ATHENS – The Annual Lecture of the Archives of the American School of Classical Studies takes place on Thursday, December 16, 7 PM EET (Greece)/12 PM EST with Alexandra Kankeleit of Freie Universität Berlin presenting her lecture, “Genuine Alliance or Reluctant Partners? The German Archaeological Institute and the Nazi Ancestral Heritage Research and Teaching Society.”
Unclear structures, overlapping fields of activity, and irresolvable competition between various factions characterized the National Socialist system in Germany. Hitler quite deliberately encouraged rivalry among his immediate entourage: Joseph Goebbels, Hermann Göring, Heinrich Himmler, Alfred Rosenberg, and Bernhard Rust.
These politicians and ideologues, just like Hitler himself, placed great importance on the role of archaeology, and each of them attempted, in his own way, to influence archaeological research. Personal interests were often a motivating factor, but so was the wish to win Hitler’s approval and make themselves indispensable. Only by adaptation and skillful maneuvering did the German Archaeological Institute (DAI) manage to avoid being crushed by these competing forces and to make the most of a difficult situation. Kankeleit’s talk will focus in particular on the relationship between the DAI and the SS Ahnenerbe. Both institutions shared a common enemy in the form of Hans Reinerth, head of the Reichsbund für Deutsche Vorgeschichte, an organization dedicated to researching German prehistory.
This event will be held live at Cotsen Hall and livestreamed on Zoom and the School’s YouTube channel.
Register online to participate via Zoom and submit your questions during the Q&A session: https://bit.ly/3dyafb6.
Alexandra Kankeleit, an archaeologist who specializes in the study of Roman mosaics, has also since 2016 been part of an extensive project of the German Archaeological Institute (Athens and Berlin), titled The History of the German Archaeological Institute at Athens during the National Socialist Era. As part of the project, she has examined a host of bibliographic and archival sources in both countries that document the activities of the German archaeologists in Greece from 1933 until 1944. A list of her most recent publications can be found on Alexandra’s website at kankeleit.de.
The Archives of the American School of Classical Studies at Athens comprise administrative records concerning the function and mission of the School, excavation records from American archaeological projects in Greece, and personal papers of American archaeologists working in Greece. They also contain the personal papers of many leading historical and cultural figures in Greece in the 19th and 20th centuries, among them Heinrich Schliemann, the excavator of Troy and Mycenae; the Dragoumis family; Nobel Prize-winning poets George Seferis and Odysseus Elytis; novelists Elias Venezis, George Theotokas, Stratis Myrivilis, and Margarita Lymberaki; composer and conductor Dimitris Mitropoulos; and Constantine Tsatsos, former President of the Hellenic Republic.
More information about the Archives is available online: https://bit.ly/3ozhm9m.