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Polaczek, Ernst

    Full Name: Polaczek, Ernst

    Gender: male

    Date Born: unknown

    Date Died: unknown

    Home Country/ies: Germany


    Professor of art history and museum director.

    Polaczek was born on July 6, 1870 into a family of Jewish manufacturers in the Bohemian Reichenberg, now Liberec. After Gymnasium graduation and brief study at the Handelsakademie in Vienna he graduated secondary school in Prague in 1889. Polaczek studied at the universities of Prague, Munich and Vienna under Professors Riegl, Wickhoff and Wölfflin through 1892. In 1893 he enrolled in the University of Strasbourg in Alsace, studying under Georg Dehio. He received his doctorate in 1894. After military duty 1894-1895 he joined the monument inventory as an assistant to the Provincial Conservator of the Prussian Rhine Province under Paul Clemen. He there wrote his habilitation in Strasbourg in 1899, and the following year joined Professor Dehio as an assistant professor of art history, rising to professor in 1905. In 1913 he became an honorary professor at the University of Strasbourg. In 1907 he directed the Municipal Museum of Decorative Arts and in 1913 the Museum of Fine Arts. The armistice of the First World War resulted in his expulsion from the (now French) Alsace. Polaczek moved to Munich, writing and designing exhibitions. His special commitment was the 1920 founded “Wissenschaftlichen Institut der Elsaß-Lothringer im Reich” (Academic Institute of Alsace-Lorraine in the Reich). In 1928, he was appointed director of the Oberlausitze Gedenkhalle of the Kaiser Friedrich Museum in Görlitz, succeeded its first director Professor Ludwig Feyerabend (1855-1927). As museum director he was active in Görlitz from 1928 to 1933. That year the racial laws of the Nazi party forced him to early retirement because he was a Jew. He was succeeded by Otto-Friedrich Gandert (1898-1983). He moved to Freiburg im Breisgau and died on January 26, 1939, perhaps as a result of the pogrom night. He was buried in a cemetery in Strasbourg. His second wife, Friederike Polaczek was deported in 1940.


    “Professor Ernst Polaczek.”

    Contributors: Lee Sorensen


    Lee Sorensen. "Polaczek, Ernst." Dictionary of Art Historians (website).

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