Walter Markov

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Walter Markov (born October 5, 1909 in Graz , † July 3, 1993 in Summt ; actually Walter Mulec ) was a German historian and resistance fighter .


Markov came from an Austrian family with ancestors of different nationalities. He spoke a variety of languages. From 1910 to 1925 he lived in Ljubljana and Kranj , then also in Belgrade and Sušak , where he graduated from high school . He received his doctorate in Bonn in 1934 on Serbian foreign policy and became a member of the KPD in the same year . Markov founded a student resistance group at the Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität in Bonn in 1934 . In 1935 the group was broken up and those involved were arrested. From the People's Courthe was sentenced to twelve years in prison, six of them in solitary confinement. The conviction came for preparing a treasonable enterprise. He was imprisoned in Siegburg in prison. The activities of the “Markov Group” included B. the political newspaper Socialist Republic .

In 1945 he organized the self-liberation of political prisoners. In Bonn he was one of the founders of the Free German Youth and the AStA at the University of Bonn . He tried in vain to work in Bonn. Due to a lack of prospects for an academic career, he moved to Leipzig in 1946 . In 1947/48 he took part in the debates of the Imshausen Society about an all-German “ Third Way ” in the renewal of Germany. He completed his habilitation at the Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg with a thesis on Balkan diplomacy (printed in 1999).

At the University of Leipzig in 1949 he was given a professorship with a chair in modern history . He was also director of the Institute for Universal and Cultural History . 1951 he was u. a. excluded from the SED because of his “quite independent way of thinking” and the charge of alleged “ Titoism ” . Nevertheless, he was able to continue his scientific work in Leipzig. His focus was on the French Revolution and the history of the revolution that followed. In particular, he dealt with the Jacobins and the sans-culottes . It was through his preoccupation with the extreme left of the French Revolution that he found his great subject, the biography of Jacques Roux . He published several papers on him and did research for it in France. He made intensive contacts with French historians. In recognition of his work, he received numerous national and international awards.

In the years 1962/1963 he was in Nigeria as First Director of the Department of History of the University of Nigeria in Nsukka operates. From 1970 to 1971 he taught at the University of Santiago de Chile . He chose the history of the liberation movements and the Third World as a further focus of his work . Therefore he turned to world history , on which he also published several works. In 1968 he became the founding director of the newly established Section for African and Middle Eastern Studies at Leipzig University. Klaus Mylius , who became internationally known as an Indologist , is one of his academic students .

In 1974 Markov retired. From then on, Markov published regularly on the world stage . Manfred Kossok , who also carried on the tradition of comparative research on the revolution, took over his professorship .

After the turnaround in 1989/90, Markov got involved with the PDS . The magazine Comparativ and the Karl Lamprecht Society, which were founded with his help, see themselves in Markov's tradition. The Lamprecht Society awards the Walter Markov Prize for History, named after Markov . An antiquarian bookshop in Bonn is named after Markov. In Leipzig-Holzhausen , the street Walter-Markov-Ring bears his name.

Walter Markov is the father of the politician Helmuth Markov .


As an author:

  • Serbia between Austria and Russia 1897–1908. Kohlhammer, Stuttgart 1934 (dissertation, University of Bonn, 1934).
  • Basics of Balkan Diplomacy. A contribution to the history of the relationships of dependency. 1947 (habilitation thesis, University of Leipzig, 1947); Leipziger Universitätsverlag, Leipzig 1999, ISBN 3-933240-97-2 .
  • The freedoms of the priest Roux. Academy, Berlin 1967; Leipziger Universitätsverlag, Leipzig 2009, ISBN 978-3-86583-396-9 .
  • Excursus on Jacques Roux. Academy, Berlin 1970.
  • with Albert Soboul: 1789, the great French revolution. Academy, Berlin 1973.
  • with Heinz Helmert: Battles of world history. Edition Leipzig, Leipzig 1977.
  • with Ernst Werner: History of the Turks from the beginning to the present. Academy, Berlin 1978.
  • World history in the revolution square. Edited by Manfred Kossok . Academy, Berlin 1979.
  • Cognac and regicide. Historical-literary miniatures. Structure, Berlin / Weimar 1979.
  • Grand Empire. Manners and bad habits of the Napoleonic era. Edition Leipzig, Leipzig 1984.
  • Dialogue with the century. Documented by Thomas Grimm . Structure, Berlin 1989, ISBN 3-351-01512-7 (autobiography).
  • How many lives does a person live. An autobiography from the estate. Faber & Faber, Leipzig 2009, ISBN 3-867-30092-5 .

As editor:

  • with Albert Soboul : The sans-culottes of Paris. Documents on the history of the popular movement 1793–1794. Academy, Berlin 1957.
  • with Alfred Anderle , Ernst Werner : World History. The countries of the world from A – Z (= Small Encyclopedia ). Bibliographical Institute, Leipzig 1964.
  • Jacques Roux : Scripta et acta. Academy, Berlin 1969.
  • Revolution on the witness stand. France 1789-1799. 2 volumes. Reclam, Leipzig 1982.
  • Jacques Roux: Freedom will conquer the world. Speeches and writings. Reclam, Leipzig 1985.
  • with Katharina Middell and Matthias Middell: The French Revolution. Pictures and reports 1789–1799. Reclam, Leipzig 1989.


  • Ralf Forsbach : Walter Markov (1909–1993). Nazi resistance fighters and historians . In: Rheinische Lebensbilder. Vol. 19, Düsseldorf 2013, pp. 309–329.
  • Thomas Grimm : Walter Markov. In what remained of the dreams. A balance sheet of the socialist utopia. With a foreword by Heiner Müller . Siedler Verlag , Berlin 1993, pp. 69-90. ISBN 3-88680-482-8 .
  • Sven Heitkamp: Walter Markov. A Leipzig historian between partiality and professionalism. In: The University. 1/2002, pp. 148-158 ( PDF ).
  • Thomas Grimm: Walter Markov. To the limit of self-destruction. In Left Fatherland Journeyman. Socialists, anarchists, communists, ruffians, and other non-conformists. Parthas Verlag, Berlin 2003, pp. 90-102. ISBN 3-932529-39-1 .
  • Sven Heitkamp: Walter Markov. A GDR historian between party doctrine and profession. Leipzig 2003.
  • Ilko-Sascha Kowalczuk:  Markov, Walter . In: Who was who in the GDR? 5th edition. Volume 2. Ch. Links, Berlin 2010, ISBN 978-3-86153-561-4 .
  • Matthias Middell (Ed.): "Lust am Krimi". Contributions to the work and impact of Walter Markov. Leipzig 2011.
  • Volker Ullrich : On the death of Walter Markov. Communist without a party online, accessed January 30, 2015. In: Die Zeit , No. 29, July 16, 1993, p. 41.
  • Manfred Neuhaus u. a. (Ed.): "If someone consciously stuck their head out ..." Contributions to the work of Walter Markov. Leipzig 1995 (2nd, revised edition 1998).
  • Markov, Walter. In: Collegium Politicum at the University of Hamburg, Historiography Working Group (Hrsg.): Historians in Central Germany . Ferd. Dümmlers Verlag, Bonn 1965, p. 67 f.


  • Thomas Grimm : Freedom will conquer the world . The historian Walter Markov. ORB , 30 min / 50 min. 1993

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