Symbolic Shift: The University of Wroclaw regularly stripped Jewish academics of degrees during the Nazi era. Now it’s seeking to make amends.

Poland University Restores 262 PhD's Stripped by Nazis

A Polish university will symbolically reinstate 262 doctorates, most of Jewish academics, annulled by the Nazis almost eight decades ago.

The University of Wroclaw, in the Polish city of the same name, announced Monday that it will restore the degrees at a ceremony on Jan. 22.

The announcement is somewhat complicated by the fact that the degrees were issued by a university which no longer exists, the French news agency AFP reported.

The city and the university had previously been known under the German name of Breslau while under German rule. After World War II ended in 1945, the city became a part of Poland, and the university dissolved. Its students and teachers became a part of the German University of Cologne, while the university campus was reorganized as the University of Wroclaw.

“It’s a symbolic gesture,” University of Wroclaw spokesman Jacek Przygodzki told AFP.

During the Nazi regime, universities regularly stripped degrees and titles from Jews and other scholars seen as hostile to the Nazis, and the then-University of Breslau stood at the forefront of this dubious practice.

“By the standards of Germany, Wroclaw University was at the forefront when it came to withdrawing titles: its senate was extremely zealous,” German historian Kai Kranich said, according to The Telegraph, citing the Polish newspaper Gazeta Wyborcza.

Author

Your Comments

The Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. All readers can browse the comments, and all Forward subscribers can add to the conversation. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Forward requires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not and will be deleted. Egregious commenters or repeat offenders will be banned from commenting. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and the Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.

Recommend this article

Poland University Restores 262 PhD's Stripped by Nazis

Thank you!

This article has been sent!

Close