At the much-noticed symposium on the Austro-German anthropologist Richard Thurnwald in Paris in July 2021, Thurnwald’s biographer Marion Melk-Koch (born 1954) presented him as an opponent of National Socialism in her keynote speech. This led to heated discussions, but also irritation, in the auditorium.[1] As far as the Nazi era is concerned, Melk-Koch’s presentation essentially followed her 1989 biography, based on her dissertation.[2] Although groundbreaking for Thurnwald research, the book was heavily criticized for its portrayal of Thurnwald during the Nazi era; one reviewer even accused the author of “lying about history and life” (Geschichts- und Lebenslüge).[3]

This article is about historical source criticism. The example of Thurnwald will be used to show why historical source criticism is methodologically necessary to dispel (self-serving) myths that persist in our discipline, especially when it comes to the infamous Nazi period. The work follows in the theoretical tradition of George W. Stocking, who explicitly prioritizes biographical, institutional, and historical contextualization over “presentist” concerns.[4] In the following, I will demonstrate on the basis of historical source criticism how the use of sources concerning Thurnwald during the Nazi era can lead to erroneous conclusions.

Born in Vienna, Richard Thurnwald (1868–1954) is considered one of the most influential anthropologists in the German-speaking world. He founded ethnosociology and was a representative of functionalism with a focus on social change. From 1931 to 1936, he taught in the United States and lectured at Harvard, Yale, and the University of California. In 1935, he was appointed honorary professor at the University of Berlin. However, his application to establish an institute was rejected because he then had already exceeded the age limit of 65. When the University of Berlin was reopened after the war in 1946, Thurnwald was appointed Professor of Ethnology and Sociology. Thurnwald was classified by the US occupation authorities as an opponent of the Nazis, who had supposedly never been active in colonial politics.

This image persisted for decades, not only in German-speaking countries, as the following three examples show. Writing from UC Berkeley in 1968, the social anthropologist Wolfram Eberhard (1909–1989) made the following claims about Thurnwald for an influential social science encyclopedia:

Thurnwald was the first German sociologist and one of the first in Europe to make special studies of processes of acculturation and adjustment in Africa. These studies, which he made with his wife, Hilde Thurnwald, avoided the ‘colonial ethnological’ approach that influenced British anthropological thinking for some time.[5]

Much more recently, the editors Alan Barnard (1949–2022) and Jonathan Spencer (born 1954) said about Thurnwald in 2010:

Although he was an outspoken opponent of the Nazis, he returned to Germany from the United States in 1936 […][6]

And finally, Viktor Stoll stated about Thurnwald in 2020:

Although Thurnwald did not openly break with Mühlmann during the war years […] the relationship between student and teacher degenerated rapidly as Mühlmann’s Nazi sympathies increased. The situation became so difficult that Mühlmann eventually ‘denounced’ Thurnwald to the government, forcing the aged ethnologist to flee from Berlin to Holstein in late 1943 for his family’s safety.[7]

In sum, from these three claims one would be tempted to derive the following picture of Thurnwald’s activities during the Nazi era: Firstly, Thurnwald allegedly did not pursue a colonial-ethnological approach (1968); secondly, Thurnwald was supposedly an explicit opponent of Nazism while living in the USA (2010); and thirdly, Thurnwald was putatively even a victim of the Nazi regime (2020). The three articles referenced here thus have one main element in common: they contain false statements. This becomes clear when one looks at the sources on which these statements are based: the authors have consistently used sources that either date from the post-war period or were not related to the Nazi era. This is a methodological failure based on a “presentist” approach which, in Thurnwald’s case, leads to completely erroneous conclusions.

In the following, I would like to show how these errors arose. Let us begin with Eberhard’s statement that Thurnwald did not use a colonial political approach. From the context of his lexical contribution, it is clear that the author is referring to Thurnwald’s book Black and White in East Africa, published in 1935, which is the result of Hilde (1890–1979) and Richard Thurnwald’s joint field research in East Africa in 1930.[8] From today’s perspective, the book is written in a surprisingly modern way and does not in fact contain any explicit colonial political agenda.[9] However, Eberhard’s concluding sentence gives the impression that Thurnwald kept his distance from colonial issues altogether. This, however, is wrong. What Eberhard completely fails to mention is his academic teacher’s involvement in colonial politics during the Nazi era.

In October 1938, Thurnwald took part in the so-called Volta Conference in Rome. The week-long conference was dedicated to Africa and was organized by the Fondazione Alessandro Volta of the Italian Academy of Sciences and by leading African and colonial scholars (some of them involved in politics and business) from fourteen European countries. With this conference, a few days after the Munich Agreement, Fascist Italy pursued the recognition of Italian conquests in Africa and the claim towards a leading role in colonial policy among the European powers.[10] It was hardly mandatory for participants to take active positions on colonial policy, as the lectures by Bronislaw Malinowski (1884–1942) and Father Wilhelm Schmidt (1868–1954) indicate. Thurnwald, on the other hand, presented his colonial policy approach based on racial biology in the final discussion:

The separation of the races [is] an imperative that benefits white and black alike. […] By advocating against mixing and for the separation of the races, we are demonstrating our love both for the African and for ourselves, whatever European nation we belong to.[11]

The Swedish conference president Gerhard Lindblom (1887–1969), who, like Thurnwald, had conducted his ethnographic field research in British East Africa, reaffirmed Thurnwald’s colonial policy plea in his closing remarks.[12] In light of the fact that this leading anthropologist from Nazi Germany publicly argued “against mixing and for the separation of the races” at a conference in Mussolini’s Italy in 1938, post-war statements acquitting him from having pursued any active engagement for colonialism are profoundly inadequate.

In the summer of 1939, Thurnwald published a book of almost five hundred pages entitled Koloniale Gestaltung (Colonial Design), in which he made it clear that Germany had “found itself again under National Socialist leadership.”[13] This would become Thurnwald’s main colonial work, receiving numerous laudatory reviews at the time from a wide range of disciplines in Nazi Germany. The most detailed review was written by Rudolf Karlowa (1876–1945), a former governor of German New Guinea who knew Thurnwald personally. Karlowa recommended Thurnwald’s book because of its National Socialist orientation. In contrast to the mistaken methods of Western democracies, he argued, Thurnwald delineated the principles of colonial organization that “must be striven for in the National Socialist development of the colonies.”[14] Conversely, Thurnwald also recommended Karlowa’s colonial works such as the 1939 book Deutsche Kolonialpolitik (German colonial policy), in which Karlowa argued for the “unconditional prohibition of marriages between people of white and colored race,” which also included the “prohibition of extramarital sexual intercourse between them.”[15] In his review in March 1940, Thurnwald emphasized that Karlowa had laid the foundation for “a new system of colonial policy in line with National Socialist doctrine” with this book.[16] It is well known that by contrast to his pre-1945 positions, Thurnwald then strictly avoided the colonial topic after 1945. In fact, it is this post-war legend that has shaped Thurnwald’s enduring image to this day.[17]

The second misconception — that Thurnwald was an opponent of the Nazis before his return to Berlin in 1936 — presents more of a challenge for source criticism. This is because Thurnwald’s correspondence in the American context proves that he was indeed in close correspondence on friendly terms with Franz Boas (1858–1942), Edward Sapir (1884–1939), and Robert H. Lowie (1883–1957). Thurnwald was teaching at Yale University when the Nazis took power in Germany. As is well known, Boas wrote a letter of protest to Reich President Paul von Hindenburg at the end of March 1933.[18] Thurnwald reacted by telling Boas in a supportive way that he also rejected Nazism.[19] In April 1936, he explained to Lowie that he had difficulties returning to Berlin for this same reason (Fig. 1a):

At the very same time, however, he also asked the administration of the University of Berlin to set up a separate institute for him. From New Haven, he turned to Eugen Fischer (1874–1967), the leading Nazi anthropologist, writing to him on February 9, 1936:

In the meantime, the colonial idea has been officially recognized.


I don’t need to say a word about my political views, which you have known for years.[21]

Three months later and still from the USA, Thurnwald wrote to the dean of the University of Berlin (Fig. 1b):

As I have already said, I would like to put [my] experiences, especially those of the last five years, which have not cost the German fatherland a penny, at the service of the National Socialist state.[22]

In order to increase his credibility with the dean, he fell into a racist line of argument borrowed from Nazi jargon:

I fought in the Zeitschrift für Völkerpsychologie and in Sociologus against thoroughly contaminated marxistic-talmudistic sociology as it was represented by a group of especially Frankfurter Jews in Germany that also held others under their spell. At that time, I presented an alternative American non-Jewish dominated sociology whose research was more realistic and based on facts than was the Jewified (verjudet) German sociology.[23]

Thurnwald wrote these confessions of allegiance to National Socialism from New Haven, even using the same typewriter which he had previously used for his letters to Boas and Lowie.[24] George Steinmetz (born 1957), who first examined this contradictory evidence, has assessed Thurnwald as a “highly adaptive” personality and ascribed him a “split habitus” in Bourdieu’s sense, the profile “of a man without fixed qualities.”[25] Thurnwald also enclosed a draft with his application, from which it emerged that the planned institute was to be devoted primarily to future colonial policy. Thurnwald called for the preparation of “closed settlement areas” for whites in the highlands of the former German colony of East Africa. In order to gain plantation land for European settlers, natives were to be resettled in the lowlands. He argued:

The natives don’t mind such climate change as much as the Europeans.[26]

This type of reservation-based policy would, naturally, have to be based on strict racial segregation. Thurnwald further developed this vision after his return to Berlin, but he had already elaborated its basic draft while in the USA. From New Haven, he also submitted a prospectus for five courses for the 1936 winter semester at the University of Berlin, including two on colonial policy.[27] It is true that Thurnwald was not a member of the Nazi party (NSDAP).[28] This made it somewhat easier for him to reconnect in the post-war period with his previous networks in the USA. In turn, this also helped him to found the Institute for Ethnology and Sociology at the Free University of Berlin.

Figure 1a (above), 1b (below). On the same day, April 22, 1936, Thurnwald sent two letters from Yale University: To Lowie, he presented himself as an opponent of the Nazis who did not want to return to Berlin. To the authority of the University of Berlin, on the other hand, he described himself as a convinced National Socialist and applied for an institute for “Völkerforschung.” © University of California, Berkeley, Bancroft Library, Robert Harry Lowie Papers © Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, University Archive

In preparation for our extensive co-edited work Völkerkunde zur NS-Zeit aus Wien (Ethnology during the Nazi era from Vienna, 2021), an important methodological insight became apparent: documents from private archives convey correspondence and network communications that may be much more authentically sincere than archives held by the authorities. During the National Socialist era, people spoke much more openly in private letters about topics not to be addressed in front of the authorities.[29] As convincing as this finding may be, however, there are exceptions. As far as Thurnwald is concerned, his private correspondence with Robert H. Lowie is a very revealing channel of communication. Thurnwald’s letters initially convey the impression that he entrusted Lowie with matters that would and should not have been accessible for the Nazi authorities because of the likelihood of reprisals. Thurnwald wrote the most revealing (and previously unpublished) letter at the beginning of September 1939 from the high Grisons in Switzerland, after he had given a lecture at the Eranos conference in Ascona.[30] His report from neutral Switzerland to the USA begins with the following words:

It was impossible to write from Germany anything which could offend an official of the Gestapo. All the letters pass the secret examination of the police. It has become still worse now.[31]

Although the argument sounds very plausible at first glance, on closer inspection it is wrong, as letters from Nazi Germany to the USA were only systematically censored after the US had entered the war at the end of 1941. Thurnwald would therefore not have had to break off his correspondence with Lowie after his return to Berlin. The letter goes into great detail about the tense political situation in Nazi Germany at the outbreak of the Second World War. It describes the Nazi regime as a “reign of terror” (Schreckensherrschaft), and explicitly rejects Adolf Hitler’s warmongering with pointed attributions:

At the moment, a crisis seems to have reached a peak. One can only wish that the whole witchcraft game of the Austrian shaman is finally coming to an end. I believe that at least 2/3 to 3/4 of the German population, if not more, would welcome the end of the reign of terror. For now, this reign of terror will be intensified and the rest of the intoxicated, the ‘drunk and possessed’, will hopefully be sobered up over time. I just fear that the awakening will be bloody.[32]

It may well be that this social analysis authentically reflects Thurnwald’s world of thought. However, it contradicts the factual level of his actions. As shown above, Thurnwald had published the book Koloniale Gestaltung just a few weeks earlier, which identifies him as an explicit supporter of the Nazis. Thurnwald thus conveyed to Lowie a political description of the situation that corresponded less to his own convictions than to the approval of his addressee. Robert H. Lowie was the son of Jewish Hungarian parents, and he had spent the first ten years of his life in Vienna.[33]

On the factual level of actual decisions and practices, it cannot be denied that as of 1936 Thurnwald decided to return to Berlin and explicitly shared the racist colonial policy of the Nazi regime in his publications. What he told his colleagues about this is therefore of secondary importance for the interpretation, and perhaps constitutes an effort to confidentially explain and justify these decisions after the actual fact. Thurnwald’s level of practical action cannot be discussed away, let alone be relativized, even if the content of his private correspondence presents apparent deviations. The statement published in one of anthropology’s most widely used reference books that Thurnwald “was an outspoken opponent to the Nazis” therefore should be discarded due to its flagrant misrepresentation of the available evidence.[34]

The third set of inadequate statements addressed at the beginning of this text concerns Thurnwald’s disciple Wilhelm E. Mühlmann (1904–1988), who had been a member of the Sturmabteilung (SA) since 1935 and was therefore banned from teaching at the University of Berlin in 1945. It has been repeatedly claimed, including in an entry (2020) to the Bérose encyclopedia, that Mühlmann denounced Thurnwald, which is why the latter had to flee from Berlin to Holstein in 1943. This picture is historically incorrect and only dates from the post-war period, as will be shown below.

First of all, there was indeed a dispute between Thurnwald and Mühlmann. However, it was not about differing views on National Socialism, but about an editorial dispute in the journal Archiv für Anthropologie, which ignited in March 1942 over a review of Mühlmann’s book Krieg und Frieden (War and Peace).[35] Thurnwald and Mühlmann were co-editors of this journal and Mühlmann accused Thurnwald of having published the review without his consent, which Thurnwald denied. The dispute escalated and in October 1942 Thurnwald and Mühlmann parted ways, leading to the closure of the oldest journal of anthropology in the German-speaking world.[36]

This break between Thurnwald and Mühlmann is documented in several letters. For example, Thurnwald wrote to the Austrian ethnologist Dominik J. Wölfel (1888–1963) in Vienna at the end of 1942:

For clarification, I would just like to inform you that all relations between me and Mühlmann have been broken off for good. The reasons lie in Mühlmann’s behavior and in his conduct towards me, namely in letters he sent to others.[37]

This dispute was about personal insults, not National Socialist statements pro or contra. The reason why Thurnwald left Berlin and moved to eastern Holstein was also different, and had nothing to do with his alleged persecution. The 74-year-old Thurnwald had contracted an inflammation of the hip joint – so he could hardly walk and had to use sticks.

Thurnwald took a leave of absence from the university in October 1943 and hoped to cure his leg/hip ailment in a secluded lake district near Lübeck. He suffered from this illness until the end of his life, as photos from the post-war period prove.[38] On October 25, 1943, he wrote to the dean of the university from Holstein (Fig. 2):

I have been taking a cure for my leg ailment here for some time, […] But I was strongly advised not to stop the cure yet and to continue for at least another four weeks. So I hope to be able to return to Berlin by beginning of December and take up my lectures.[39]

However, this did not happen. Thurnwald extended his leave because he preferred to devote himself in seclusion to the (never-published) colonial treatise upon which he was working at the time.[40] From the point of view of source criticism, it is evident that political reasons, such as persecution, played no role in this decision.

Figure 2. In the Nazi context, Thurnwald explained to the Berlin university authorities that he had moved to Holstein because of his leg ailment, but would resume his lectures in December 1943. © Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, University Archive

After the end of the war, Thurnwald, like all professors at the University of Berlin, had to answer for his activities under National Socialism. In the questionnaire used to determine his political affiliation, Thurnwald stated that he was “against National Socialism.” In July 1945, he wrote to the university management:

I had broken with Dr. habil Mühlmann when he expressed a strong National Socialist attitude […][41]

In the following months, he increasingly embellished this statement. This is particularly evident in his letters to Robert H. Lowie with whom, significantly, he had entertained no correspondence during the war even when it would have been possible (i.e. until the Pearl Harbor attacks). In October 1946 he wrote to him:

But do not think I have abandoned anthropology. I have worked much in this direction, particularly while we lived in Holstein from 1943 to end of 1944. We went there, so to speak, in flight from the Nazis, and on account of M. E. Mühlmann’s intrigues.[42]

Another letter to Lowie sent a few months later reads (Fig. 3b):

Thus I had to leave Berlin in 1943, in order to escape concentration camp.[43]

This justification sounds downright ridiculous, as it completely distorted historical events. It served solely to present himself to his US colleagues as a political opponent of the Nazis. He also wrote letters with similar content to the director of the Royal Anthropological Institute in London (Fig. 3a):

I succeeded however to escape the concentration camp.[44]

I have chosen to dwell on Thurnwald’s letters to Lowie not least because they have served as a primary source for the Bérose article from 2020. The author assesses the historical reality of the Nazi era based on post-war archival sources. As we have seen, this is methodologically completely inadmissible – especially as Thurnwald’s case involves a dramatic political transition from a totalitarian regime to a democratic system after 1945.

Figure 3a (above), 3b (below). In the context of the post-war period, however, Thurnwald wrote to his colleagues that he had to flee from Berlin to Holstein in October 1943 as an opponent of the Nazis in order to escape the concentration camp. © Archive Royal Anthropological Institute; © University of California, Berkeley, Bancroft Library, Robert Harry Lowie Papers

The image of Thurnwald as an opponent of National Socialism has persisted for many decades up to the present day. It was nurtured by “presentist” sources, which may be highly problematic for assessing the Nazi era. The decisive factor was Thurnwald’s successful self-portrayal, which manifested itself in his international correspondence in the post-war period. For this reason, a number of leading representatives of anthropology were prepared to see Thurnwald as an undisputed authority who was well-connected academically in the US and was not suspected of having collaborated with the Nazis. Finally, the role of his wife Hilde Thurnwald should not be overlooked. She was instrumental in polishing up Thurnwald’s image. In 1950 she organized a festschrift for Thurnwald that included contributions from representatives of US anthropology such as Robert H. Lowie, Alfred L. Kroeber (1876–1960), and Laura M. Thompson (1905–2000).[45] This proves that Thurnwald’s post-war image “improvement” was quite successfully received during his lifetime. In the 1970s, Hilde Thurnwald also set up a foundation to promote Thurnwald’s work. The Thurnwald biography by Melk-Koch was in fact supported by the Hilde Thurnwald Foundation, which from the outset gave the entire book project the stale aftertaste of a commissioned work in the interests of the person being profiled.[46] From the late 1970s, however, counter-narratives based on historical source criticism also emerged which made clear that Thurnwald’s image as a non-colonial anthropologist and opponent of Nazism was not quite as coherent as Richard and Hilde Thurnwald had sought to suggest.[47]

[1] This study was funded by the Austrian Science Fund (P 33427-G). I would like to thank Andre Gingrich for his helpful suggestions and critical comments, Mehmet Emir for the photographic design (both: Austrian Academy of Sciences) and David Shankland (Royal Anthropological Institute London) for providing archival material. This is an extended version of my presentation of December 6, 2023 at the First International Conference on the History of Anthropology, “Doing Histories, Imagining Futures,” Panel 1 at the University of Pisa (Italy), see All translations are by the author unless otherwise noted.

[2] Marion Melk-Koch, “Encounters with Richard and Hilde Thurnwald” (July 8, 2021, keynote). This controversial aspect is not considered in the conference report: see Laurant Dedryvère and Christine Trautmann-Waller, “Unsichere Felder. Hilde and Richard Thurnwald’s ethnological research,” cultura & psyché – Journal of Cultural Psychology 3 (2022), 1–10.

[3] Wolfgang Müller-Limberg, “[Review:] Marion Melk-Koch, Auf der Suche nach der menschlichen Gesellschaft: Richard Thurnwald (1989),” Anthropos 87 (1992): 290–292, here 292. At the colloquium “Ethnologie und Nationalsozialismus” (Ethnology and National Socialism) at the University of Cologne in November 1990, many were also unconvinced by Melk-Koch’s lecture on Thurnwald. This shows that the controversy is not new and that Melk-Koch’s “objectivity” on this point was already being questioned more than thirty years ago; see Lothar Pützstück and Thomas Hauschild, “Ethnologie und Nationalsozialismus Bericht über das Kolloquium ‚Ethnologie und Nationalsozialismus‘, 17.–18.11.1990, Universität Köln,Anthropos 86, 4/6, 1991, 576–580, here 579.

[4] Ira Bashkow, “On history for the present: revisiting George Stocking’s influential rejection of ‘presentism’,” American Anthropologist 121:3 (2019): 709–720.

[5] Wolfram Eberhard, Thurnwald, Richard, in International Encyclopedia of the Social Sciences. Vol. 16, ed. David L. Sills (New York: The Macmillan Company & The Free Press, 1968), 20–22, here 22.

[6] Alan Barnard and Jonathan Spencer (eds.), The Routledge Encyclopedia of Social and Cultural Anthropology. Second Edition (London: Routledge, 2010), 750.

[7] Viktor Stoll, “‘Social Scientist par excellence’: The Life and Work of Richard Thurnwald,” in Bérose – Encyclopédie internationale des histoires de l’anthropologie (Paris, 2020): 1–17, here 8.

[8] Richard Thurnwald, Black and White in East Africa. The Fabric of a new Civilization in East Africa. A Study in Social Contact and Adaptation of Life in East Africa. With a Chapter on “Women” by Hilde Thurnwald (London: Routledge, 1935).

[9] Ralph Linton, “[Review:] Richard Thurnwald, Black and White in East Africa (London 1935),” American Sociological Review 1:6 (1936): 1015–1016.

[10] Holger Stoecker, Afrikawissenschaften in Berlin von 1919 bis 1945. Zur Geschichte und Topographie eines wissenschaftlichen Netzwerkes (Stuttgart: Franz Steiner, 2008), 272.

[11] Richard Thurnwald, “Discorso,” in Convegno di Scienze Morali e Storiche: 4-11 ottobre 1938; tema: L’Africa: 2. Convegno di Scienze Morali e Storiche, 1938, Rom (Rome: Reale Accademia d’ Italia, 1939), 1570.

[12] Gerhard Lindblom, “Discorso,” in Convegno di Scienze Morali e Storiche: 4-11 ottobre 1938; tema: L’Africa: 2. Convegno di Scienze Morali e Storiche, 1938, Rom, 1570–1571.

[13] Richard Thurnwald, Koloniale Gestaltung. Methoden und Probleme überseeischer Ausdehnung (Hamburg: Hoffmann & Campe, 1939), 13, 15.

[14] Rudolf Karlowa, “[Review:] Richard Thurnwald, Koloniale Gestaltung (Hamburg 1939),” Zeitschrift für vergleichende Rechtswissenschaft 53 (1940): 372–373, here 373.

[15] Rudolf Karlowa, Deutsche Kolonialpolitik (Breslau: Hirt, 1939), 35.

[16] Richard Thurnwald, “[Review:] Rudolf Karlowa, Deutsche Kolonialpolitik (Breslau 1939),” Deutsche Literaturzeitung. Wochenschrift für Kritik der internationalen Wissenschaft 61:9–10 (1940): 206–209, here 209.

[17] Thurnwald’s first article on the colonial topic appeared in 1905. After returning from his field research in the Solomon Islands and Micronesia (1906–09), he argued for an “applied ethnology” that should be placed at the service of “colonial policy”. He also proposed the founding of ethnological institutes, which were to be supported by “colonial policy”. Cf. Richard Thurnwald, “Angewandte Ethnologie in der Kolonialpolitik,” Internationale Vereinigung für vergleichende Rechtswissenschaft und Volkswirtschaftslehre in Berlin (ed.), Verhandlungen der ersten Hauptversammlung der Internationalen Vereinigung für vergleichende Rechtswissenschaft und Volkswirtschaftslehre in Berlin zu Heidelberg vom 3. bis 9. September 1911 (Berlin: Vahlen, 1912), 59–69, here 68.

[18] Rosemary Lévy Zumwalt, Franz Boas: Shaping anthropology and fostering social justice. Critical studies in the history of anthropology (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2022), 373.

[19] American Philosophical Society (APS), Philadelphia, Franz Boas Papers (FBP), Mss.B.B61; Thurnwald (from New Haven) to Boas, 26.03., 30.03. and from Sydney, 12.09.1933. Cf. Melk-Koch 1989, 272; George Steinmetz, “La sociologie et l’empire: Richard Thurnwald et la question de l’autonomie scientifique,” Actes de la recherche en sciences sociales 5, 185 (2010): 12–29, here 25.

[20] University of California, Berkeley, Bancroft Library (UC BL), BANC MSS C-B 927, Robert Harry Lowie Papers (RHLP); Thurnwald (from New Haven) to Lowie, 22.04.1936.

[21] Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, University Archive (HU UA), Personalakten (personnel files, PA) nach 1945, Thurnwald, Richard, vol. 5, fol. 5–6, here 5; Thurnwald (from New Haven) to Fischer, 09.02.1936.

[22] Ibid., fol. 7–8, here 7; Thurnwald (from New Haven) to Dean Ludwig Bieberbach, Cover letter and draft plan for an institute for “Völkerforschung,” 22.04.1936.

[23] Ibid., fol. 8. As translated in Karla Poewe, “Liberalism, German Missionaries, and National Socialism,“ in Mission und Macht im Wandel politischer Orientierungen, eds. Holger Stoecker and Ulrich van der Heyden (Stuttgart: Steiner 2005), 633–662, here 642.

[24] For example APS, FBP, Mss.B.B61; Thurnwald (from New Haven) to Boas, 14.02.1936.

[25] George Steinmetz, “Neo-Bourdieusian theory and the question of scientific autonomy: German sociologists and empire, 1890s–1940s,” Political Power and Social Theory 20 (2009): 71–131, here 93; and Steinmetz 2010, 25.

[26] HU UA, PA nach 1945, Thurnwald, Richard, vol. 5, fol. 10.

[27] Ibid., fol. 19; Courses, Thurnwald (from New Haven) to Dean Bieberbach, 05.05.1936.

[28] Uwe Wolfradt, “Zum Psychologie-Verständnis von Richard Thurnwald,“ cultura & psyché – Journal of Cultural Psychology 3 (2022): 47–58, here 55.

[29] Andre Gingrich and Peter Rohrbacher, “Völkerkunde zur NS-Zeit aus Wien: Einleitung der Herausgeber,“ in Völkerkunde zur NS-Zeit aus Wien (1938–1945): Institutionen, Biographien und Praktiken in Netzwerken, eds. Andre Gingrich and Peter Rohrbacher (Vienna: Verlag der OEAW, 2021), 15–32, here 26.

[30] Richard Thurnwald, “Primitive Initiations- und Wiedergeburtsriten,“ in Vorträge über die Symbolik der Wiedergeburt in der religiösen Vorstellung der Zeiten und Völker. Eranos-Jahrbuch VII/1939, ed. Olga Fröbe-Kapteyn (Zürich: Rhein-Verlag, 1940), 321–398.

[31] UC BL, RHLP; Thurnwald (from Bernardino, Switzerland) to Lowie, 02.09.1939. Original in English.

[32] Ibid. After the first paragraph written in English, Thurnwald then switches to German: “Augenblicklich scheint ein Höhepunkt einer Krisis erreicht zu sein. Man kann nur wünschen, dass sich das ganze Hexenspiel des österreichischen Schamanen endlich dem Ende nähert. Ich glaube, dass wenigstens 2/3 bis 3/4 der deutschen Bevölkerung, wenn nicht noch mehr, das Ende der Schreckensherrschaft begrüssen würden. Denn jetzt wird diese Schreckensherrschaft noch gesteigert werden und der Rest der Berauschten, der ‘Besoffenen und Besessenen,’ wird hoffentlich mit der Zeit ernüchtert werden. Ich fürchte nur, das Erwachen wird blutig werden.”

[33] Julian H. Steward, Robert Harry Lowie 1882–1957. A Biographical Memoir (Washington D.C.: National Academy of Sciences, 1974), 176.

[34] Barnard and Spencer 2010, 750.

[35] Georg Friederici, “[Review:] Wilhelm E. Mühlmann, Krieg und Frieden (Heidelberg 1940),” Archiv für Anthropologie, Völkerforschung und kolonialen Kulturwandel 27:3-4 (1942): 169–176.

[36] Cf. Udo Mischek, Leben und Werk Günter Wagners (1908–1952) (Gehren: Escher, 2002), 107f.

[37] Private archives Bettina Hainschink; Thurnwald to Wölfel, 09.12.1942. Thurnwald had already announced his break with Mühlmann to Diedrich Westermann two months earlier: “After everything that has happened, working with Mühlmann is impossible and degrading for me.” Cf. Lautarchiv of the Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin 01/23, fol. 108; Thurnwald (from Berlin) to Westermann, 10.10.1942.

[38] Melk-Koch 1989, 283.

[39] HU UA, PA nach 1945, Thurnwald, Richard, vol. 6, fol. 208; Thurnwald to Dean Hermann Grapow, 25.10.1943. Cf. Peter Rohrbacher, “Das Ringen um Kolonialexpertise: Richard Thurnwalds Mitarbeit an kolonialen Handbüchern über Afrika während des Zweiten Weltkriegs,“ cultura & psyché – Journal of Cultural Psychology 3 (2022): 115–129, here 124.

[40] Rohrbacher 2022, 125f.

[41] HU UA, PA nach 1945, Thurnwald, Richard, vol. 7, [fol. 3]; Thurnwald to Rector Eduard Spranger, 09.07.1945.

[42] UC BL, RHLP; Thurnwald to Lowie, 15.10.1946. Original in English.

[43] UC BL, RHLP; Thurnwald to Lowie, 05.02.1947. Original in English.

[44] Archive Royal Anthropological Institute, Germany 95/20/1; Thurnwald to the President of the RAI, 07.09.1945. Original in English.

[45] Hilde Thurnwald, “Richard Thurnwald – Lebensweg und Werk,“ in Beiträge zur Gesellungs- und Völkerwissenschaft. Professor Dr. Thurnwald zu seinem achtzigsten Geburtstag gewidmet (Berlin: Gebr. Mann 1950), 9–19.

[46] Melk-Koch 1989, 9 and 285.

[47] The following are exemplary: Poewe 2005; Steinmetz 2009, 2010; see also Klaus Timm, “Richard Thurnwald: ‘Koloniale Gestaltung’ – ein ‘Apartheids-Projekt’ für die koloniale Expansion des deutschen Faschismus in Afrika,“ Ethnographisch-Archäologische Zeitschrift 18:4 (1977): 617–649.

Peter Rohrbacher: contributions /