TUM consistently continues to come to terms with its history during the Nazi era

Main building of TUM
Main building of TUM


Board of Management follows the recommendations of an expert commission

As a sign of its historical responsibility, the Technical University of Munich (TUM) is removing the names of buildings and rooms that bear the names of personalities associated with Nazi history. A place of reflection will be created at a suitable location, where reference will be made to the history of the former Technische Hochschule (TH) of Munich during the Nazi era and the removal of the names will be explained. In addition, TUM is distancing itself from the six honorary doctorates, five honorary senatorial degrees, and 13 honorary citizenships awarded during the Nazi era. The Board of Management thus follows the recommendations of an independent commission of experts.

In order to continue the reappraisal of its history during the Nazi era, the President of TUM, Prof. Thomas F. Hofmann, had commissioned a commission of experts chaired by Prof. Winfried Nerdinger, the founding director of the Munich Documentation Center for the History of National Socialism, to draw up recommendations for responsible handling of the names of personalities burdened by Nazi history and to submit them to the University Board. Prof. Andreas Wirsching from LMU’s Institute of Contemporary History was also involved in the study.

President Hofmann thanks the commission for its work and final report and emphasizes: "Science must not be decoupled from ethical norms and detached from its anchoring in the rule of law. However, this was precisely the case during the National Socialist era and is at odds with the values of TUM today. We are committed to democracy and human rights as well as diversity and internationality. That is why we are sending a clear signal on how to deal with the historical events associated with our university and bring them into coherence with the values practiced at TUM today."

Concrete resolutions

The Board of Management acknowledges the work of the commission and has made the following decisions based on the recommendations:

  1. The names of the "Bestelmeyer North" and "Bestelmeyer South" buildings on Arcisstrasse will be removed. The reasons for this and the history of the former Technical University of Munich during the Nazi era will be referenced at a suitable location on the main TUM campus.
  2. The naming of rooms after Willy Messerschmitt, Gustav Niemann, Ludwig Prandtl, and Ernst Schmidt on the Garching campus will be removed. A "place of reflection" will be created at a suitable location, where the historical roles of the previous namesakes will be explained, and the history of TH Munich during the Nazi era will be addressed.
  3. Since the prevailing legal opinion is that it is not possible to formally revoke honorary titles from deceased persons, TUM will distance itself from the six honorary doctorates, five honorary senatorial degrees, and a total of 13 honorary citizenships awarded during the Nazi era. A corresponding text will be published on the TUM website, where the honorary titles are mentioned.
  4. At the "Place of Reflection", TUM will also refer to three Garching-Forschungszentrum subway station plaques commemorating Willy Messerschmitt, Claude Dornier, and Ludwig Prandtl. In addition, TUM is approaching the City of Munich and MVG to check whether and, if so, what other notices could be placed in the subway station.
  5. In the case of other persons, the commission was unable to examine their activities during the Nazi era in more detail within the timeframe of its mandate due to the insufficient archives, sources, and research situation. In order to clarify the behavior of persons associated with the TH Munich during the Nazi era, the TUM has awarded a research contract to investigate possible connections of other persons with the Nazi regime as well as persons who were awarded honorary titles between 1945 and 1960. In addition, several portrait busts and bronze plaques on the TUM Garching campus will be examined for possible connections between these people and Nazi involvement.

New place of remembrance to be opened in July

On the initiative of the TUM Senior Excellence Faculty in cooperation with the TUM Center for Culture and Arts, TUM is also setting up a new place of remembrance on its main campus to commemorate members of the former TH Munich who were persecuted and dismissed by the Nazi regime. Large-format plaques on the second floor of the Arcisstrasse/corner of Gabelsbergerstrasse 17 building will once again give a face to the victims. The documentation will be opened at a public event on Tuesday, 9 July, at 4 p.m. in the Carl-von-Linde lecture hall.