Essential Reading on Nazi-time European Indology (II)

Jan E.M. Houben j_e_m_houben at YAHOO.COM
Mon May 7 06:37:59 UTC 2007

To continue my list with suggestions, which, if anything, can help readers of this list to prepare for a book on this subject matter announced by Reinhold Grünendahl: 
  (2) 2000 Koerner, E.F.K. "Ideology in 19th and 20th century study of language: A neglected aspect of linguistic historiography." Indogermanische Forschungen – Zeitschrift für Indogermanistik und allgemeine Sprachwissenschaft 105. Band: 1-26. 
  Relevant to the indogermanic context of nazi-time European indology. 
  (3) 2003 Hock, Hanns Heinrich. 
  "Did Indo-European linguistics prepare the ground for Nazism? Lessons from the past for the present and the future." 
  Language in Time and Space: A Festschrift for Werner Winter on the Occasion of his 80th Birthday (ed. by B. L. M. Bauer and G.-J. Pinault): 167-187. Berlin/New York: Mouton de Gruyter. 
  Hock emphasizes the importance of not only criticizing racist theories in view of their undesirable political (and finally humanitarian) consequences but also to see where they are scientifically wrong. He summarizes his convincingly argued point that passages in the Rg-Veda that had been cited since long before nazi-time indology and till long after to illustrate an opposition between light and dark races are not at all clear expressions of such an opposition. According to Hock, "Indo-Europeanists by and large did not sin by commission, but they certainly can be accused of sin by omission. ... namely ... by staying within the country and within the system they lent indirect support to the Nazi regime. This is especially the case for the intellectuals, for as Max Weinreich pointed out in his Hitler’s Professors, published in 1946 [an important historical study in which, however, a discussion of Hitler’s *indology* professors – among whom a few at least would have deserved
 a mention – is entirely missing, J.H.], shortly after the destruction of the "Thousand-Year Reich", the Nazis derived satisfaction from the fact that highly regarded scholars remained active under their rule."
  (4) The same year 2003 saw the publication of:
  Indienforschung im Zeitenwandel: Analysen und Dokumente zur Indologie und Religionswissenschaft in Tübingen (ed. by H. Brückner, K. Butzenberger, A. Malinar and G. Zeller), Tübingen: Attempto Verlag, which contains a few articles particularly relevant to nazi-time German and European indology:
  (a) Hufnagel, Ulrich. "Religionswissenschaft und indische Religionsgeschichte in den Arbeiten Jakob Wilhelm Hauers: Wissenschaftskonzept und politische orientierung" in Brückner et al., 145-174. 
  (b) Junginger, Horst. "Das ‘Arische Seminar’ an der Universität Tübingen 1940-1945" in Brückner et al., 177-207. As Junginger shows and documents, Hauer’s Arische Seminar was planned as an institute with four main sections: (1) Indology; (2) Religious science on a basis of race science; (3) Aryan world view; (4) Occultism (the latter does not refer to what James Webb discusses in his Occult Undereground and Occult Establishment but the Occultism section of the Arische Seminar studied "wrong" belief systems and was directed "gegen Geheimlehren und sogenannte Geheimwissenschaften"). In the war-years the institute could not be fully developed according to plan but it got significantly more financial support than neighbouring disciplines.
  In addition the book contains contributions dealing with indologists remaining or trying to remain relatively neutral (H. von Glasenapp) or who were mildly subversive (P. Thieme) in nazi-time Germany. 
  Jan Houben

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