Short Portrait: Paul Leser

Paul Leser
Paul Leser

Paul Leser was born in Frankfurt/Main in 1899, where his father held a high juridical position. Leser spent his childhood and youth in Frankfurt and attended school there.

In 1919 Leser took up his studies of Anthropology at the university in Bonn. He graduated in 1925.

He was amongst the founding members of the Gesellschaft für Völkerkunde (1929), which later became Deutsche Gesellschaft für Völkerkunde (GAA).

Between 1929 and 1933 he was lecturing at the University of Technology in Darmstadt. His major work on several forms of ploughs was published in 1931.
An opponent to the Nazi regime, Leser fled Germany in 1936. After living in Sweden for a couple of years, he migrated to the US in 1942. There he lectured at several universities.

Between 1952 and 1967 Leser held a professorship for Anthropology at the University in Hartford, Connecticut. Moreover, he held visiting professorships at the universities in Cologne (1958) and Vienna (1966/67).

Paul Leser died in Hartford, Conn. (USA) in 1984.

(Text written by Vincenz Kokot in March 2012, based on, and Ingrid Kreide-Damani (2010) Ethnologie im Nationalsozialismus - Julius Lips und die Geschichte der "Völkerkunde". Wiesbaden: Reichert, pg 56; photo source:

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