Menu Expand
Two Lives in Uncertain Times

Two Lives in Uncertain Times

Wilma Iggers | Georg Iggers†


Additional Information

Book Details


Published in Association with the German Historical Institute, Washington, D.C.

Wilma and Georg Iggers came from different backgrounds, Wilma from a Jewish farming family from the German-speaking border area of Czechoslovakia, Georg from a Jewish business family from Hamburg. They both escaped with their parents from Nazi persecution to North America where they met as students. As a newly married couple they went to the American South where they taught in two historic Black colleges and were involved in the civil rights movement. In 1961 they began going to West Germany regularly not only to do research but also to further reconciliation between Jews and Germans, while at the same time in their scholarly work contributing to a critical confrontation with the German past. After overcoming first apprehensions, they soon felt Göttingen to be their second home, while maintaining their close involvements in America. After 1966 they frequently visited East Germany and Czechslovakia in an attempt to build bridges in the midst of the Cold War.

The book relates their very different experiences of childhood and adolescence and then their lives together over almost six decades during which they endeavored to combine their roles as parents and scholars with their social and political engagements. In many ways this is not merely a dual biography but a history of changing conditions in America and Central Europe during turbulent times.

Wilma Iggers, born in 1921 in Czechoslovakia, Georg Iggers† in 1926 in Hamburg both fled with their parents to North America in October 1938 to escape the Nazis. Throughout their long married life, they have sought as scholars and citizens to build bridges across racial, religious, national, and ideological lines. Wilma Iggers’ most recent positions were Professor of German at Canisius College (Buffalo), 1965-1991, since then Professor emerita, Her publications include Karl Kraus, A Viennese Cultural Critic of the Twentieth Century (1967) and Women of Prague (Berghahn 1995). 

Reactions to the German edition:

“What among the advantages of this book has to be counted is the fact that the authors were fully aware of the political and social situation during the various stages of their lives and able to reflect on it.”  · H-German (H-Net)

Georg Iggers was Professor of History at the State University of New York at Buffalo, 1965-78, Distinguished Professor 1978-1997, Distinguished Professor emeritus since 1997. His numerous publications include The Cult of Authority. The Political Philosophy of the Saint-Simonians (1958), New Directions in European Historiography (1975) and Historiography in the Twentieth Century (1997).