Erich Schelling under National Socialism
In 1992, Trude Schelling-Karrer (1919-2009) had the opportunity to set up an architecture foundation. With Prof. Dr. Heinrich Klotz – founding director of the Deutsches Architekturmuseum in Frankfurt in 1984 – an architecture expert came to Karlsruhe in 1988 who was able to support Trude Schelling-Karrer’s interest in architecture and publicly represent it. He recommended to “foster the seminally significant spreading substantiated knowledge”, i.e. to promote architecture and architectural theory together.
The Karlsruhe architect Erich Schelling was 15 years older than Trude Schelling-Karrer and died in 1986. The widow wanted to name the foundation after her late husband. She was devoted to him as a wife and, as far as we know, did not doubt his “dignity”.
After the death of Trude Schelling-Karrer, the history of the foundation and Erich Schelling’s activities during the Nazi era were reworked in the context of a new website.
This past was not new – Wolfgang Voigt was already doing research and later published on it (Deutsche Architekten im Alsace 1940-44. Wasmuth 2012).
In addition, in 2009 the foundation hired the historian Dr. Holger Köhn (Office for Remembrance Culture, Darmstadt) to deal more deeply with the work of Erich Schelling during this time. You can find the 17-page report here:
Current discourses on renaming streets, institutions and foundations open up new perspectives on the relevance of historical events and personalities. That’s good. The foundation attaches great importance to the greatest possible transparency and, since it was founded 30 years ago, has shown a thematic orientation that is internationally recognized and pursued in accordance with the professional standards designed by Prof. Heinrich Klotz.
It goes without saying that a general reassessment of the architects activity under National Socialism is pending. History is a living science, and the Foundation will continue to be active in line with its stated aim of spreading well-founded knowledge and will also support Nazi research. At the end of his report, Holger Köhn states:
When assessing the “dignity” of Erich Schelling, it will be a matter of evaluating his work during the Nazi era, as described above.”