Peter Ganz

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Peter Ganz, Professor of Medieval German Language and Literature, during his last public appearance at the Anglo-German Colloquium 2005 in Somerville College, Oxford

Peter Felix Ganz (3 November 1920 in Mainz, Germany - 17 August 2006 in Oxford, England) was a German born Germanist who emigrated to Britain 1938 translated conversations of German nuclear scientists during Operation Epsilon in 1945 and became Professor at the University of Oxford.

Early life and education[edit]

Peter Ganz was the son of Dr Hermann Friedrich Ignaz Ganz and Dr Charlotte (Lotte), née Fromberg. He attended the Realgymnasium in Mainz[1] but was forced to leave it since his family was classed as Jewish. In November 1938, he was held for six weeks in the concentration camp at Buchenwald but was able to emigrate to England after that. After internment in the Isle of Man, he joined the Royal Pioneer Corps, then worked for the Combined Services Detailed Interrogation Centre (CSDIC) with Fritz Lustig.[2]


At the end of the war he worked at Farm Hall listening to the captured nuclear scientists including Heisenberg, Otto Hahn and others as the atom bomb went off .

From 1948-49 Ganz worked as Assistant Lecturer at Royal Holloway College, London and from 1949-60 as Lecturer in German Philology and Medieval Literature at Westfield College, London. From 1963-72 he was a Fellow at Hertford College, Oxford, Professor of Medieval German Language and Literature and Fellow of St Edmund Hall, Oxford 1972-85 (Emeritus) where his successor was Nigel F Palmer (until 2013);

He was a Resident Fellow, Herzog August Library, Wolfenbüttel 1985-88. He co-founded the Anglo-German Colloquium, a biennial meeting of British and German medieval Germanists, and edited the Oxford German Studies from 1978–90 and the PBB from 1976–90.

Personal life[edit]

In 1949, he married Rosemary Allen (died 1986). They had two sons: Adam Ganz (a writer who also wrote a play on his father's experiences at Farm Hall)[3] and David Ganz (until 2010 Professor of Paleography at King's College London),[4] and two daughters: Deborah Ganz and Rachel Ganz.[5] After Rosemary Allen had died in 1986, he married Nicolette Mout (Professor of Modern History) in 1987.[6]

Orders and awards[edit]

In 1973, he received the Große Bundesverdienstkreuz in acknowledgement of his services in establishing scholarly exchange between English and German Germanists, and in 1993 an honorary doctorate of the Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg.[7]

Selected publications[edit]

  • Der Einfluss des Englischen auf den deutschen Wortschatz (1957)
  • Gottfried von Strassburg's Tristan (1978)
  • editor: Dukus Horant
  • editor: Burckhardt's lectures Über das Studium der Geschichte (1982, also as volume 10 of the Kritische Gesamtausgabe, 2000)


  1. ^ "German newspaper article on the history of the Ganz family". Retrieved 25 October 2014. 
  2. ^ "News article on Fritz Lustig". Retrieved 25 October 2014.  and "Fritz Lustig's comment on a blog about Farm Hall". Ann Finkbeiner. Retrieved 1 January 2016. 
  3. ^ "Recording of the Radio Play Nuclear Reactions". Retrieved 25 October 2014. 
  4. ^ John Crace. "Guardian Article on the Retirement of David Ganz". the Guardian. Retrieved 25 October 2014. 
  5. ^ "Obituary Independent". The Independent. Retrieved 25 October 2014. 
  6. ^ "Staff page Nicolette Mout at Leiden University". Retrieved 25 October 2014. 
  7. ^ "Obituary in the Library News" (PDF). HAB Wolfenbüttel. Retrieved 25 October 2014. 

External links[edit]