Hans Wehr

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Hans Wehr
Wehr in 1972
Hans Bodo Wehr

(1909-07-05)5 July 1909
Died24 May 1981(1981-05-24) (aged 71)
Academic work
InstitutionsUniversity of Münster (1957–1974)
Notable worksArabisches Wörterbuch für die Schriftsprache der Gegenwart (1952)

Hans Bodo Wehr (German pronunciation: [veːɐ̯]; 5 July 1909 – 24 May 1981)[1] was a German Arabist. He is best known for his Arabic dictionary and the system of transliteration used in it.


Wehr was born in Leipzig in 1909. He attended a gymnasium in Halle, and then studied at universities in Halle, Berlin, and Leipzig. He received his doctorate in 1935 and his habilitation in 1939.[1]

He joined the Nazi Party in 1940, and wrote an essay arguing that Germany should ally with the Arabs against England and France. He had begun work on an Arabic–German dictionary, and the project received funding from the German government, which intended to use make use of the dictionary in translating Mein Kampf into Arabic. For a time, Wehr was assisted in his project by Hedwig Klein.[2]

His dictionary, entitled Arabisches Wörterbuch für die Schriftsprache der Gegenwart, was eventually published in 1952. An English version, edited by J Milton Cowan and entitled A Dictionary of Modern Written Arabic, was published in 1961.[1] The dictionary used a new system of transliteration, which is today known as Hans Wehr transliteration.

Wehr was a professor at the University of Münster from 1957 until his retirement in 1974. He died in Münster in 1981.[1]


  1. ^ a b c d Eisenstein, H. (1981). "Hans Wehr (5. Juli 1909 bis 24. Mai 1981)". Archiv für Orientforschung (in German). 28: 283–284. JSTOR 41637807.
  2. ^ Buchen, Stefan [in German] (3 April 2018). "Hedwig Klein and "Mein Kampf": The unknown Arabist". Qantara.de. Archived from the original on 3 April 2018.