"History of the Kaiser Wilhelm Society
in the National Socialist Era"
Prof. Dr. Reinhard Rürup
Technical University of Berlin
Prof. Dr. Dr. h. c. Wolfgang Schieder
University of Cologne
- Prof. Dr. Jochen A. Frowein, Max Planck Institute for Comparative Public Law and International Law, Heidelberg
- Prof. Dr. Doris Kaufmann, University of Bremen
- Prof. Dr. Hartmut Lehmann,' Max Planck Institute for History, Göttingen
- Prof. Dr. Jürgen Renn, Max Planck Institute for the History of Science, Berlin
- Prof. Dr. Hans-Jörg Rheinberger, Max Planck Institute for the History of Science, Berlin
- Prof. Dr. Fritz Stern, Columbia University, New York
- Prof. Dr. Michael Stolleis, Max Planck Institute für Europäische Rechtsgeschichte, Frankfurt/Main
- Prof. Dr. Paul Weindling, Oxford Brookes University, Oxford
- Prof. Dr. Dr. h. c. Franz E. Weinert, Max Planck Institute for Psychological Research, Munich
- Prof. Dr. Dr. h. c. Rüdiger Wolfrum, Max Planck Institute for Comparative Public Law and International Law, Heidelberg
With approval of the administrative council and the senate of the Max Planck Society the Presidential Commission was established by the society's president in 1997. The commission is headed by two historians, who are not members of the Max Planck Society: Prof. Dr. Reinhard Rürup (Technical University of Berlin) and Prof. Dr. Dr. h. c. Wolfgang Schieder (University of Cologne).
The occasion of the Max Planck Society's 50th anniversary constituted the background for the foundation of an independent commission investigating the history of the Kaiser Wilhelm Society under National Socialism. The Kaiser Wilhelm Society's past as the predecessor organisation and especially its connections to the NS-Regime are regarded as an integral part of the Max Planck Society's past as well.
The relation of the Kaiser Wilhelm Society to the NS-Regime, the scientific and political conduct of its representatives and scientists during the period of National Socialism, and finally the consequences of this conduct for the Max Planck Society are to be investigated and eventually published as completely as possible, without any constraints or institutional bias. For this reason independent historians were entrusted with the direction of the commission and the guidance of its work, while external historians of science were engaged for leading and implementing the research program itself.
The five-year research program of the Presidential Commission "History of the Kaiser Wilhelm Society in the National Socialist Era" started with an international Conference in March 1999 reviewing current research and giving interpretive perspectives on the History of Science in National Socialism.