Albrecht von Blumenthal

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Albrecht von Blumenthal (10 August 1889 – 28 March 1945) was a German Classicist.

Early life[edit]

Albrecht von Blumenthal was born in Staffelde in the Uckermark, from a Prussian noble family. He was nominated by the Kaiser Wilhelm I as a Rhodes Scholar studying Classics at Lincoln College (Oxford University) in 1909. In 1913 his dissertation Hellanicea: De Atlantiade was approved at the University of Halle.

World War I[edit]

He volunteered as a trooper in the Second Heavy Cavalry at the outbreak of the First World War and was commissioned in the field after a few months. In the Second Battle of Champagne he was captured by the French and imprisoned in Corté, Corsica. After a failed escape attempt he was punished with solitary confinement in conditions where he contracted tuberculosis. After a spell on a hospital ship, which gave him his first and only glimpse of the Aegean, he was invalided home via Davos in an exchange of prisoners in 1917. Here he was reunited with his English wife Wilhelmine and briefly made the acquaintance of Lenin.


After the war he taught at Jena University until 1922. He produced research on Aeschylus, Archilochus and Hellanicus of Lesbos. From 1927 he contributed articles to the Realencyclopädie der classischen Altertumswissenschaft. In 1928 he was nominated as an auxiliary Professor at Jena. In 1938 he was appointed full professor at Giessen University in the chair of Rudolf Herzog. The same year, he and his brother Robert allowed Dietrich Bonhoeffer to use their estate at Staffelde to run an illegal Lutheran seminary. In 1940 he was appointed to a residential teaching professorship. Such office holders were expected to join the National Socialist Party, which he did that year. However, he took little part in its activities and never rose to any significant rank in the party.


He was a conservative and patriotic German and he found it impossible to imagine life in an occupied fatherland. In February 1945 von Blumenthal fled with his second wife from the advancing American Army to Marburg and there, under a suicide pact, took the life of his wife and himself with his service pistol, on an upturned cart outside No. 12 Moltkestrasse on the 28th of March.


Albrecht von Blumenthal belonged to the Stefan George Set, to which he introduced Alexander Schenk Graf von Stauffenberg and his brothers Claus Schenk Graf von Stauffenberg and Berthold Schenk Graf von Stauffenberg, to whom he was close and to whom he dedicated one of his works.

von Blumenthal had two sons by his first marriage, who repudiated Nazism and joined the British Army, both serving in MI6. His cousin Hans-Jürgen was hanged for his part in Stauffenberg's July Plot.


  • Hans Georg Gundel Die Klassische Philologie an der Universität Gießen im 20. Jh., in: Heinz Hungerland (Hrsg.), Ludwigs-Universität – Justus Liebig-Hochschule, 1607–1957. Festschrift zur 350-Jahrfeier, Giessen 1957, S. 192–221 (zu Blumenthal: S. 201–202).
  • Wolfgang Schuller: Altertumswissenschaftler im George-Kreis: Albrecht von Blumenthal, Alexander von Stauffenberg, Woldemar von Uxkull, in: Bernhard Böschenstein (Hrsg.), Wissenschaftler im George-Kreis. Die Welt des Dichters und der Beruf der Wissenschaft, Berlin/Hildesheim/New York 2005, S. 209–224.

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