Revocation of doctoral degrees at the University of Erlangen during the National Socialist period
Politically-motivated injustice and ideological fanaticism were also rife in doctoral procedures during the National Socialist era. As was the case in several other universities, many doctoral graduates who had rightfully obtained their degrees were stripped of their titles at the University of Erlangen – an act that was previously only known in cases of plagiarism in doctoral procedures.
In most cases after the National Socialists came to power, doctorates were revoked due to the loss of German citizenship, which was imposed by the Nazi regime on those who had fled Germany for political reasons, increasingly members of the Jewish faith.
In other cases, doctorates were revoked due to a conviction of a criminal offense, whereby politically or ideologically motivated crimes such as treason or so-called racial defilement were also defined during the Nazi era as criminal acts and the penalties for previously punishable crimes such as abortion had been considerably increased.
All these ideologically motivated revocations disregarded the scientific achievements of the doctoral graduates, expelled them from the academic community on the basis of an administrative act that was given the appearance of legality and destroyed their professional prospects. Current research indicates, with the exception of a very small number of cases, that over 160 doctoral graduates were stripped of their titles on ideological or political grounds.
The Faculty of Humanities, Social Sciences, and Theology, which comprised two faculties at the time, was the first to investigate these unjust acts, initiating a prize in memory of the revocations at the Faculty in 1999 called the Lilli Bechmann-Rahn Prize in memory of the Jewish scholar of German language and literature who completed her doctoral degree on February 17, 1934. The Faculty of Medicine and Faculty of Law followed with acts of remembrance and two comprehensive volumes of biographical articles and a final volume documenting the acts of remembrance and the revocations at the Faculty of Theology and the Faculty of Sciences.
All publications available as open access publications
Doctoral degree revocations and act of remembrance of the Faculty of Humanities, Social Sciences, and Theology
- Hartmut Kugler (Hg.): Lilli Bechmann-Rahn-Preis. Erste Verleihung im Rahmen der Promotionsfeier der Philosophischen Fakultäten am 5. Februar 1999 (Akademische Reden und Kolloquien 19), Erlangen 2000.urn:nbn:de:bvb:29-bv012663091-4
Doctoral degree revocations at the Faculty of Medicine
- Renate Wittern / Andreas Frewer: Aberkennungen der Doktorwürde im „Dritten Reich“. Depromotionen an der Medizinischen Fakultät der Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen (Erlanger Forschungen Sonderreihe Bd. 12), Erlangen 2008.urn:nbn:de:bvb:29-opus-20896
Doctoral degree revocations at the Faculty of Law
- Bernd Mertens / Margareta Feketitsch-Weber: Die Aberkennung von Doktorgraden an der Juristischen Fakultät der Universität Erlangen im Nationalsozialismus (Erlanger Forschungen Sonderreihe Bd. 15), Erlangen 2010.urn:nbn:de:bvb:29-opus4-41257
Doctoral degree revocations at the Faculty of Theology and Faculty of Sciences and act of remembrance of the Faculty of Medicine and School of Law
- Thomas A. H. Schöck (Hg.), Aberkennung der Doktorwürde an der Universität Erlangen in der Zeit des Nationalsozialismus. Dokumentation der Gedenkakte der Medizinischen Fakultät und des Fachbereichs Rechtswissenschaft und Aberkennungen an der Theologischen und der Naturwissenschaftlichen Fakultät (Akademische Reden und Kolloquien 29), Erlangen-Nürnberg 2010.urn:nbn:de:bvb:29-opus-23982