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  ...


Otto Karl Josef Zdansky

  • Born: 11-28-1894
  • Faculty: Faculty of Philosophy
  • Category: deprivation of academic degree

Otto Karl Josef ZDANSKY (born on November 28th, 1894 in Vienna), had graduated at the Philosophical School at the University of Vienna in Paleontology on March 21st, 1921 with the academic degree 'Dr. phil.' (dissertation: 'Über die Temporalregion des Schildkrötenschädels').

From 1921 on Zdansky directed the excavations of the geological institute in China in the Lower cave of Zhoukoudian, where several skulls of 400.000 to 500.000 years old fossiles of the Homo genus were found by the end of the 1920ies. As assistant to Johan Gunnar Andersson he discovered a fossil tooth of the "Peking Man" in 1921, another one in 1926 - he described both in the  Bulletin of the Geological Survey, China, as teeth of a fossil species of the Homo genus. Later they were categorized as Homo erectus.

In times of Nazism he was deprived of his academic degree with the racist argument, that he as a Jew was not considered dignified an academic degree of a German university ('eines akademischen Grades einer deutschen Hochschule unwuerdig').  

Otto Zdansky died in 1988.

It took 68 years since the deprivation – and a very long time since the end of Nazism – until the regranting of the doctorate took finally place in 2008 (posthumously).

Lit.: POSCH 2009, 275, 497f.; MORGAN/LUCAS 2002, 21-23.

Katharina Kniefacz and Herbert Posch


Otto Zdansky (c) Museum of Natural History, Bulletin Nr. 19, 2002 [[]Otto Zdansky (c) Museum of Natural ...
Otto Zdansky, (c) Odile JacquinOtto Zdansky, (c) Odile Jacquin...

zuletzt aktualisiert am 04.07.2019

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