Short Portrait: Lucian Scherman

Lucian Scherman
Lucian Scherman

* 10. Oktober 1864 in Posen; † 29. Mai 1946 in Hanson, Massachusetts

Lucian Scherman was born in Posen (today: Poznan, Poland) in 1864. His father was a merchant. After visiting school in Breslau (today: Wrocław, Poland) and Posen he took up his studies in 1882.

At the University in Breslau Scherman took classes on Sanskrit. Adolf Friedrich Stenzler was his teacher. In 1883 he moved to Munich, where he continued his studies. In 1885 he finished his Ph D thesis.

In 1893 Scherman completed his habilitation thesis on indian literature and began lecturing at the university in Munich. Im 1901 he took up a professorship and not only taught Sanskrit but lectured on Indian Culture and History. Moreover, Scherman became responsible for the Bavarian Ethnographic Collection and organized its new residence, the later Ethnological Museum.

In 1910/11 Scherman and his wife did research trip to Sri Lanka, Myanmar and India. During the following years he became a renowned expert for the indian subcontinent. He held a professorship for Anthropology of Asia at the university in Munich since 1916. Moreover, Scherman became a member of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences (Bayerische Akademie der Wissenschaften) in 1912.

In 1933 Scherman was forced into retirement, due to his jewish descent. Throughout the following years he and his family suffered from the oppressions by the Nazi regime. Scherman and his wife migrated to the US in 1939, where Schermann continued his scientific work. After World War II (and shortly before his death) Schermann was rehabilitated.

Lucian Shermann died in Hanson, Massachusetts, in 1946.

(Text written by Vincenz Kokot in January 2012, based on an article at; photo source: