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Digital time travel

Monday, 13 March 2023, Im Fokus

438 years University of Graz: New website tells the story from the foundation until today

Let's go on a journey through time: Founded in 1585, the first winter semester at the Jesuit University of Graz started in autumn 1586. The only nine-year-old "Ferdinandus", later Emperor Ferdinand II and son of the university's founder Archduke Charles II, was the first to enrol in the register. In the meantime, 437 years have passed and the University of Graz is telling its story on a new, constantly growing internet platform under the title "UniGraz_1585-tomorrow".

University history viewed critically
"The starting point for our 'critical university history' was a research project on denazification at the University of Graz some years ago. At that time it became clear that the way the university presented its history was not satisfactory. We were also concerned with the fractures, lines of conflict and the 'difficult phases', with what people like to write over," described project leader Gerald Lamprecht. Together with Rector Peter Riedler, Lamprecht presented the new website in the historic reading room of the University of Graz on 9 March 2023. "It is important that we deal with our history," Riedler emphasised in his opening words. "I would like to thank the entire project team around Gerald Lamprecht for the comprehensive and contemporary preparation of the topics and history of our alma mater ."

The National Socialist era plays an important role in this. The National Socialist seizure of power in Austria and the invasion of German troops on 12 March 1938 marked the beginning of the Hitler regime's reign of terror in the Alpine Republic. Immediately after the "Anschluss", the University of Graz was politically integrated and lecturers were systematically dismissed along racial and political lines.

The approximately 50 Jewish students, who had already been subjected to fierce anti-Semitism at the university, were expelled step by step and completely excluded from the university by autumn 1938 at the latest. For them, a time of privation and uncertainty began, of constant threat and worry for family members. While many managed to escape, others fell victim to the Shoa. Of some students, the fate after 1938 remains unknown. Very few returned to the university or the city of Graz after 1945. The university history website is intended to remember and memorialise them. Translated with www.DeepL.com/Translator (free version)

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