Publication of book about FAU during the Weimar Republic and the National Socialist regime

Image: @uni_fau / Celina Henning

The eventful history of a university

In cooperation with FAU, the Erlangen City Archive has published a book detailing the history of the University from the period of the Weimar Republic up until the National Socialist regime. The focus of the ten articles in the book lies on the faculties and other institutions at the University.

Adolf Hitler once described the University as the “first National Socialist university of the Reich” and nationalist, antisemitic, racist and ethnic nationalist ideology was common at FAU as early on as during the Weimar Republic. Although students at FAU turned towards “brown” ideology earlier than their counterparts in other universities, FAU did not become a model national socialist institution during the subsequent years. Nevertheless, the University’s former role as a National Socialist trailblazer was still proudly venerated.

In the first volume of a series about the history of Erlangen between 1918 and 1945, nine experts take a closer look at the fate of the University during this period. Founded in 1743, FAU looks back on more than 250 years of history, which means it is among Germany’s thirty oldest universities out of a total of 400 today. Of course, the history of the University in Erlangen has always been heavily influenced by the course of time.

The predominantly national conservative professors and lecturers proved to be enemies of the Republic, to the same extent as the students who supported National Socialism early on. This meant that FAU, the smaller of the two universities in Franconia, seamlessly integrated itself into its already “brown” surroundings.

Focus on the relationship between University and politics

The volume presented on May 24, 2022 in the Erlangen City Archive about the history of the University in Erlangen investigates the eventful period between 1918 and 1945. The authors of the ten chapters focus on the five faculties of the University and the University Library as well as the students and their organizations. This is preceded by an overview of the relationship between the University and the realm of politics in this period. A special chapter of the University’s history is closely connected to the medical crimes committed in the sanatorium and the University clinics. This darkest chapter is also investigated in depth.

Written as a cooperation between the Erlangen City Archive and FAU and based on a wide range of sources and with a large number of images, this detailed insight into the history of the University in this most decisive period is aimed at a wide audience. A second volume, due to be published in the second half of the year, will take a summarizing look at the development of the University and into the reasons why National Socialist ideology took hold in Erlangen in particular so early on.

“Die Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen 1918–1945” is the beginning of a series of books about the history of Erlangen during the Weimar Republic and the National Socialist regime, which are due to be published in the next few years. These books will close a significant gap in the research of the city’s history, which still awaits appropriate academic analysis.

The book’s front cover "Die Friedrich-Alexander-Universität 1918–1945". Erlangen during the Weimar Republic and the National Socialist regime


(Forschungen und Quellen zur Erlanger Stadtgeschichte, Band 1)

  • Published by Erlangen City Archive
  • 640 pages, approx. 340 images, hardback
  • Printed by Verlagsdruckerei Schmidt, Neustadt a. d. Aisch, 2021
  • Price: 39.90 euros

Further information


Prof. Dr. Georg Seiderer
Professorship for Modern Bavarian and Franconian Regional History and Social Anthropology
Phone: +49 9131 85 22789

Dr. Clemens Wachter
University Archive
Phone: +49 9131 85 23948

Erlangen City Archive

Dr. Andreas Jakob
Phone +49 9131 86 2157