born in 1991 at Arnold Sywottek's history seminar with the study “On the way to the 'consumer society'. Studies on consumption and food in West Germany 1949-1963 " doctorate .

From 1991 to 1997 he was a research assistant at the Research Center for the History of National Socialism in Hamburg. From 1997 he was a research assistant at the Hamburg Institute for Social Research (HIS) in the work area "Theory and History of Violence".

With a highly acclaimed study of the leadership corps of the Reich Security Main Office , Wildt qualified as a professor in 2001 for the subject of modern history at the University of Hanover , where he was a lecturer and an associate professor in 2005 and 2006. In the winter semester 2001/2002 he was a research assistant at the International Institute for Holocaust Research ( Yad Vashem ) in Jerusalem. From the winter semester 2006/2007 he taught at the History Department of the University of Hamburg. Here he was appointed professor in February 2007. In the summer semester of 2009, he moved to the Humboldt University Berlin (successor to Ludolf Herbst ) in the field of German history in the 20th century with a focus on the time of National Socialism .

Michael Wildt is co-editor of the journals WerkstattGeschichte and Historische Anthropologie.

Scientific work

Michael Wildt's research area lies in the history of the 20th century with a focus on National Socialism and anti-Semitism , the concepts of order and world views .

His study on the leadership corps of the Reich Security Main Office ( RSHA ) was published in 2002 under the title Generation of the Unconditional . In it, he describes the intellectual elite from Reinhard Heydrich's “fighting administration” from the point of view of “generation”, “institution” and “war ”.

"An amalgam of conceptual radicalism, new institutions and an unlimited power practice in war could unleash the process of radicalization that resulted in genocide."

- Michael Wildt : Generation of the Unconditional, p. 870 f.

Wildt investigates the perpetrators both across the board and with biographical case studies such as Hans Ehlich , Erwin Schulz or Martin Sandberger . The RSHA was an "institution of a new type", an "institution of the movement", but above all a "political institution". Important for the selection of the personnel was the practiced terror, which manifested itself as an operation in many cases in the guided, but also in the personal murder of Jews in the East, in "volkisch land consolidation" - so that a characterization as desk criminals or bureaucrats is misleading.

Wildt's next project dealt with the Volksgemeinschaft ideology and anti-Semitism with a focus on violence against Jews in Germany between 1930 and 1939. It examined the transformation of a bourgeois society, the creation of the Volksgemeinschaft through the practice of violence. Wildt relied on reports from the local offices of the Central Association of German Citizens of the Jewish Faith (1893–1935), the memory reports of German Jews, newspaper reports and Gestapo documents. The project resulted in the monograph Volksgemeinschaft als Self-empowerment , which appeared in 2007.

Wildt's ongoing three-year research project is investigating what is known as “ ethnic cleansing ”. He examines the violent conflicts in Europe, where and in what form ethnic murders and expulsions can be found. The central question is how a “biopolitical” concept of the “people” became a political dominant in Europe in the first half of the 20th century.

Wildt has been chairman of the Historical Commission in Berlin since 2013 . V.


Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Frank Bajohr u. a. (Ed.): More than a story. Contemporary historical perspectives on the Federal Republic. Göttingen 2016, p. 33.
  2. Generation of the unconditional. In: hsozkult.de. February 4, 2003. Retrieved July 29, 2019 .
  3. The Elite of Terror. In: zeit.de. June 20, 2002. Retrieved July 29, 2019 .
  4. Wildt: Generation of the Unconditional , pp. 410-415.
  5. Wildt: Generation of the Unconditional , p. 861.
  6. ^ Archived copy ( Memento of September 27, 2007 in the Internet Archive ).