Preamble

Following the advent of the National Socialist regime in the year 1938, more than 2,700 mostly Jewish affiliates of the University of Vienna were dismissed and subsequently driven away and/or murdered - lecturers, students and administration employees. Furthermore, over 200 people were stripped of their academic titles.
In 2008, 70 years after the so-called "Anschluss" [annexation] and the pogroms of what came to be cynically called the "Kristallnacht" [Crystal Night], the University of Vienna commemorates this injustice and  ...

person

Walter Sokel

  • Born: 12-17-1917
  • Faculty: Faculty of Philosophy
  • Category: expelled student

Walter SOKEL, born on December 17th, 1917 in Vienna/Austria (entitled residency ('heimatberechtigt') for Vienna/Austria, Citizenship: Austria), son of Robert Sokel (banker), lived in Wien 7, Zollergasse 37, was enrolled finally in the fall term 1937/38 at the Philosophical School in the 2nd year of his studies and took courses in Romance languages and literature Studies and Philosophy.
He emigrated to the USA in 1938, could continue his studies in German Studies at the Columbia University in New York and graduated in 1953. He worked as a University Professor in the USA.

In March 2008 he was the keynotespeaker of the "70 years after the 'Anschluss'" ceremony at the University of Vienna and gave a remarkable speech >>> report | >>> speech of Prof. Sokel as mp3.

He passed away on February 21st, 2014 in San Francisco.


>>> video: interview with Walter Sokel (Doris Ingrisch, June 13, 2006) 

Lit.: obituary in New York Times 2014INGRISCH 2004, 472-481; SOKEL 2000, 23-69; Exhibition "Bedrohte Intelligenz – Von der Polarisierung und Einschüchterung zur Vertreibung und Vernichtung im NS-Regime", Vienna 2015; KNIEFACZ/POSCH 2017b; Portrait of Walter H. SOKEL in POSCH/INGRISCH/DRESSEL 2008, 345:


Walter SOKEL – Sketch of a Portrait

Born in 1917 Vienna into a banker’s family, he graduated from grammar school in 1936. He read Romance studies and art history till March of 1938. On 12 March, 1938, the anti-Semitism-conscious student realized "I cannot stay". He managed to flee to the US via Italy and Switzerland. Having worked as an errand-boy on Wall Street, he got a recommendation from Thomas Mann. This, in turn, facilitated him within the shortest time a scholarship from the Office of International Education for studies at the Rutgers University. He started out studying philosophy and history and went on to reading German studies and comparative literature at Columbia University, graduating as a Ph. D. with a thesis on literary expressionism in 1953. As early as 1946, he had started teaching at different universities. He worked as a full professor at Stanford University from 1946. Until his retirement in 1994, he held the position of Commonwealth professor of German and English philology at the University of Virginia. Married to Jacqueline P. Printz, with whom he translated a series of expressionist texts published under the title "Anthology of German Expressionist Drama. A Prelude to the Absurd", he begot daughter Shari. As she was little, he remembers, they would act out all the themes of world literature.

Walter Sokel held visiting professorships at the University of Hamburg, the University of Freiburg, the Harvard University and the University of Graz. He researched and taught the literature of the XX century, German intellectual history, the modern novel; he became famous for his work on Franz Kafka and Friedrich Nietzsche and fulfilled, as he said himself, a unifying function between cultures. Beside a series of distinctions in the US, he received the Austrian Cross of Honour for Science and Art and became an honorary doctor of the University of Graz.

Doris Ingrisch | Herbert Posch


Dokumente

Nationale of Walter Sokel, fall term 1937/38 (1st form front), Photo: H. Posch (c) Universitätsarchiv WienNationale of Walter Sokel, fall ter...
Nationale of Walter Sokel, fall term 1937/38 (1st form back), Photo: H. Posch (c) Universitätsarchiv WienNationale of Walter Sokel, fall ter...
Walter Sokel 2006, Photo: Herbert Posch, (c) Herbert PoschWalter Sokel 2006, Photo: Herbert P...
Walter Sokel 2006, Photo: Herbert Posch, (c) Herbert PoschWalter Sokel 2006, Photo: Herbert P...
Walter Sokel 2006, Photo: Herbert Posch, (c) Herbert PoschWalter Sokel 2006, Photo: Herbert P...



zuletzt aktualisiert am 15.10.2017

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