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Ostforschung (German: Research of the East) in general describes since the 18th century any German research of areas to the East of Germany. Since the 1990s, the Ostforschung itself is a subject of historic research, while the names of institutes etc. were changed to more specific ones. For example, the journal „Zeitschrift für Ostforschung“ was renamed to „Zeitschrift für Ostmitteleuropa-Forschung“. Traditional Ostforschung has been discredited by modern German historians.[1] Ostforschung studies were aggressively anti-Polish, and reflected tensions of Polish-German relations, while its publications were of questionable value.[1]

Ostforschung was also the name of a multi-disciplined organization set up before World War II by Albert Brackmann and several other historians and anthropologists to co-ordinate German research on Eastern Europe, mainly the Second Polish Republic. The research conducted by this organization, as well as the Ahnenerbe, was instrumental[citation needed] in the planning of ethnic cleansing and genocide of local non-German populations (see Generalplan Ost) and settlement of German colonists in order to Germanize Central and Eastern Europe.


  • Burleigh, Michael. Germany Turns Eastwards: A Study of Ostforschung in the Third Reich.
  • Auf den Spuren der Ostforschung; Eine Sammlung von Beiträgen der Arbeitsgemeinschaft zur Bekämpfung der westdeutschen "Ostforschung" beim Institut für Geschichte der europäischen Volksdemokratien, Leipzig 1962


  1. ^ a b Karin Friedrich (2006), The Other Prussia: Royal Prussia, Poland and Liberty, 1569-1772. Cambridge University Press, page 5, page 13 [1]