Wolfgang Krause (18 September 1895, Steglitz – 14 August 1970, Göttingen) was a German linguist. He specialised initially in Celtic studies and the Tokharians, later in Old Norse and especially runology.
Education and career
Krause studied Classical Philology and Indo-Germanic Studies at the Universities of Berlin and Göttingen, from 1914 to 1920. In 1929 he took over the chair in Linguistics at the University of Königsberg, where his research focussed on mediaeval Scandinavian culture, particularly the runes. In 1937, he moved to the University of Göttingen and in 1938 set up an institute for runological research there. In 1940, troubled by the dwindling resources for independent academic institutions in wartime, he placed it under the sponsorship of the SS cultural and educational organisation, the Ahnenerbe, and it became the Zentralstelle des Ahnenerbes für Runenforschung (Central Location of the Ahnenerbe for Runic Research), which distinguished it from a similar institute directed by Krause's rival Helmut Arntz. In 1943, he was made Director of the Runic Division of the Ahnenerbe; however, his institute was renamed the Lehr- und Forschungsstätte für Runen- und Sinnbildkunde (Teaching and Research Institute for Runic and Symbological Studies) and he was forced to accept as assistant director for Symbology Karl Theodor Weigel, whom he had long criticised as a dilettante, and who outranked him in the Ahnenerbe despite having never completed his doctorate.
Krause never became a member of the Nazi party, and remained in his position after the Second World War ended. In 1950, the Norse Study Section which he headed was combined with his Institute for Runic Studies to form a Scandinavian Department and he was named its director. He simultaneously remained head of the Linguistics Department. In 1963 he became professor emeritus, after which the directorship of the two departments was again divided. On his 70th birthday, students at the University of Göttingen honoured him with a torchlight procession.
Krause had an eye ailment from early childhood. During the 1930s, his sight deteriorated considerably, and in the postwar years he became completely blind. He used Braille texts and in deciphering runic inscriptions, was assisted by his wife, Agnes. Students of his such as Hertha Marquardt also received stipends to assist him.
- Die Wortstellung in den zweigliedrigen Wortverbindungen. Dissertation, Göttingen 1920
- Die Frau in der Sprache der altisländischen Familiengeschichte. Habilitation thesis, 1923
- Die Kelten. Tübingen 1929
- Was man in Runen ritzte. Halle 1935
- Runeninschriften im älteren Futhark. Halle 1937, rev. ed. Göttingen 1966
- Das irische Volk: Seine rassischen und kulturellen Grundlagen. Göttingen 1940
- Westtocharische Grammatik. Heidelberg 1952
- Handbuch des Gotischen. Munich 1953, 3rd ed. 1968
- Tocharisches Elementarbuch volume 1, Grammatik. Heidelberg 1960
- "Zum Namen des Lachses". In Nachrichten der Akademie der Wissenschaften in Göttingen, philologisch-historische Klasse, Göttingen 1961, pp. 83–89
- Runen. Berlin 1970
- Die Sprache der urnordischen Runeninschriften. Heidelberg 1971
- Fritz Paul, Zur Geschichte der Skandinavistik an der Georg-August-Universität Göttingen: Eine vorläufige Skizze, Skandinavisches Seminar, Georg-August-Universität Göttingen, 1985, retrieved 1 September 2010. (German)
- Bernard Thomas Mees, The Science of the Swastika, Budapest: Central European University Press, 2008, ISBN 963-9776-18-1, p. 180.
- The Institut für Runenforschung (Institute for Runic Research) at the University of Gießen, established in 1939: Gerd Simon with Dagny Guhr and Ulrich Schermaul, Chronologie Arntz, Helmut, 20 July 2007, revised 26 September 2007, retrieved 1 September 2010 (pdf), p. 3. (German)
- According to Mees, p. 181, Krause reported on Arntz' activities to the Ahnenerbe.
- Michael H. Kater, Das 'Ahnenerbe' der SS 1935–1945, Stuttgart: Deutsche Verlags-Anstalt, 1974, ISBN 3-421-01623-2, 4th ed. Munich: Oldenbourg, ISBN 3-486-56529-X, pp. 196–97 (German); Kater uses "the internationally respected runologist" Krause as an example of academics placing themselves under the wing of the Ahnenerbe out of a need to preserve themselves and their work after the war began.
- However, Mees, p. 181, points to his own work in pre-runic ideographs and says that while he "reserv[ed] his approbation for amateur advocates of ideographic studies", he "accommodat[ed] previously amateur adherents to Wirth's theories within German academia".
- According to Paul, he used his limited sight as an excuse. "Auf Anfrage . . . nach seiner Parteimitgliedschaft konnte Krause kühl antworten, daß er zwar 'der NSV, dem RLB sowie der Kreisgemeinschaft des Deutschen Roten Kreuzes' angehöre: 'Die Mitgliedschaft der anderen wichtigen Gliederungen der Partei verbietet sich mir wegen meines Augenleidens und der sich daraus ergebenden Hemmnisse.'" (To the question . . . of his membership in the party, Krause was able to coolly respond that he did belong to "the National Socialist People's Welfare, the Reich Air Defence Corps, and also the local branch of the Red Cross . . . Membership in the other important divisions of the party is ruled out on account of my eye ailment and the limitations resulting from it".)
- Mees, p. 263.
- Günter Neumann, "Wolfgang Krause", in Göttinger Gelehrte: Die Akademie der Wissenschaften zu Göttingen in Bildnissen und Würdigungen 1751-2001, ed. Karl Arndt, Gerhard Gottschalk and Rudolf Smend, Göttingen: Wallstein, 2001, ISBN 3-89244-485-4, p. 486. (German)
- Indogermanica: Festschrift für Wolfgang Krause: Zum 65. Geburtstage am 18. September 1960 von Fachgenossen und Freunden dargebracht. Heidelberg: Winter, 1960. OCLC 5664269
- Ulrich Hunger. Die Runenkunde im Dritten Reich: Ein Beitrag zur Wissenschafts- und Ideologiegeschichte des Nationalsozialismus. Frankfurt: Lang, 1984. ISBN 3-8204-8072-2