In August 1944 Turkey severed diplomatic relations with Germany. Despite the order to leave the country immediately, some five hundred German citizens refused to return to their homeland. Among them was one of the most prominent German architects of those years: Paul Bonatz (1877–1956). Having abandoned his country neither for political nor for racist reasons and having been commissioned for numerous projects in the Third Reich, Bonatz can hardly be integrated into the context of German émigré architects of the Nazi times. The dilemma increases with the problem of pigeonholing his ambiguous personality and confusingly broad oeuvre into a certain scheme, and thus Bonatz so far has been widely ignored in the historiography of architecture. This article tries to help fill this gap by telling the barely studied story of the final phase of Bonatz's career. While he soon was a highly influential adviser and university teacher at the edge of Europe, Bonatz felt unwelcome in his own country after the end of World War II, and it took him until 1954 to return permanently to his homeland. The case of Paul Bonatz, who wandered between two worlds for nearly eleven years, is an exceptionally interesting one in the little-studied field of remigration to Germany after the Nazis' reign.
Skip Nav Destination
Roland May; Remigration: Postponed. The Architect Paul Bonatz between Turkey and Germany. New German Critique 1 November 2009; 36 (3 (108)): 1–38. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/0094033X-2009-009
Download citation file: