Walther Wrede

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Walther Wrede (born June 5, 1893 in Marburg ; died December 31, 1990 in Nagold ) was a German classical archaeologist .


Wrede, son of the Germanist Ferdinand Wrede , attended grammar school Philippinum in Marburg from 1899 until he graduated from high school in 1911 and then studied classical archeology, classical philology and ancient history in Tübingen , Marburg and Berlin . His studies were interrupted by many years of military service and Russian imprisonment in World War I from 1914 to 1919. After the work , he was only able to receive his doctorate in Greek Art I with Paul Jacobsthal in Marburg on July 21, 1921 with the work Warrior's Farewell and Homecoming had previously been accepted as a prize by the local philosophy faculty.

In 1921 he became a teacher at the German School in Athens , where he married Grete Bartels from Husum in the same year ; from autumn 1924 to 1926 he was head of the German School in Thessaloniki . From October 1926 he was an assistant at the Athens Department of the German Archaeological Institute . In 1927 he became its second director, and in 1928 he completed his habilitation in Marburg. In 1935 he became regional group leader of the NSDAP foreign organization founded for Germans living in Greece . After Georg Karo's dismissal as first director in 1936, Armin von Gerkan was planned to be his successor ; but Wrede managed to thwart this appointment. This happened when the then popular film actress and director Leni Riefenstahl intervened in favor of Wredes with Goebbels, who then turned to Hitler. In March 1937, Wrede became the first director of the Athens department of the DAI. At the time, these processes caused a considerable sensation in the professional world. As a high-ranking party member, Wrede was supposed to politicize the functions represented by the Institute in Athens. He hardly got any more archaeological research himself; they were run by his assistants Roland Hampe , Ernst Homann-Wedeking , Ulf Jantzen and Frank Brommer .

All excavations were interrupted in 1940 by the Greek government under Prime Minister Ioannis Metaxas , including the excavation in Olympia supervised by Wrede . After the occupation of Greece in April 1941, the work was partly resumed. The convinced National Socialist Wrede enthusiastically celebrated the invasion of the German troops in Greece and in 1942 published excerpts from his diary in the yearbook of the foreign organization of the NSDAP , which expressed this. Despite his political convictions, Wrede endeavored to behave correctly, especially towards the Greek authorities. He helped ensure that the Rosenberg Office had to stop its illegal excavations in Greece. From January to May 1943 Wrede was in Germany "because of serious illness and to participate in a conference of the regional group leaders of the NSDAP". During this time Erhart Kästner guarded his villa in Psychiko from April 6 to the end of May and wrote there. With the withdrawal of the Wehrmacht troops in autumn 1944, Wrede, who had been drafted for military service, also left Greece.

Released from prisoner-of-war in Yugoslavia in November 1950, he came to the Black Forest, became an official for reuse and retired on July 1, 1953 for health reasons. Wrede was thus one of the few archaeologists working in a leading position who did not get a job after the war due to their Nazi activities. He then lived in Nagold and dealt with botany and as a volunteer with the archaeological preservation of monuments.

Fonts (selection)

  • Warrior's Farewell and Return Home in Greek Art I. In: Yearbook of the Philosophical Faculty in Marburg. Volume 1, 1921, pp. 55-60 (extract from the dissertation).
  • Warrior's Exit in Archaic Greek Art. In: Athenian communications. Volume 41, 1916 (printed 1928), pp. 222-374 (= dissertation).
  • with Heinrich Wirsing, Karl Lehmann-Hartleben , Hans Möbius : Investigations in Greek theaters . Bavarian Academy of Sciences, Munich 1928.
  • Attic walls . German Archaeological Institute, Athens 1933.
  • Attic . German Archaeological Institute, Athens 1934.


  • Stefan Altekamp : Classical Archeology and National Socialism. In: Jürgen Elvert, Jürgen Sikora (Hrsg.): Cultural Studies and National Socialism. Steiner, Stuttgart 2008, ISBN 978-3-515-09282-1 , pp. 167-209 ( PDF version before going to press ).
  • Inge Auerbach: Catalogus professorum academiae Marburgensis. Volume 2: 1910 to 1971 . Elwert, Marburg 1979, pp. 638-639.
  • Ulf Jantzen : One Hundred Years of Athens Institute, 1874–1974 . Philipp von Zabern, Mainz 1986, ISBN 3-8053-0844-2 , p. 50. 55.
  • Horst Gottfried Rathke: Walther Wrede. In: Find reports from Baden-Württemberg. Volume 16, 1991, p. 661.
  • Siegmund Seybold : Walther Wrede. In: Annual books of the Society for Natural History in Württemberg. Issue 147, 1992, pp. 357-358.
  • Klaus Junker : The Archaeological Institute of the German Reich between research and politics: the years 1929 to 1945 . Philipp von Zabern, Mainz 1997, ISBN 3-8053-2339-5 , pp. 38-39.
  • Michael Krumme: Walther Wrede (1893–1990). In: Gunnar Brands , Martin Maischberger (Hrsg.): Lebensbilder. Classical archaeologists and National Socialism. Rhaden 2012, pp. 159–176.
  • Yearbook of the NSDAP / AO iv (1942), pp. 49-66.

Web links


  1. See communications from the German Archaeological Institute, Roman Department . Volume 77, 1970, pp. VII, X; see also Stefan Altekamp : Classical Archeology and National Socialism. In: Jürgen Elvert, Jürgen Sikora (Hrsg.): Cultural Studies and National Socialism. Steiner, Stuttgart 2008, ISBN 978-3-515-09282-1 , pp. 167-209, here footnote 137 ( PDF version before going to press ).
  2. Basileios Petrakos : Ta archaia tis Ellados kata ton polemo 1940-1944 (German translation of the title: The Greek antiquities during the war of 1940-1944 ). In: mentor . Volume 7, Issue 31, Athens 1994, p. 106 ( excerpt online ).
  3. Julia Hiller von Gaertringen: "My love for Greece stems from the war." Studies on Erhart Kästner's literary work. Wiesbaden 1994, p. 106, 175, 184.