German Society for Mammalian Biology


The Society was founded under the name "Deutsche Gesellschaft für Säugetierkunde" in Berlin in 1926. It is the second-eldest scientific society for the study of mammalogy in the world. Their founders HERMANN POHLE, KURT OHNESORGE and MAX HILZHEIMER had an open, democratic society in mind, the main task of which should have been the promotion of mammalogy in all directions and through all means. The openness for all social levels was reflected by the composition of the board of the society: one of the early presidents was director of a bank, another a president of a regional court. Mammalogists from Russia and the United States published in the early volumes of the newly founded "Zeitschrift für Säugetierkunde" as weIl as European mammalogists. After a flourishing period of a few years, in which the society turned into a center of mammal research in central Europe, the national politics in Germany since 1933 gradually began to influence the further development of the society. The political alignment by the Nazi-party was not accepted without resistance, but on a long run the ideals of the founders were undermined. The demand to replace the okapi in the symbol of the society by a "German mammal" was not followed. From 1941 on military service, repression and political murder paralized many members of the society, which was provisionally kept running by HERMANN POHLE. The reactivation of the German Society of Mammalogists after the war in 1950 and a shift of the business office from East to West Germany in 1956 resulted in a new boom of the society but also caused political conflict between the members in the East and West. Nevertheless the post-war development of the society led to a productive period of mammal research in Germany, during which the journal of the society also gained international respect. (by R. Hutterer 2001)


A summary (in German) of our society's history can be found here.