Heinz A. Richter

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Heinz A. Richter
Born 18 March 1939 (1939-03-18) (age 79)
Heilbronn, Germany
Occupation Historian; professor; author
Language German; Greek
Nationality German
Subject World War II in the Balkans; history of modern Greece; modern history of Cyprus

Heinz A. Richter (born 18 March 1939) is a German historian, known for his work on the history of World War II in the Balkans, the history of modern Greece and the modern history of Cyprus.


Heinz A. Richter was born on 18 March 1939, in Heilbronn, in northern Baden-Württemberg, Germany. He started reading Greek mythology at a very young age and, in high school, his professor of History "excited his interest for classical Greek antiquity."[1] Richter studied History, Political Science and English Literature at the Heidelberg University. He was professor of Greek and Cypriot modern history at the University of Mannheim from 1991 up to 2003.

In his book Griechenland im Zweiten Weltkrieg 1939-1941, Richter provided a narrative account of the war in the Balkans from the Greek and Allied side, using published sources only.[2]

Richter has commented also on the current state of the affairs of Greece,[3] as well as Cyprus.[4]


In November 2014, the University of Crete awarded Richter with a honoris Ph.D. for his historical work. The award provoked protests by some Greek historians and other academics who claimed that Richter, in his work, has "smeared" the reputation of Cretan resistance and assigned "noble incentives" to the Nazi invaders. Additionally, in an interview Richter gave to the Greek newspaper Kathimerini, he spoke of the destruction brought upon Greek islands and villages by "the Germans, the Italians, the communists and the nationalists", which some Greek commentators viewed as "moral relativism," assigning equal weight to the actions of the occupation forces and the local Greek guerrillas.[5]

Richter rejected all the accusations against his work, stating that his duty as a historian is to relate what he "believe[s] to be the historical truth,"[6] and defending the point he made that "until Operation Mercury, World War Two had been a relatively 'clean' war, with both sides respecting the laws of war."[6] The university's authorities initially declined the appeals made by Greek politicians and academics and rejected the claims of bias.[5] Εventually, and after a formal, intra-university appeal,[7] the university decided to remove his title in 2016.[8]

Richter stated that he feels "honored" to be only the second German academic to ever have his academic title removed, the first being, as he claimed, Thomas Mann by the Nazis.[8]


In November 2015, Athens' public prosecutor indicted Richter under Art. 2 of "anti-racist" and "hate speech" law 4285/2014, for "denying Nazi crimes against the people of Crete."[9] On 10 February 2016, Richter, after being tried in absentia, was found innocent of all charges.[9]


In 2000, Richter was presented by the Greek President Kostis Stephanopoulos, for his "exceptional acts, which raised the international prestige of Greece," with the Gold Cross of the Order of the Phoenix.[10][11]

Selected works[edit]

  • Griechenland: zwischen Revolution und Konterrevolution 1936–1946 (Greece: Between revolution and counter-revolution 1936-1946), Europäische Verlagsanstalt, Frankfurt, 1973; Δύo επαvαστάσεις και αvτεπαvαστάσεις στηv Eλλάδα 1936–1946 (Two revolutions and counter-revolutions in Greece 1936-1946), Exantas, Athens, 1977
  • British Intervention in Greece: From Varkiza to Civil War, February 1945 – August 1946, Merlin Press, London, 1986; Η επέμβαση τωv Άγγλωv στηv Ελλάδα: Από τη Βάρκιζα στov Eμφύλιo Πόλεμo, Hestia, Athens, 1997
  • Griechenland im Zweiten Weltkrieg, August 1939 – Juni 1941 (Greece in the Second World War, August 1939 - June 1941) Syndikat, Bodenheim, 1997; Η Ιταλο–γερμανική επίθεση εναντίον της Ελλάδος (The Italian-German attack against Greece), Govostis, Athens, 1998–1999
  • Operation Merkur: Die Eroberung der Insel Kreta im Mai 1941 (Operation Mercury: The Conquest of Crete in May 1941), Rutzen, Ruhpolding, 2011; Η μάχη της Κρήτης (The battle of Crete), Govostis, Athens, 2011


  1. ^ Interview with prof. Dr. Heinz A. Richter, Hypervasi, 3 July 2012 (in Greek)
  2. ^ Hancock, Eleanor & Craig Stockins. Swastika over the Acropolis: Re-interpreting the Nazi Invasion of Greece in World War II, Brill, 2013, ISBN 978-9004254572
  3. ^ Richter, Heinz A. "Athener Klientelismus: Die politische Kultur Griechenlands und die Wurzel der Schuldenkrise" ("Athenian clientelism: The political culture of Greece and the root of the debt crisis"), in Lettre International magazine, #096, Spring 2012. Retrieved 24 February 2015.(in German)
  4. ^ Richter, Heinz A. "Die Troika versteht Zypern nicht" ("The troika does not understand Cyprus"), Handelszeitung, 14 August 2012 (in German)
  5. ^ a b "Richter earthquake in Crete", Ethnos newspaper, 21 November 2014 (in Greek)
  6. ^ a b "The science of History in the defendant's stand", Kathimerini, 5 December 2015 (in Greek)
  7. ^ "Appeal against the honoris award to Mr. H. Richter" by Dimitris Xenakis, Assistant Professor of International Politics, and Dimitris Kotroyannos, Professor of Philosophy, 19 May 2016 (in Greek)
  8. ^ a b "The honoris doctoral title to Richter has been removed", Kathimerini, 27 May 2016 (in Greek)
  9. ^ a b "German historian Heinz Richter innocent in the trial about the Battle of Crete book", CNN Greece, 10 February 2016 (in Greek)
  10. ^ "Heinz Richter: the first person indicted under Art.2 of the anti-racism law", Law News, 15 December 2015 (in Greek)
  11. ^ "Anti-racism law vs. Heinz Richter" by Mihalis Mitsos, I Avgi, (in Greek)

External links[edit]