Wolfgang Wippermann

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Wolfgang Wippermann (2010)

Wolfgang Wippermann (born January 29, 1945 in Wesermünde ; † January 3, 2021 ) was a German historian and associate professor of modern history at the Friedrich Meinecke Institute of the Free University of Berlin . He was teaching at the Berlin University of the Arts and the Potsdam University of Applied Sciences.


After graduating from the Pestalozzi School in Bremerhaven , Wippermann studied history, German and political science at the Georg-August University in Göttingen and the Philipps University in Marburg . With a doctorate at Ernst Nolte , he was in 1975 at the Free University of Berlin to Dr. phil. PhD . He completed his habilitation in 1978 and in the same year became a private lecturer at the Free University of Berlin. Wippermann's main research area was ideologies , especially antiziganism , fascism , communism andAnti-semitism . He also dealt with the belief in the devil and the disparagement of marginalized groups with the resulting conspiracy theories . As a passionate dog lover, he also published on the history of dogs . As a member of the Corps Hildeso-Guestphalia Göttingen (1964) and the Corps Vandalia Rostock (1971) he sat down with the history of the Corps and the Kösener SC Association in the era of National Socialism apart.

Wippermann was a member of the Social Democratic Party of Germany . He was visiting professor at Indiana University Bloomington , the University of Innsbruck , Capital Normal University (Beijing), the University of Minnesota and Duke University .

Wippermann died in early January 2021 at the age of 75 after being seriously ill in hospital for two months.


Wippermann's theses repeatedly caused controversy within the German historians' guild. Wippermann saw himself as the only historian who sided with Daniel Goldhagen in the Goldhagen controversy . Wippermann primarily criticized the thrust and tone of Goldhagen's critics, such as the designation as "executioner" by the journalist Rudolf Augstein . In addition, Wippermann accused the critics of character assassination against Goldhagen. The accusation of character assassination and unscientificness led to violent opposition on the part of Goldhagen's opponents, i.e. the majority of German historians.

Wippermann judged the Black Book of Communism that it only offered “a tiring series of murder stories”, that it “demonized communism” and that it should be questioned whether “the regimes in the Soviet Union, China, Cambodia etc. are at all communist or socialist systems acted ”. Reinhard Mohr criticized it in Der Spiegel that "there is no longer any attempt to practice scientific or political criticism and that it is only about the offended intellectual self".

Another controversial topic was Wippermann's committed appearance against the totalitarianism thesis , which in his understanding states that the crimes of National Socialism and Stalinism or communism as a whole are comparable or to be equated. In this context, Wippermann sharply criticized the SED State research association of the Free University of Berlin, which he accused of using the totalitarian thesis of "comparing and [...] equating fascism and communism". He also held against his opponents for using "materials from the Gauck authorities as a political weapon". He described employees of the research association as "hobby historians" or "necrophilic anti-communists". In return, Wippermann was accused of using "his academic title to engage in cheap agitation". Wolfgang Kraushaar judged in the newspaper Die Zeit about Wippermann's book Theories of Totalitarianism that the author had not succeeded in building on the reconstructions of these theories more than twenty years ago and criticized the general judgments, polemical swipes and lack of distance that occur in the book. Frank-Lothar Kroll also criticized the FAZ for the fact that Wippermann “stubbornly defends himself against all historical efforts to conduct a comparative research on totalitarianism”.

In a Focus Online interview in 2011 , he accused the members of the German Advisory Council on Global Change (WBGU), in view of their main report, Welt im Wandel - Social Contract for a Great Transformation , of being “utopians” who “had a major climate dictatorship” ”And this“ not out of thoughtlessness ”. This reminds him of "the fascist or communist international". They are “scientific fanatics” who “want to enforce their ideas”. Claus Leggewie , however, classified such warnings as a conspiracy theory . The WBGU report is actually aimed at strengthening democracy.

In 2014, Wippermann prepared a historical report for the German Society for Gerontology and Geriatrics on the life and work of Max Bürger , who gave the Max Bürger Prize its name. In the chronological order of this report, which, contrary to the announcement of a publication at the beginning of 2015, remained unpublished, the German Society for Gerontology and Geriatrics decided at the general meeting on October 26, 2014 to discontinue the name of the award, as citizens in was a National Socialist from 1937 to 1945.


  • The religious state as ideology. The image of the Teutonic Order in German historiography and journalism . With a preface by Klaus Zernack , Colloquium, Berlin 1979, ISBN 3-7678-0464-6 (at the same time: Dissertation , FU Berlin , Faculty 13 - History 1975).
  • Antifascism in the GDR. Reality and ideology. Berlin 1980.
  • The "German urge to the east". Scientific Book Society, Darmstadt 1981, ISBN 3-534-07556-0 .
  • The Berlin group Baum and the Jewish resistance. Berlin 1981.
  • Stone testimonies. Sites of the persecution of Jews in Berlin. Berlin 1982.
  • The theory of Bonapartism by Marx and Engels , Klett-Cotta , Stuttgart 1982, ISBN 3-12-912220-6 (= History and Theory of Politics , A, Volume 6) (also: Habilitation thesis , FU Berlin ).
  • European fascism in comparison. Suhrkamp, ​​Frankfurt am Main 1983, 3rd edition 1991, ISBN 3-518-11245-7 .
  • Jewish life in the Bremerhaven area. A case study on the everyday history of Jews from the 18th century to the Nazi era. Bremerhaven 1985, ISBN 3-923851-03-0 .
  • Life in Frankfurt during the Nazi period I – IV. Kramer, Frankfurt am Main 1986, ISBN 3-7829-0316-1 .
  • The consistent madness. Ideology and Politics of Adolf Hitler. Bertelsmann, Munich 1989, ISBN 3-570-03950-1 .
  • with Michael Burleigh : The Racial State. Germany 1933-1945. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge 1991, ISBN 0-521-39802-9 .
  • History of German-Polish Relations. Representations and documents. Berlin 1992.
  • “Like the gypsies.” A comparison of anti-Semitism and antigypsyism. Elefantenpress, Berlin 1997, ISBN 3-88520-616-1 .
  • Whose fault? From the historians' dispute to the Goldhagen controversy. Berlin 1997.
  • Theories of fascism. 7th edition, Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft, Darmstadt 1997.
  • Theories of totalitarianism. Scientific Book Society, Darmstadt 1997.
  • Jens Mecklenburg , Wolfgang Wippermann (Ed.): “Red Holocaust”? Criticism of the Black Book of Communism . Konkret Literatur Verlag, Hamburg 1998.
  • Controversial past. Facts and controversies about National Socialism. Berlin 1998.
  • Concentration camp. Berlin 1999.
  • with Detlef Berentzen : The Germans and their dogs. A special way of the German history of mentality. Siedler, Munich 1999, ISBN 3-442-75546-8 .
  • “Chosen victims?” Shoah and Porrajmos in comparison. A controversy. Berlin 2005.
  • Agents of evil. Conspiracy theories from Luther to the present day. be.bra verlag, Berlin 2007, ISBN 978-3-89809-073-5 .
  • Motorway to the mother cross. Historikerstreit der silent majority , Rotbuch Verlag, Berlin 2008, ISBN 978-3-86789-032-8 .
  • The revenant. The four lives of Karl Marx . 2008, ISBN 978-3-218-00781-8 .
  • Demonization by comparison. GDR and Third Reich. Rotbuch Verlag, Berlin 2009, ISBN 978-3-86789-060-1 .
  • Fascism. A world history from the 19th century to today. Primus, 2009, ISBN 978-3-89678-367-7
  • Thinking instead of monuments. Against the monument mania of the Germans. Rotbuch , Berlin 2010, ISBN 978-3-86789-115-8 .
  • Scandal in the Grunewald hunting lodge. Primus, Darmstadt 2010, ISBN 3-89678-810-8 .
  • Prussia. Small story of a great myth . Herder, Freiburg im Breisgau 2011, ISBN 978-3-451-30475-0 ,
  • Holy hunt. A history of ideology of anti-communism. Rotbuch, Berlin 2012, ISBN 978-3-86789-147-9 .
  • Fundamentalism. Radical currents in the world religions . Herder, Freiburg 2013, ISBN 978-3-451-30476-7 .
  • Luther's legacy. A criticism of German Protestantism . Primus, Darmstadt 2014, ISBN 978-3-86312-072-6 .
  • Nobody is a gypsy. To ostracize a European prejudice. Edition Körber Foundation , Hamburg 2015, ISBN 978-3-89684-167-4 .
  • Men, myths and lengths. History of the corps and fraternities . Osburg Verlag, Hamburg 2018, ISBN 978-3-95510-183-1


Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Karsten Krampitz : The historian Wolfgang Wippermann is dead. A personal obituary , accessed on January 8, 2021
  2. ^ Mathias Brodkorb : Wolfgang Wippermann: "The singularity of Auschwitz is an untenable dogma" - Part 2. In: endstation-rechts.de. July 13, 2011, accessed January 9, 2021 .
  3. Dissertation: The Order State as Ideology .
  4. ^ Habilitation thesis: The theory of Bonapartism by Marx and Engels .
  5. The dog . 12/2011. P. 62.
  6. Kösener Corpslisten 1996, 77/669; 183/580.
    Wolfgang Wippermann: Corps and National Socialism. In: corps-arminia.de. Archived from the original on May 2, 2012 ; accessed on January 9, 2021 .
  7. Jens Mecklenburg, Wolfgang Wippermann (Ed.): “Red Holocaust”? Criticism of the Black Book of Communism. P. 241.
  8. Jochen Böhmer: "Hitler's willing executors" and the Goldhagen debate in Germany. Shoa.de , accessed on June 6, 2015 .
  9. Reinhard Mohr: Reality whistled . In: Der Spiegel . No. 27 , 1998 ( online ).
  10. Wolfgang Wippermann: The dictatorship of suspicion. The SED State Research Association at the Free University of Berlin on the hunt for communists. ( Memento from August 30, 2012 in the Internet Archive ) In: Jungle World from February 19, 1998.
  11. The Politics of Exclusion. Wippermann versus Staadt - Mahler versus Dutschke .
  12. Wolfgang Kraushaar: Theory or Ideology? On the controversial renaissance of the concept of totalitarianism . In: Die Zeit , No. 9/1998.
  13. ^ Frank-Lothar Kroll: Two kinds of comparison. FAZ , December 21, 2009, accessed on February 20, 2011 .
  14. On the direct route to the climate dictatorship? Focus Online , June 6, 2011 (accessed February 17, 2013).
  15. Claus Leggewie: Warnings against an eco-dictatorship? Ridiculous! In: welt.de , May 25, 2011.
  16. ^ Rolf Cantzen: The staging of the foreign. Antigypsyism in Social Science Research . In: Deutschlandradio Kultur , November 15, 2012 .