Foundation of the Institute
The founding phase of the Institute for Eastern European Studies took place during the turbulent period of the reconstitution of Berlin's university landscape. Representatives of the federal government, the American occupation authorities, the city of Berlin, and Freie Universität, founded in 1948, were involved in the preparations. Georg Kennert, who later became the longtime administrative director of the Institute for East European Studies and was the personal assistant to the rector during the founding phase, already played a key role at this time. Max Vasmer (Slavic Studies) came to Freie Universität as early as 1949 and to the newly founded Osteuropa-Institut in 1951. Werner Philipp (History) moved from the University of Mainz to Freie Universität in 1951 and gave the ceremonial lecture at the founding act of the Osteuropa-Institut in 1951. Its research agenda was profoundly shaped by these two founding professors. Karl C. Thalheim (economics) and Walter Meder (law) were also among the founding professors.