Ibero-Amerikanisches Institut
Preussischer Kulturbesitz

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Formal Indexing and Scholarly Editing of Hirsch-Weber’s Papers

CoordinationDr. Sandra Carreras

Dr. Gregor Wolff


Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (German Research Foundation)

Select an item

1. Co-applicant


2. Project Group


former IAI staff

  • Katrin Hoffmann   
  • Verena Paetow   
  • Nadja Ronnisch   
  • Gudrun Schumacher   
  • Christian Martínez Schwabbauer   


3. Short description

Point of departure

Within the project’s framework, the extensive papers of the German political scientist Wolfgang Hirsch-Weber (1920-2004) are being formally indexed and scholarly edited. The posthumous papers contain important materials and hitherto unknown information on the subjects of exile and migration, the political engagement of German immigrants in Latin America, the history of German-Latin American relations, political developments in Latin America as well as on the history of the institutional establishment of area studies in Germany. This variety accords with Wolfgang Hirsch-Weber’s multifaceted life, in which the central political and social developments of the twentieth century were refracted as through a prism.

Hirsch-Weber was born in Mannheim in 1920. After the Gymnasium he completed his apprenticeship as a businessman. This son of the Jewish journalist Dr. Willi Josef Hirsch escaped persecution at the hands of the National Socialists by immigrating to Bolivia. A short while later his father and uncle were imprisoned and killed because they had assisted Jews from Heidelberg and Mannheim in fleeing Nazi Germany. Starting in 1939, Hirsch-Weber became politically active in “Das Andere Deutschland” (“The Other Germany”), a political amalgamation of German immigrants in Latin America whose politics were social-democratic or socialist in nature.

In 1949 he returned to Germany and began studying social sciences in Heidelberg. He obtained his PhD with a dissertation on “Trade Unions in Politics,” and in 1956 he took up a position at the Institute for Political Science at Freie Universität Berlin (FU Berlin). His connection to Latin America yielded one of his research foci in terms of development-theory and developmental policy. In 1965, Wolfgang Hirsch-Weber became director of the Latin American section of the Romance language seminar and was subsequently active in founding the Lateinamerika-Institut (LAI) of Freie Universität Berlin. From 1966 to 1968 he was visiting professor in Chile at the University of Santiago and the University of Concepción, and as representative of the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung (Friedrich Ebert Foundation) in Latin America he established the social science research center Instituto Latinoamericano de Investigaciones Sociales (ILDIS), which is still in operation today. In 1968, Hirsch-Weber habilitated at the Freie Universität Berlin with a treatise on “Politics as Conflict of Interest.” In 1972 he accepted a position at the University of Mannheim, where he taught until achieving emeritus status in 1988. Wolfgang Hirsch-Weber died in 1968. His papers are among the holdings of the IAI (Ibero-American Institute). They consists of more than 4000 letters, published and unpublished manuscripts, transcripts of interviews with contemporary witnesses of recent Chilean history (1978-1983), notebooks, notes (loose-leaf), personal documents, photos and other documents. Of singular importance among his papers is his correspondence from 1938 to 2000; it contains exchanges of letters with leading research personalities of the time as well as correspondence with German and Latin American politicians and creative artists.


Wolfgang Hirsch-Weber’s papers are to be formally indexed and edited. It is through this formal indexing that the papers will for the first time be registered and made accessible on a German-wide and international basis via the Gemeinsamer Bibliotheksverbund GBV (Collective Library Association), the Portal für Bibliotheken, Archive und Museen BAM (Portal for Libraries, Archives and Museums) and Kalliope’s database. The editing of Hirsch-Weber’s papers is informed by three main objectives: 1) preparation and publication of a critical edition of the posthumous papers’ unpublished manuscripts with Hirsch-Weber’s memories of the years 1920 to 1940, which offer illuminating material for study of the construction of memory vis-à-vis exile and migration; 2) making a contribution to research on the political activities of German immigrants in Latin America through the example of the organization “Das Andere Deutschland” (“The Other Germany”), inclusive the holding of an international symposium; 3) making a contribution to the study of German-Latin American relations, with a focus on Chile and Bolivia and through the example of the international activities of German social democracy in the region.

Task Schedule

The program of work is divided into two large sections: the posthumous papers’ formal indexing (18 months) and the editing of certain of the papers (15 months). Basis for the formal indexing undertaken by Verena Paetow and Nadja Ronnisch is the “Rules for Indexing Posthumous Papers and Autographs” (RNA). Hirsch-Weber’s manuscripts have been available for viewing ever since August 2009 and his correspondence will be accessible to researchers starting in January 2010. Completion of the cataloguing process for Hirsch-Weber’s personal documents is planned for the end of February 2010 and completion of the papers’ collections (newspaper clippings, conference and seminar documents, photographs, etc.) is planned for the end of September 2010.


Of primary importance in the scholarly editing is to conceive and undertake interviews with Hirsch-Weber’s relatives and contemporaries, to produce the critical edition of a manuscript with his remembrances, to compose scholarly essays and specialist lectures, and to prepare and carry out an international symposium and coordinate and edit a publication resulting therefrom.

Expected Results

Through the formal indexing of Wolfgang Hirsch-Weber’s papers, the materials will be registered nationwide as well as internationally via the GBV, BAM and Kalliope and made available to researchers. This scholarly editing will be making a contribution to study of the construction of memory with respect to exile and migration and research into the political activities of German immigrants in Latin America as well as German-Latin American relations, with the focus on Chile and Bolivia.


4. Products



  • Lectures and publications

    A critical edition, an anthology, and essays are planned.

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