Academic clubhouse

1929-1945

From 1929 to 1945, Harnack House was the clubhouse of the Kaiser Wilhelm Society (KWG), the precursor to the Max Planck Society. It was a service center for the surrounding campus and a guest house for scientists visiting from abroad. Following the First World War, Germany lost its position as a scientific and academic leader and was excluded from the scientific community. As a result, Harnack House played a role in foreign policy during the Weimar Republic. Even after the Nazis seized power in 1933, Harnack House retained a clear international focus. The connections to the international scientific community remained up until the Second World War broke out; indeed, the National Socialist regime also used Harnack House as a foreign-policy tool – a platform for its relations with friendly nations.

In 1929, the Kaiser Wilhelm Society (KWG) founded Harnack House to provide guest accommodation for foreign scientists and as a meeting venue for the Dahlem-based Institutes. more
Most Jewish researchers and those of Jewish ancestry were expelled from the Dahlem Institutes from 1933 onwards. A significant number of Harnack House’s regular guests were therefore lost. Only those who held a foreign passport, like Lise Meitner, were initially able to stay and remained welcome at Harnack House. more
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