Wolfgang G. Schwanitz

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Wolfgang G. Schwanitz, 2008

Wolfgang G. Schwanitz (* 1955 in Magdeburg ) is a German Arabist , economist and Middle East historian who researches and teaches in Germany and the United States. He became known through publications on international relations between Arabs , Jews and Germans, Germany and Europe, America and the Middle East , as well as on Islam .


Wolfgang G. Schwanitz grew up in Cairo as the son of German diplomats from the GDR . In Berlin he attended the “Max Planck” advanced secondary school . From 1977 to 1982 he studied Arabic and economics at the University of Leipzig . There he received his doctorate in 1985 on Egypt's economic infitâh open door policy. Then he headed the research group History of the Near and Middle East at the Academy of Sciences of the GDR until 1990.

After German reunification , Schwanitz worked until 1995 on the research focus on the Modern Orient, which the Max Planck Society founded as one of the successor institutes of the Academy of Sciences in Berlin, now the Center for the Modern Orient. He taught on the Middle East conflict and German and American Middle East relations at the Humboldt University , the Free University and the University of Potsdam (1988–2000) as well as Arabic and world history at Burlington County College and at Rider University (2004–2008). Schwanitz was a freelancer at the German Orient Institute (1998–2006, today GIGA Institute for Middle East Studies ). He was visiting professor at the Rubin Center in Herzliya (2007–2017). He has been an Associate Fellow since 2012 and is (2014–2017 Hochberg Family Writing) Fellow at the Middle East Forum in Philadelphia , Pennsylvania.

WG Schwanitz was an IREX Scholar on the International Research and Exchanges Board in Princeton, New Jersey, Washington DC and New York in 1991. He then conducted research in Egypt and Israel as an Invited Scholar at the CEDEJ in Cairo (1992–1993), as a Visiting Fellow at Princeton University (1995–1997) and at the German-American Center of the German Historical Institute in Washington DC (1998).

At Princeton University's Near Eastern Studies Department, he finished two volumes on Germans in the Middle East after 1945 and edited August Bebel's book on the Muhammadian-Arab cultural period (1884/1889). In his history of the Deutsche Orientbank, Schwanitz used German, Middle Eastern and American sources to show how the Nazis mainly sold gold stolen from Jews in Europe in Turkey and used the funds obtained from it for subversion in the Middle East.

At the time of the fall of the century, he published about the lack of criticism, East and West German Middle East policy and the Israeli view, German unity and oriental studies , Arab perestroika reception , the Gulf War debate, the terror issue on the Nile and Marxist weaknesses. In 1993 he formed the German Working Group on the Middle East . He founded and led the Berlin Orient Talks (1987–1995). There he was also in front of the German-Egyptian Society (1990–1995). In America, Schwanitz has been researching American and German Middle East and Islam politics since 2000 in the regional historical comparative America-Middle East-Europe, AME.


He held four national and two international colloquia on:

  • Middle East-related archives ( Gotha 1989)
  • German Middle East research as well as Arabs, Jews and Germans (Berlin 1990, 1993)
  • 125th years of Suez Canal ( Lauchhammer 1995)
  • Germany and Egypt (Cairo 1996)
  • the Third Reich and the Middle East (Washington DC 2001).

He gave lectures at 23 international and 25 national conferences, including the 17th World Historians Congress in Madrid 1990 and colloquia in Paris (1994, 2004), Cairo 1996, Washington DC (1998, 2001, 2014), Munich 2006, Princeton (1996, 1998, 2008 ), Nancy 2009 and New York (2014, 2015, 2016, 2017).

He presented the results as the author of ten books, 90 book chapters and editor of ten books on the history of the Near and Middle East, which describes international relations since 1798, when the modern age for the Middle East began with Napoleon's Egyptian campaign . Schwanitz contributes to dictionaries such as the historical-critical dictionary of Marxism and the handbook of anti-Semitism . He also designed television productions with Saddam Hussein ( History Channel 2005), Kaiser Wilhelm's holy war ( ARD 2005), National Socialists and Islamism ( Bayerischer Rundfunk 2006), and the Grand Mufti of Palestine Mohammed Amin al-Husseini ( NDR , WDR , SWR , Arte 2009, 2010) and about this Islamist leader in World War II in Berlin and Oybin from 1941 to 1945 (MDR, 2016).

Schwanitz also comments on current publications by other authors. In the Tagesspiegel he contradicted the thesis of Volker Koop that the Grand Mufti Mohammed Amin al-Husseini had wrongly carried his title Grand Mufti and that the Nazis' wooing of the Arabs would have "largely remained without consequences" apart from a few uprisings. Schwanitz also contradicted in “Explizit.Net” the statement by the author Hamed Abdel-Samad that today's Islamism is “Islamic fascism” . This false analysis of a mixed ideology with totalitarian strands is ahistorical, the term Roman coined, unsuitable for Islamic countries, no self-designation by Islamists and excludes other totalitarian movements such as National Socialism and Communism , which have strongly shaped the Middle East in the 20th century.

Works (selection)

The photograph shows the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem Muhammad Amin al-Husseini supervising the training of Bosnian SS volunteer organizations in November 1943. The cover design is from Yale University Press.
Islam in Europe, revolts in the Middle East. Cover picture : “Wünsdorfer Mosche” in the half-moon camp near Berlin for Muslim prisoners of war, German postcard from 1916.
Cover picture of the book Germany and the Middle East, 1871–1945. It shows Kaiser Wilhelm II riding out of his Jerusalem tent camp during his Palestine trip in autumn 1898 .
Gold, bankers and diplomats: On the history of the Deutsche Orientbank 1906-1946 from the book series Regionalhistorische Komparatistik America-Middle East-Europe . The cover picture shows a historical postcard with the picture ( Wolfgang Tritt , 1913–1983) of the Saint Hedwig's Cathedral and (to the right of it) the Berlin headquarters of Dresdner Bank and Deutsche Orientbank AG.
  • Middle East Mosaic 2016. Egypt's anti-Islamism, Israel, Arabia and Iran's atomic pact, the Islamic state and its caliphate as well as Abd al-Fattah as-Sisi, Donald J. Trump and Angela Merkel. Trafo-Wissenschaftsverlag Weist, Berlin 2019, ISBN 978-3-86464-147-3 .
  • Middle East Mosaic 2015. Egypt's Change, Israel and Iran's Atomic Compact, Islamic State of Iraq-Syria as well as Barack H. Obama, Benjamin Netanyahu and Angela Merkel. Trafo-Wissenschaftsverlag Weist, Berlin 2017, ISBN 978-3-86464-103-9 .
  • Middle East Mosaic 2014. Afghanistan's elections, Israel's missile war, Iraq-Syria caliphate, as well as Barack H. Obama, Pope Francis and Angela Merkel. Trafo-Wissenschaftsverlag Weist, Berlin 2016, ISBN 978-3-86464-009-4 .
  • Middle East Mosaic 2013. Egypt's revolt, Syria's civil war, Iran's atomic compact as well as Barack H. Obama, Abd al-Fattah as-Sisi and Angela Merkel. Trafo-Wissenschaftsverlag Weist, Berlin 2015, ISBN 978-3-86464-102-2 .
  • Nazis, Islamists, and the Making of the Modern Middle East. Yale University Press, New Haven & London 2014, with Barry M. Rubin, ISBN 978-0-300-14090-3 .
    • Dutch: Nazi's, Islamisten en het Moderne Midden-Oosten. Uitgeverij de Blauwe Tijger, Groningen 2017, ISBN 978-94-92161-48-2 .
    • Polish: Hitlerowcy, islamiści i narodziny nowożytnego Bliskiego Wschodu . Vis-à-vis / Etiuda, Kraków 2014, ISBN 978-83-7998-020-8 .
    • Hungarian: Nácik iszlamisták és a modern Közel-Kelet megteremtése . Patmos Records, Budapest 2014, ISBN 978-61-5552-260-2 .
  • Islam in Europe, revolts in the Middle East. Islamism and genocide from Wilhelm II and Enver Pascha to Hitler and al-Husaini to Arafat, Usama Bin Ladin and Ahmadinejad as well as conversations with Bernard Lewis. 2nd Edition. Trafo-Wissenschaftsverlag Weist, Berlin 2014, ISBN 978-3-86464-018-6 .
  • Gold, bankers and diplomats: On the history of the Deutsche Orientbank 1906–1946. Trafo-Verlag Weist, Berlin 2002, ISBN 3-89626-288-2 .
  • Germans in the Middle East 1946–1965: Social history based on files and interviews. 2 volumes. Hänsel-Hohenhausen, Frankfurt am Main 1998, ISBN 3-8267-2553-0 , ISBN 3-8267-2554-9 .
  • The pro-imperialist "open door policy". Main features of the economic development in Egypt from 1971 to the beginning of the 80s. Dissertation . University of Leipzig, 1985.
  • Talat's Balfour Declaration . AME report. September 20, 2018 (PDF; 478 kB)
  • Jihad in the Great War . Contribution to book Middle East Mosaic 2015. September 30, 2017 (PDF; 734 kB)
  • Merkel's We can do it . Contribution to book Middle East Mosaic 2015. September 25, 2017 (PDF; 328 kB)
  • The Obscenity of Blaming Zionism for the Holocaust. Tablet Magazine, March 6, 2014 (PDF; 311 kB)
  • America, Israel and the Crimea: Five years without resolute leadership in the West. Explizit.Net, March 17, 2014 (PDF; 275 kB).
  • Democratic coup in Cairo: the West sings the song of the Islamists. Explizit.Net, July 8, 2013 (PDF; 366 kB).
  • Goodbye Muhammad Mursi : Tamarrud Corrective Revolt is intended to depose the Islamists. Explizit.Net, July 1, 2013 (PDF; 296 kB).
  • Dispute about Max von Oppenheim. Explizit.Net, August 22, 2012 (PDF; 4.3 MB).
  • Hitler's Muslims. In: Der Tagesspiegel . April 23, 2012 (PDF; 848 kB), 6.
  • Bernard Lewis and the End of Middle Eastern History. In: Süddeutsche Zeitung . May 13, 2011 (PDF; 1.1 MB), 16.
  • First Munich mosque . In: Sehepunkte . 11 ( 2011 ; PDF; 695 kB) 6.
  • Iran in World War II. In: New Political Literature . 56 ( 2011 ; PDF; 516 kB), pp. 139–140.
  • Arab Responses To The Holocaust . In: Israel Journal For Foreign Affairs. IV ( 2010 ; PDF; 1.5 MB) 2, pp. 149–152.
  • German Islam policy? In: Jürgen Bellers (Ed.): On the Sarrazin case . Lit, Münster 2010 (PDF; 687 kB), pp. 141–154.
  • The unbeliever as the ultimate enemy. In: Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung . June 30, 2010 (PDF; 1.7 MB), 32.
  • Germans, Nukes, and Mullahs. In: Jewish Political Studies Review. 22 ( 2010 ; PDF; 533 kB) 1–2, pp. 127–131.
  • Yasir Arafat . In: Wolfgang Benz (Hrsg.): Handbuch des Antisemitismus . De Gruyter , Berlin 2009 (PDF; 1.4 MB), Volume 2/1, p. 30.
  • Anwar as-Sadat . In: Handbook of Antisemitism. De Gruyter, Berlin 2009 (PDF; 246 kB), Volume 2/2, pp. 712–713.
  • Abd an-Nasir . In: Handbook of Antisemitism. De Gruyter, Berlin 2009 (PDF; 270 kB), Volume 2/2, pp. 577-578.
  • Amin al-Husaini. In: Handbook of Antisemitism. De Gruyter, Berlin 2009 (PDF; 1 MB), vol. 2/1, pp. 9-10.
  • La politique moyen-orientale et la RDA: Grotewohl en Irak, Ulbricht en Egypte et Honecker au Koweit. In: Chantal Metzger: La RDA. Lang, Bruxelles 2010 (PDF; 1.3 MB), pp. 267–288.
  • German-Kuwaiti Relations. In: MERIA Journal. 13 ( 2009 ; PDF; 2.7 MB) 1.
  • Helmut Kohl and Middle East. History. Transnational, March 6, 2009 (PDF; 587 kB)
  • The Shaik and The Shoah. In: Jerusalem Post. March 25, 2009 (PDF; 177 kB).
  • Euro Islam . In: DAVO news. 12 ( 2008 ; PDF; 686 kB) 28, pp. 85–86.
  • Kaiser Wilhelm's holy war. Das Erste , Panorama broadcast text, May 12, 2005 (PDF; 583 kB).
  • August Bebel and Middle East, Foreword to The Mohammedan-Arab Cultural Period. Edition Ost, Bruxelles 1999 (PDF; 2.7 MB), pp. 1–57.
  • America's unwritten Islam policy. International information from the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung 9 ( 2006 ; PDF; 729 kB), pp. 4–29, 10 ( 2006 ; PDF; 395 kB), pp. 89–116.
  • Olive branch, weapon and terror: Germans and Palestinians in the Cold War. International information from the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung 3 ( 2005 ; PDF; 613 kB), pp. 34–66.
  • Najib Mahfuz: taste the magic drink of the west. In: The world . August 30, 2006 (PDF; 252 kB), 27.
  • The Berlin Jihadization of Islam. International information from the Konrad Adenauer Foundation 10 ( 2004 ; PDF; 103 kB), pp. 17–37.
  • Adenauer in New York, Pawelke in Cairo. Historical-Political Messages of the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung, 10 ( 2003 ; PDF; 7.3 MB), pp. 151–172.
  • Middle East Political Retrospective Fritz Grobbas . DAVO-Nachrichten 14 ( 2001 ; PDF; 770 kB), pp. 53–56.
  • America, Middle East, Europe: the German example , DAVO-Nachrichten 7 ( 2001 ; PDF; 131 kB), 13, pp. 51–55.
  • Honecker knew about an attack on Israel . In: Berliner Zeitung . October 6, 1997 (PDF; 590 kB), 6.
  • Occidentalistics by Hasan Hanafi . Middle East Policy, 3 ( 1994 ; PDF; 511 kB) 1, pp. 173-179.
  • Essad Bey's biography of the Prophet Muhammad . Comparativ, Leipzig, 3 ( 1993 ; PDF; 550 kB), pp. 128-131.
  • Germany and the Middle East in the Cold War. Leipziger Universitätsverlag, Leipzig 2006, ISBN 3-86583-144-3 .
  • Germany and the Middle East. Leipziger Universitätsverlag, Leipzig 2004, ISBN 3-937209-48-4 .
  • Germany and the Middle East, 1871-1945. Princeton Papers of Middle Eastern Studies (Ed.), Wiener, Princeton 2004 ISSN  1084-5666 .
  • Germany and the Middle East 1871-1945. Wiener, Princeton 2004, ISBN 1-55876-298-1 , ISBN 1-55876-299-X ; Madrid: Iberoamericana, 2004, ISBN 84-8489-169-0 ; Frankfurt am Main: Vervuert, 2004, ISBN 3-86527-157-X .
  • 125 years of the Suez Canal: Lauchhammer's iron casting on the Nile (= historical texts and studies. Volume 18). Olms, Hildesheim 1998, ISBN 3-487-10315-X .
  • August Bebel : The Mohammedan-Arab cultural period. Edited and introduced by Wolfgang G. Schwanitz. Ed. Ost, Berlin 1999, ISBN 3-929161-27-3 .
  • Egypt and Germany in the 19th and 20th Century. Edited with Wagih Atiq, Cairo: Dar ath-Thaqafa 1998, ISBN 977-19-3703-0 .
  • Beyond the legends: Arabs, Jews, Germans. Dietz, Berlin 1994, ISBN 3-320-01839-6 .
  • Berlin – Cairo: Then and Now. On the history of German-Egyptian relations. German-Egyptian Society, Berlin 1991.


Web links

Individual evidence

  1. today Max-Planck-Gymnasium
  2. Global Research in International Affairs Center (GLORIA) at The Interdisciplinary Center (IDC). see also Wikipedia en: Interdisciplinary Center
  3. a b International Research & Exchanges Board
  4. GACVS Research Grants, 1998-1999
  5. Ways of looted gold 1938–1945. (PDF; 242 kB) In: Gold, bankers and diplomats: on the history of the Deutsche Orientbank 1906–1946. Trafo-Verlag Weist, Berlin 2002, ISBN 3-89626-288-2 , p. 314.
  6. cf. also about Herbert Gutmann and the Deutsche Orientbank: "We dine in the Adlon": Herbert M. Gutmann and the Deutsche Orientbank. (PDF; 2 MB) In: Ulrich van der Heyden et al. (Ed.): “… Power and share in the world economy”. Berlin and German colonialism. Unrast Verlag, Münster 2005, pp. 81–86; Always in a good mood: Gutmann and the Deutsche Orientbank. In: Vivian J. Rheinheimer (Ed.): Herbert M. Gutmann. Banker in Berlin, client in Potsdam, art collector. Koehler & Amelang, Leipzig 2007, pp. 61-77; on the Orient Bank and the Armenian Genocide : Web version 01-2008 (PDF; 167 kB)
  7. Arab perestroika reception 11-1989 (PDF; 1.7 MB), US debates on the Gulf War 1-1992 (PDF; 544 kB), German Middle East policy 5-1990 (PDF; 1.8 MB), 5-1991 (PDF ; 712 kB), Kabab and Terror in Egypt 9-2010 (PDF; 389 kB), German Oriental Studies 1-1995 (PDF; 12.6 MB)
  8. Audio, Deutsche Welle, America has no Islamic policy, October 10, 2006 (MP3; 3.5 MB), Audio, Deutsche Welle, America's Unwritten Islam Policy, October 13, 2006 (MP3; 2.2 MB)
  9. Video, MDR, Der Osten: Discover where you live, February 2, 2016 , Video, Arte, Turban and Hakenkreuz 1/5, December 9, 2009 , Video, ARD, Report from Munich, Die unheimliche Allianz, July 17 2006 , video, ARD, Panorama, Kaiser Wilhelm's holy war, May 12, 2005
  10. Hitler's Muslims , web version 4-2012 (PDF; 848 kB)
  11. Hamas and "Islamic Fascism" , web version 8-2014 (PDF; 336 kB)