Short Portrait: Georg Eckert

Georg Eckert
Georg Eckert

Georg Eckert was born in Berlin 14.8.1912, where he spent his childhood and youth. His father was a journalist from Bamberg. Eckert finished school in 1931 and eventually took up his studies.

Geography and History were among his major subjects, as well as German Philology and Anthropology. After briefly working at the Roemer- and Pelizaeusmuseum in Hildesheim, Eckert continued his studies with Trimborn in Bonn. There he mainly focused on anthropological matters and completed his Ph D thesis in 1935. Furthermore, Eckert learned Spanish and did his First State Examination for History and Geography in 1936.

After working as a student teacher for the following two years, Eckert did his Second State Exam in 1938. He eventually returned to Berlin and began teaching. When World War II broke out in 1939, Eckert had to join the German army. While being member of the military meteorological service, he also began writing his habilitation thesis.

After completing his habilitation in 1942/43, Eckert was supposed to start lecturing on Ancient American cultures at the University in Bonn, but became a prisoner of war in 1944. Due to health problems he was brought to a hospital in Germany and eventually recovered.

In 1946 Eckert took up a position at the Kant College (today: House of Sciences) in Braunschweig, where he lectured on Modern History. Two years later he was appointed professor for Didactics and History at the Technical University Braunschweig.

Moreover, Eckert co-founded the Institute for International Textbook Research (today: Georg-Eckert-Institute), which connects science, educational policy and the practice of teaching. He chaired the institute since 1951 and cooperated with many institutions worldwide, such as the UNESCO and the Council of Europe.

Eckert also was honorary chairman of the Institute for Social History in Braunschweig. Furthermore, he was responsible for reviving the renowned Journal for Ethnology (Zeitschrift für Ethnologie, ZfE) after World War II. Throughout his life Eckert did important contributions to the Anthropology of America and Oceania.

Due to his many activities concerning cultural, social and political matters, Eckert received the Commander's Cross of the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany in 1972.

Georg Eckert died 7.1.1974.

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