Library Annemarie Schimmel

On January 26, 2003, the Orientalist Annemarie Schimmel died in Bonn. Internationally, she was considered one of the most renowned scholars, perhaps the most important, that Germany has produced in the field of Islamic Studies in the recent past.

Annemarie Schimmel was born in Erfurt in 1922 and spent her youth there. Her first knowledge of Arabic was imparted to her by her Erfurt teacher Dr. Hans Ellenberg. More than half a century later, in 1997, she was appointed to the Board of Trustees of the newly founded University of Erfurt. Out of attachment to her hometown, she bequeathed part of her estate to the University of Erfurt.

Several thousand books from the University Library's collection now bear the Annemarie Schimmel ex libris. A special feature is the impressive collection of orders, honorary doctorates and other awards conferred on the Orientalist.

Cataloguing of the estate

in the Online Catalog (books)

in the Kalliope Union Catalog (for collections of personal papers, manuscripts, and publishers' archives)

Annemarie Schimmel, ExLibris

About the person

Curriculum vitae

Annemarie Schimmel, autobiography book cover

1922 born in Erfurt, daughter of a civil servant

1933-38 Luisenschule, first Arabic lessons at age 15

1939-42 Studies at the University of Berlin, graduation with the dissertation "Kalif und Kadi im spätmittelalterlichen Ägypten"

1941-45 Foreign Office Berlin, work as translator

1946 Habilitation in Marburg, formative influence of Friedrich Heiler

1954-59 Teacher of History of Religion at the Faculty of Theology in Ankara

1961-92 Associate professorship for Arabic and Islamic Studies at the University of Bonn

1967-92 teaching at Harvard (Indo-Muslim Culture); numerous trips to the Orient

1975 "Mystical Dimensions of Islam", Chapel Hill 1975

1980 "Islam in the Indian Subcontinent," Leiden 1980

1995 Peace Prize of the German Book Trade

1997-2002 Member of the Board of Trustees of the University of Erfurt

2003 died in Bonn

Further information about the person

Autobiography: Morgenland und Abendland : mein west-östliches Leben, 2002 (link in the online catalog).

Annemarie Schimmel: Wikipedia entry (German)

Annemarie Schimmel zum Gedenken / Daniela Bergmann (obituary in: Die politische Meinung, March 1, 2003).

"Ich kann nicht arbeiten über etwas, das ich nicht liebe"In memory of Annemarie Schimmel Guest article by Prof. Dr. Jamal Malik in the "Wortmelder" of the University of Erfurt on the occasion of the 100th birthday (19.04.2022)

Exhibitions and events

Permanent exhibition: Memorabilia of Annemarie Schimmel 1922-2003

Annemarie Schimmel and her generosity as a benefactor are the subject of a small permanent exhibition at the UB Erfurt. The exhibition is located in the staff wing of the library on the 1st floor. Interested parties are requested to make an appointment in advance.

Leaflet on the permanent exhibition (pdf, German)

2022: Memorial event for Annemarie Schimmel

Together with the Universitätsgesellschaft Erfurt e.V., the professorship for Islamic Studies at the University of Erfurt invites you to a commemorative event on the occasion of the 100th birthday of Prof. Dr. Dr. Annemarie Schimmel (07.04.1922) at the place of her graduation, the Königin-Luise Gymnasium Erfurt, on April 23, 2022, starting at 18:00.

This evening will focus on "Science, Mysticism and Aesthetics in the Mirror of Heritage" by Annemarie Schimmel, the Erfurt-born and world-renowned Islamic scholar. For more information, please see the event flyer (German).

2017: 4th "Annemarie Schimmel Lectures

The professorship for Fundamental Theology and Religious Studies of the Faculty of Catholic Theology at the University of Erfurt, in cooperation with the city of Erfurt, invites you to the now 4th "Annemarie Schimmel Lectures" on Thursday, March 16. This time the lecture series is entitled "Religious Freedom. Jews – Christians – Muslims in Germany" and begins at 6 p.m. in the Brunnenkirche on Fischersand. All interested parties are cordially invited to attend, and admission is free.

On this evening there will be three 25-minute statements each, before the panel discussion starts at 7:30 pm. Guests will be Prof. Dr. Heiner Bielefeldt, the holder of the Chair of Human Rights and Human Rights Policy at Friedrich Alexander University Erlangen-Nuremberg and UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion or Belief (2010-2016); Rabbi Prof. Dr. Andreas Nachama, managing director of the Topography of Terror Foundation and, since 2016, Jewish chairman of the German Coordinating Council of Societies for Christian-Jewish Cooperation and professor at the Lander Institute for Communication about the Holocaust and Tolerance at Touro College Berlin. The third guest is Prof. Dr. Ömer Özsoy, the first Muslim professor of theology to hold a chair in Germany. He has held the professorship for Quran exegesis at the subject area of linguistics and cultural studies at the Johann Wolfgang Goethe University Frankfurt am Main since 2012. The theological direction Özsoy helps to represent is called the School of Ankara. About his theological positions it is said: "Only about ten percent of what the Koran wants to say can be found in the text, the rest is in need of interpretation against the background of the respective time. The Koran is therefore not regarded by Özsoy as timeless and universally valid."

Source: News release of the University of Erfurt from 20.02.2017

2016: Workshop and exhibition in memory of Annemarie Schimmel

In memory of the renowned orientalist and Islamic scholar Annemarie Schimmel (1922-2003), the professorship for Islamic Studies at the University of Erfurt is organizing an international workshop from 15 to 17 April 2016. April 2016 under the title "Sufism East and West: Mystical Islam and Cross-cultural Exchange between the West and the Muslim World" and invites renowned scholars such as Carl Ernst (USA), Alexander Knysh (USA/Russia), Itzchak Weismann (Israel), Ali S. Asani (USA), RachidaChih (France), Mark Sedgwick (Denmark), Marcia Hermansen (USA) and Marta Dominguez-Diaz (Switzerland). The workshop is supported by the German Research Foundation (DFG).

In the context of the workshop, the opening of the exhibition "Bridge between East and West" on the estate of Prof. Dr. Annemarie Schimmel will also take place at the Erfurt University Library on April 15. The exhibition will be open to the public there until May 27, 2016.

2014: Annemarie Schimmel Lectures 2

Under the title "Religions for Europe. Judaism – Christianity - Islam before the Challenges of Modernity", the Chair of Fundamental Theology and Religious Studies of the Faculty of Catholic Theology of the University of Erfurt, together with the city of Erfurt, invited to a series of lectures in November 2014 to commemorate the German Islamic scholar Annemarie Schimmel, who died in 2003. The series kicked off on Monday, November 24, 2014, with Rabbi Prof. Dr. Walter Homolka (Berlin/Potsdam) giving a lecture entitled "From the 'Christian Occident' to a Europe of Religious Pluralism." On Tuesday, November 25, 2014, Prof. Dr. Reza Hajatpour from Erlangen spoke on the topic "Between Spirituality and Rationalism – Islamic Thought Facing the Challenge of Plural and Secular Modernity." The series was concluded on Wednesday, November 26, 2014, by Prof. Dr. Dr. Josef Wohlmuth from Bonn. The title of his lecture is "A God-Man? – Does the Christian interpretation of Jesus obstruct the conversation with contemporary Judaism and Islam?". The events took place at 7 p.m. in Haus Dacheröden, Anger 37.

2013/14: Anniversary exhibition of the UB Erfurt: "Laboratory of the Humanities".

On the occasion of the anniversary exhibition "Laboratory of the Humanities – 20 Years of the New Erfurt University Library" from November 8, 2013 to January 31, 2014, a separate display case with accompanying text panel was designed for selected books and objects from the Annemarie Schimmel Library. The virtual tour through the exhibition provides an insight.

2013: Lecture series "Foreign World Islam

Under the title "Fremde Welt Islam" (Foreign World Islam), the Chair of Fundamental Theology at the University of Erfurt and the Cultural Directorate of the state capital Erfurt invited the public to a series of lectures from November 25 to 28, 2013, which commemorated Annemarie Schimmel. At the opening event of the lecture series at the Kulturforum Haus Dacheröden, Prof. Dr. Stefan Wild from Bonn spoke on the topic "Annemarie Schimmel and Islam. The story of a fascination". A reading from the autobiography as well as poetry of Maulana Dschelaleddin Rumi in the translation of Annemarie Schimmel were heard. In addition, a small exhibition with exhibits from the estate of the Islamic scholar in the holdings of the Erfurt University Library was presented.

Contact us

Katrin Ott
Dr. Katrin Ott
Head of Special Collections
(Erfurt University Library)
C16 – University Library / 2nd floor, special reading room
Office hours
by arrangement

"I first learned about the breathtaking diversity of Islamic currents in history and the present through Ms. Schimmel's books. And perhaps others are in a similar position. Then we would all have some catching up to do in terms of understanding. We cannot allow ourselves to ignore the diversity of Islamic currents; that would ultimately mean only strengthening those who want to prevent differentiated thinking. So let's not talk up the uniform Islam that doesn't exist, but which would make it easier for political fundamentalists to do their business."

Roman Herzog: Laudatio on the occasion of the awarding of the Peace Prize of the German Book Trade, Frankfurt a.M. 1995