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Friedrich Katz

Essays zu Leben und Wirken eines transnationalen Historikers - Essays on the Life and Work of a Transnational Historian


Edited By Martina Kaller, David Mayer and Berthold Molden

Die in diesem Band versammelten Essays sind dem Historiker und Lateinamerikanisten Friedrich Katz (1927-2010) gewidmet. Sie fußen auf einem Symposium, das im Herbst 2011 zu seinen Ehren in Wien abgehalten wurde, und vereinen unterschiedliche Perspektiven auf sein Leben und Werk. Friedrich Katz war einer der großen Sozialhistoriker zur lateinamerikanischen Geschichte des 20. Jahrhunderts. Seine Arbeiten zur Mexikanischen Revolution zählen zu den grundlegenden Werken über dieses Thema. Er verstand es, in quellenkritischer Tiefe die Besonderheiten Mexikos in die Weltgeschichte einzuschreiben. Andererseits verschlug eben diese Weltgeschichte ihn selbst als Kind von Wien über Berlin, Paris und New York nach Mexiko, nach 1945 wieder nach Wien und Ostberlin und schließlich nach Chicago.
The essays collected in this volume are dedicated to the historian and Latin Americanist Friedrich Katz (1927-2010). They are based on a symposium held in his honour in Vienna in the autumn of 2011 and bring together varying perspectives of his life and work. As one of the great social historians of our time, Friedrich Katz had an encyclopaedic knowledge of the sources relevant to Latin America’s twentieth century history. His studies of the Mexican Revolution rank foremost among contributions to the field. More than anyone before he succeeded in relating the specifics of Mexico’s history to the broader processes of global history. That same global history impacted repeatedly on Katz’ own life: he was forced to leave Vienna as a child and moved with his family to Mexico, via Berlin, Paris and New York; he returned to Vienna after 1945 only to leave again for East Berlin before finally settling in Chicago.


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Friedrich Katz: Versatile historian and Mexican by adoption Javier Garciadiego


Friedrich Katz, who died on October 16, 2010, belonged to that rare breed of historians with a truly global reputation. He had to his credit two genuine clas- sics of the historiography of the Mexican Revolution: The Secret War in Mexi- co1 and The Life and Times of Pancho Villa.2 From the countless instances of worldwide recognition of his academic work let me mention only the very last one, his nomination as Honorary President of the XIIIth Conference of Mexican, US, and Canadian Historians, held at Querétaro in October 2010. Though he ac- cepted this honour with his usual humility his poor health prevented him from taking part in the conference. In the event he was to die ten days before it opened. Friedrich Katz’ life matched the cosmopolitanism of the diplomatic his- tory that underlies his view of the Mexican Revolution. Nowhere is this more evident that in his empathetic biography of Pancho Villa, whose turbulent child- hood and early youth mirrored his own and for whom he had a great deal of ad- miration. Friedrich Katz came from Vienna. His journalist father, Leo Katz, had been critical of Hitler and the Nazis, so when Hitler rose to power in Germany in 1933, the family fled to France, only to be expelled at the beginning of World War II. The parents and their only son moved to New York. As their tourist visa expired after a year and a return to Europe would have been life threatening for...

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