Linkspolitische Positionierung, Marginalisierung und Emigration in der Geschichte der Ethnologie

Der Ethnologe und Asienwissenschaftler Otto Mänchen-Helfen (1894–1969)


  • Katja Geisenhainer



This article focuses on Otto Mänchen-Helfen, who has hardly been considered in the history of ethnology or cultural anthropology so far, as he was mainly regarded as a sinologist or as an art historian with a fous on Asia. In pre-senting his biography, three points are emphasized. It is shown that Mänchen-Hel-fen was definitely a representative of ethnology, who was, however, hindered in his further career by the Nazi regime. He was also active in the social democratic movement, and was one of the few in this circle who opposed colonialism and the cultural mission argument. The second emphasis in the article is to contrast his stance with other voices from the socialist and social democratic movement, among them ethnologists. The third emphasis is on the presentation of the emigration of the Mänchen family, who were forced to leave first Germany and then Austria due to Mänchen-Helfen’s political commitment and the Jewish family background of his wife Anna Mänchen, who was furthermore a psychoanalyst and a student of Anna Freud.