WARSAW, Poland (AP) — In a symbolic gesture, Polish and German scholars will condemn the Nazi-era decision by Germany's former Breslau University to strip some 260 mostly Jewish academics of their doctors' titles, a spokesman said Thursday.
Jacek Przygodzki, the spokesman for the southwest Wroclaw University, told The Associated Press that the Jan.22 ceremony being held with the German University of Cologne aims to condemn political meddling into academic life. The two universities will declare Breslau University's decision "non-existent," he said.
The titles stripped under Adolf Hitler's reign from 1933-45 were those of Hitler's critics. Many were of Jewish scholars who taught in the then-German city of Breslau. In total, some 2,000 German scholars were stripped of their degrees.
Those attending the ceremony include Israeli Holocaust historian Gideon Greiff, a grandson of Elfride and Karl Danziger, whose degrees were voided in 1938. Other academics stripped of their titles included World War I fighter and renowned psychiatrist Siegfried Fischer and the former Catholic Archbishop of Chicago, George Mundelein, who had an honorary doctorate from the Frederick William Breslau University.
Wroclaw University, however, has no authority to reinstate the titles. It was founded on the premises of the Breslau academy, which closed down in 1945 when the city became part of Poland. Cologne University took over some of Breslau's professors and students but is not its continuation either, Przygodzki said.