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Heinrich Zimmer, Nazi Racial Politics and the University of Heidelberg, 1933–1938

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Dr. Baijayanti Roy
Room G3, Ground Floor, Senate House, Malet Street, London WC1E 7HU

This talk examines the grey zones that exist between the established paradigms of persecution and exile in the ‘Third Reich’, as demonstrated by the trajectory of the Indologist Heinrich Zimmer (1890–1943). Zimmer, who taught at the University of Heidelberg, lost his teaching license in 1938 since his wife Christiane was classified as a Mischling (mixed race) by the Nazi regime. He tried to battle his fate by offering diverse political capital to the Nazi political establishment and by counting on some sympathetic colleagues. Zimmer was able to flee Germany with his family in 1939.

Baijayanti Roy is a postdoctoral researcher affiliated to the University of Frankfurt. Her monograph, The Making of a Gentleman Nazi: Albert Speer’s Politics of History in the Federal Republic of Germany was published in 2016. Another monograph, The Nazi Study of India and Indian Anti-Colonialism: Knowledge Providers and Propagandists in the ‘Third Reich’, will be published by Oxford University Press. She has published and spoken on different subjects including Nazi Germany, German Indology and the historical relationship between Germany and India.


This season’s lecture series Outsiders in German-Jewish History seeks to uncover the shared experiences of individuals and communities who found themselves on the margins of society. Transcending both time and geography, talks will offer different perspectives on the resilience and tenacity of those who have grappled with the challenges of being outsiders. How have they found identity and a sense of belonging in societies that have not understood or even accepted them?

Organised by the Leo Baeck Institute London in cooperation with the German Historical Institute London.

Admission is free. Lectures will begin promptly at 6.00pm. Latecomers may not be admitted.

Lectures will be held in Bloomsbury, London W1. Places are strictly limited and must be reserved by contacting the Leo Baeck Institute London at [email protected]

Lectures will also be streamed live on Zoom. Links will be advertised closer to the dates of individual events in our lecture announcements via email, social media and on our website. To participate online and to register your booking please follow the instructions provided in those communications.


Overview of the 2024 Lecture Series