Alfons Leon

‘When Universities Support Bullies: The Dismissal of Professor Alfons Leon, 1922-1934’

4:30pm - 6:00pm / Wednesday 17th February 2021
Type: Seminar / Category: Department
  • Admission: This is a free event
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On 6 November 1922 an engineering student who gave his name (wrongly) as Dankward Puhr, walked into the office of a teaching assistant at Graz University of Technology, without knocking. The TA’s curt instructions to ‘knock on the way out’ almost destroyed the career of the course instructor, Professor Alfons Leon. Puhr’s colleagues, members of the antisemitic German Students’ Union, challenged Leon’s TA to a duel with the intention of antagonising Leon himself, who was known for his socialist politics and his disdain for the nationalist movement. When Leon refused to allow his TA to fight the duel, the antisemites attacked Leon instead, resulting in a campaign demanding his dismissal that lasted eight years. This paper explores how the university administration responded to the antisemites’ demands, and examines why the university repeatedly supported the spurious claims of the students against one of their most respected staff.

Hosted by Dr Roland Clark

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