The University was established at Hamburg in the British Zone of Occupation in March 1946, with aid from UNRRA, the Lutheran World Federation, and other groups. In early 1947, it was moved to a former Luftwaffe barracks in Pinneberg (Eggerstedt-Kaserne) and renamed the Displaced Person's Study Centre. The Estonian astronomer Ernst Öpik became its first rector, and later the Lithuanian archaeologist, Jonas Puzinas, became head of the institution. Because many of the staff and students had found homes in other countries, the University was closed in September 1949.
A total of 76 students graduated from the Baltic University in its short existence: 53 of them were Latvian, 16 Lithuanian, and 7 Estonian. Many others went on to complete their studies at other universities. Three student fraternities, Fraternitas Imantica, Gersicania and Fraternitas Cursica, were founded in Pinneberg.
"The Baltic DP university with about 170 professors on the teaching staff and 1,200 students in eight faculties and 13 subdivisions has been running for three semester."
- "50 Year Anniversary of the Baltic University in Exile". Washington University- Baltic Fund News. Retrieved 2007-04-16.
- Baltic Refugees and Displaced Persons. London: Boreas Publishing. 1947.
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