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Ehrmann, Henry Walter, 1908-1994



Henry (Heinrich) Walter Ehrmann, a political scientist and professor of law, was born in Berlin on October 3, 1908. He attended the French Lycée in Berlin before studying Law and Political Science at Berlin University, from which he graduated with a law degree (LL.B.) in 1929. In 1932 Ehrmann obtained a doctorate in jurisprudence at the University of Freiburg, Germany, and was appointed as a judge in Berlin.

In 1933 he was arrested by the Gestapo and sent to the Oranienburg concentration camp for his contacts with the German Social Democratic Party. Ehrmann escaped to Czechoslovakia and eventually fled to France where he was a political refugee from 1934 to 1940 and worked as a journalist, a corresponding member of the Institute for Social Research, Columbia University, New York, and an associate of the International Institute of Social History in Amsterdam. During his stay in France, Ehrmann became a member of the Neues Beginnen, a small underground anti-fascist group of German exiles. Having been interned as a German in 1940, he managed to escape with his wife (née Claire Sachs) through Spain and Portugal to the USA. After coming to the United States, Ehrmann became a research associate on the graduate faculty of the "University in Exile," the New School for Social Research in New York City (1940). Between 1941 and 1943 he was also the editor of "In Re: Germany," published monthly in New York City. From 1943 to 1947 Ehrmann served as a consultant to the Office of War Information and the War Department in Washington, DC, and lectured at re-education courses for selected German prisoners-of-war held at Forts Kearney, Getty and Wetherill, R.I., and Fort Eustis, VA. He was also in charge of the German History Department at Fort Getty, R.I.

In 1947 Ehrmann was appointed associate professor of Political Science at the University of Colorado in Boulder, where he taught until 1961. During his work at the University of Colorado, he took part in an academic freedom case connected with the non-renewal of Morris A. Judd's appointment as instructor in philosophy at the university (1952).

In 1950 Ehrmann participated in a seminar on modern France at the Institute for Advanced Studies in Princeton, NJ. Other positions he held in the 1950s include: a member of the editorial board of the American Political Science Review (1952-1956), a member of the Fulbright Awards Selection Committee (1953-1956), and a consultant to the Social Science division of UNESCO, for which he edited and co-authored a publication, "The Teaching of the Social Sciences in the United States" (1954). Ehrmann also served as a rapporteur for a conference of the International Political Science Association and edited its ensuing volume, "Interest Groups on Four Continents" (1958).

In February 1960, Ehrmann took part in the production of "The Diary of Anne Frank" at the Nomad Playhouse in Boulder, CO. In 1961 he was named Professor of the Year at Boulder. In the same year Ehrmann resigned from the University of Colorado faculty and moved to Dartmouth College in Hanover, NH, where he taught as the Joel Parker Professor of Law and Political Science until 1971. In 1969 he became involved with an academic freedom case at Dartmouth after disciplinary charges were brought against a group of students who prevented a controversial speech on race and genetics at the college ("The Shockley incident"). In 1971 Ehrmann resigned from his position in the Government Department at Dartmouth and accepted a similar post at McGill University in Montreal (1971-1973), where he also chaired a commission responsible for implementing a curriculum reform at the Faculty of Arts.

Apart from the above-mentioned schools, Ehrmann taught as a visiting professor at the University of California at Berkeley and San Diego and in various cities in France (the universities of Bordeaux, Grenoble, Nice and the Sorbonne in Paris) and Germany (the Free University of Berlin, the University of Mannheim, and the Academy of Administration in Bochum).

In 1977 Ehrmann was cited by the French government as a Chevalier de l'Ordre des Palmes Académiques. In 1978 he received an honorary doctor of laws degree from the University of Hartford in Connecticut, and in 1982 an honorary doctorate of philosophy from the University of Mannheim. Ehrmann was a member of the American Civil Liberties Union. He held awards from the Rockefeller Foundation and the Social Science Research Council. Ehrmann died in La Jolla, CA, in 1994.

His major publications include: "Der Mehrgliedrige Tarifvertrag" (1932), "German History in a New Light" (1945), "French Labor from Popular Front to Liberation" (1947), "Organized Business in France" (1957), "Interest Groups on Four Continents" (1958), "Politics in France" (1968), and "Comparative Legal Cultures" (1976).

Found in 1 Collection or Record:

Oral history interview with Henry Ehrmann.

Identifier: DOH-224
Date(s): undated

Henry Ehrmann, Joel Parker Professor of Law and Political Science and Department Chairman 1961-1987. Oral history interview documenting his career at Dartmouth College. Professor Ehrman talks about his service as government Department chairman and John Masland. He discusses his conflict with Cal Silvert. He describes the department's attempts to expand to graduate study as well as the problems in the Government Department and the College. He comments on John Dickey's administration.

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