Photo credit: Staatliche Schlösser und Gärten Baden-Württemberg

President of the Federal Archives Receives Honorary Professorship from the University of Mannheim

The University of Mannheim has a new honorary professor: On Tuesday, 30 March 2021, Dr. Michael Hollmann, President of the Federal Archives, was appointed honorary professor at the suggestion of the School of Humanities. He was honored for his outstanding academic achievements as a researcher, teacher, and archivist.

For the School of Humanities and the Department of History of the University of Mannheim, where Hollmann teaches his students skills in working with digital and analog archival methods, his appointment as honorary professor means a consolidation of the good relations with the Federal Archives as the key authority responsible for preserving the national memory. The Federal Archives are the largest and most important archive in Germany, acting as a central analog and digital repository of state and national lore. For example, the Federal Archives recently took over the state security files of the former Stasi Documentation Authority, thus underlining once more its social importance for cultivating a culture of remembrance in dealing with the injustice committed by the former SED.

However, Prof. Dr. Hollmann is not only the President of the Federal Archives and thus Germany's leading archivist, he is also a renowned historian and medievalist.
His doctoral thesis on “Das Mainzer Domkapitel im späten Mittelalter“ (The Mainz Cathedral Chapter in the Late Middle Ages) was a benchmark work on the subject. As editor of the files of the Parliamentarischer Rat and the cabinet minutes of the federal government in the Adenauer era, he has conducted important basic research on the history of West German democracy. At the same time, he has produced fundamental research and publications on archival studies as well as on the challenges of digital archiving.

As if that were not enough, Prof. Dr. Hollmann also performs outstandingly in teaching: For several years, he has been teaching students at the School of Humanities important skills in the application of archival and digital methods. His courses, which he held using material directly from the Federal Archives until the current pandemic began, are extremely popular with students, especially since the President, as Germany's chief archivist, goes down into the stacks with the students in person.

“The appointment of Mr. Hollmann as honorary professor is a lucky find for us,” says Prof. Dr. Philipp Gassert, dean of the School of Humanities. “Mr. Hollmann is not only an excellently qualified archivist and researcher, as a teacher he also enormously adds to the teaching of contemporary history at the University of Mannheim.”