Humboldt University of Berlin is Berlin's oldest university, founded in 1810 as the University of Berlin (Universität zu Berlin) by the liberal Prussian educational reformer and linguist Wilhelm von Humboldt whose university model has strongly influenced other European and Western universities. From 1828 it was known as the Friederich William University, later also as the Universität unter den Linden.

After 1933, it was, like all German universities, transformed into a Nazi educational institution. Some 20,000 books by "degenerates" and opponents of the regime were taken from the university library and burned. Jewish students and scholars and political opponents of Nazis were ejected from the university and often deported.

After World War II, the University was reopened by the Soviet Union, and was heavily influenced by the communist model, a state of affairs that continued until the end of the Cold War. In 1949, it was renamed Humboldt University of Berlin. After the German reunification, the university was radically restructured and all employees were terminated and their positions re-advertised. The reasons for the termination were both that the activities at the university under the communist regime had been highly politicized and that membership in the communist party had been the main criterion for employment under the communist regime, while non-communists were systematically discriminated against.

As of this writing, the Humboldt University of Berlin has been associated with 55 Nobel Prize winners, and is considered one of the best universities in Europe as well as one of the most prestigious universities in the world for arts and humanities.

Humboldt University of Berlin in In the Presence of Mine Enemies[]

As with nearly every other institution in the German Reich, Friedrich Wilhelm University was essential to the perpetuation of the Nazi ideology.

The German Institute for Foreigners, founded in 1922, taught foreign students about German race and culture, provided these foreigners were sufficiently Aryan. The Institute for Foreigners shared a wing with the more recently created Institute for Racial Studies, which decided which peoples were considered Aryan or Germanic and which were Untermensch or inferior. The institute classified Jews, Gypsies, Slavs, Arabs and Blacks as inferior, while Persians and Indians were classified as Aryan.[1]

The faculty of the University was male dominated in accordance with orthodox Nazi teachings. Susanna Weiss, professor of Medieval English in the Department of Germanic Languages, was an exception. She was met with resentment by many of her colleagues, including her chairman, Franz Oppenhoff.[2]

Throughout 2010 and into 2011, the reforms instituted by Führer Heinz Buckliger left the die-hard Nazis in the faculty reeling while also sparking hope among the younger generation of students and professors.


  1. In the Presence of Mine Enemies, pg. 34-35, HC.
  2. Ibid, pgs. 32-34.