Roderich Schmidt

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Roderich Schmidt (born February 7, 1925 in Demmin ; † September 12, 2011 in Marburg ) was a German historian . From 1972 to 1990 he was director of the Herder Institute and executive board member of the Johann Gottfried Herder Research Council in Marburg, from 1967 to 2001 chairman of the historical commission for Pomerania .

Live and act

Roderich Schmidt was born in Demmin in 1925, where he spent his childhood and youth. He was expelled from the Hitler Youth after refusing to attend a military training camp. During the Second World War he was a soldier in the Landesschützen Battalion 251 in Greifswald. As such, he studied history, German, theology and philosophy at the University of Greifswald in the 1940s . After a short captivity he began studying in 1946, closing it in 1951 with the state examination and the graduation to the Dr. phil. with a thesis on "Studies on Eike von Repkow and the Sachsenspiegel" with Adolf Hofmeister .

Schmidt worked briefly as an assistant at the Institute for Prehistory and Protohistory at the University of Greifswald, which was temporarily headed by Hofmeister, until he was employed as an assistant at the Historical Institute on December 1, 1951. In 1946, Roderich Schmidt met Ruth Schmidt-Wiegand , who would later become a German scholar , with whom he had been married since August 1952. The couple have a daughter.

Schmidt opposed the efforts of the SED to influence the university. During his time in Greifswald he belonged to the Protestant student community and to the circle around the theologian Rudolf Hermann . In 1957 Schmidt was appointed to the regional synod. In 1958 he and his wife were accused of “treason against the workers and peasants state”. Since both refused to teach and publish on the basis of Marxism-Leninism in the future , they were dismissed. Both left the GDR shortly before Easter 1958 and found new jobs at the University of Bonn .

In Bonn, Helmut Beumann took care of Schmidts; when he moved to the University of Marburg in 1964 , Schmidt followed him. In 1969 he received his habilitation there . From then on, Marburg became his place of life and work. In 1972 he became an honorary professor. From 1972 to 1990 he was director of the Herder Institute and executive board member of the Johann Gottfried Herder Research Council in Marburg. After the fall of the Wall , Schmidt supported the reorganization and restructuring of the University of Greifswald.

Roderich Schmidt's field of work was the history of the Middle Ages both in Greifswald and in Marburg. Among other things, he wrote research on medieval rulers and emperors of the Holy Roman Empire . Another topic was the history of the universities in Greifswald, Rostock, Prague, Erfurt and Marburg.

Research into the history of Pomerania has always been an important part of his work. He joined the Society for Pomeranian History, Archeology and Art around 1960 and was its deputy chairman from 1975 to 2005. In 1999 he was made an honorary member of the Society. From 1967 to 2001 Roderich Schmidt was chairman of the Historical Commission for Pomerania , and then remained its board member until January 2009. In October 2009 he was elected honorary chairman. In addition to the publication of his own research work on Pomeranian history, he was also active as an editor, from 1974 to 2000 he was co-editor of the journal for East Central Europe research .

In 1979 Roderich Schmidt was awarded the Federal Cross of Merit, 1st class. The Pomeranian Landsmannschaft honored him in 1979 with the Ernst Moritz Arndt Medal and in 1982 with the Pomeranian Culture Prize for Science. The theological faculty of the University of Greifswald awarded him an honorary doctorate in 1990 .

On September 12, 2011, Roderich Schmidt died at the age of 86 as a result of a heart attack.

Fonts (selection)

  • Pomerania and its church through the ages. Verlag Rautenberg, Leer 1977, ISBN 3-7921-0180-7 .
  • World order and rule of rule in the European Middle Ages. Representation and interpretation through legal acts, words and pictures. Verlag Keip, Goldbach 2005, ISBN 3-8051-1032-4 .
  • Historic Pomerania. People - places - events. Böhlau Verlag, Cologne et al. 2007, ISBN 978-3-412-27805-2 .


  • Ludwig Biewer : Roderich Schmidt on his 80th birthday . In: Baltic Studies . Pomeranian yearbooks for national history. Volume 91 NF, 2005, pp. 7-14.
  • Ludwig Biewer: In Memoriam Roderich Schmidt . In: Baltic Studies. Pomeranian yearbooks for national history. Volume 97 NF, 2011, pp. 7-11.
  • Ludwig Biewer: Schmidt, Roderich (1925–2011). In: Dirk Alvermann , Nils Jörn (Hrsg.): Biographisches Lexikon für Pommern . Volume 1 (= publications of the Historical Commission for Pomerania. Series V, Volume 48.1). Böhlau, Cologne et al. 2013, ISBN 978-3-412-20936-0 , pp. 236-240.
  • Michael Hammermeister: Roderich Schmidt passed away. He didn't want to be history's winner, and yet he did. In: The Pommersche Zeitung . Volume 61, episode 38 of September 24, 2011, p. 2.
  • Heiner Lück : In memoriam Roderich Schmidt (February 7, 1925 - September 12, 2011). In: Saxony and Anhalt. Yearbook of the Historical Commission for Saxony-Anhalt. Volume 26, 2014, pp. 306-309.
  • Hugo Weczerka : Roderich Schmidt for his 65th birthday. Herder Institute, Marburg 1990.

Web links


  1. a b c d Schmidt, Roderich . In: East German Biography (Kulturportal West-Ost)
  2. a b Martin Schoebel : Annual Report 2009 of the Historical Commission for Pomerania. In: Baltic Studies . Volume 95 NF, 2009, pp. 294-296.
  3. Jürgen Petersohn : Laudation for Professor Dr. Roderich Schmidt. For the presentation of the Pomeranian Culture Prize for Science 1982 of the Pomeranian Landsmannschaft on June 26, 1982 in Dortmund . In: Pomerania. Art - History - Volkstum 20 (1982), Issue 3, pp. 1–5.
  4. ^ Obituary on the website of the University of Marburg .