100 Years Hellmut Becker (1913-2013)

The year 2013 was of great significance for the Max Planck Institute for Human Development. The Institute celebrated its 50th anniversary.

One man holds a special place in the Institute’s history: Founding director Hellmut Becker’s 100th birthday was celebrated on 17 May 2013. To mark the Institute’s anniversary celebrations in autumn 2013, an exhibition (in German) commemorated the life and work of Hellmut Becker.


Singer, K., & Frevert, U. (2014). 100 Jahre Hellmut Becker (1913-2013) - Dokumentation der Ausstellung zu Leben und Werk im Max-Planck-Institut für Bildungsforschung [Online-Publikation]. Max-Planck-Institut für Bildungsforschung. https://doi.org/10.14280/08241.29

The exhibition on Hellmut Becker’s life and work took an expressly critical stance towards him regarding the period of National Socialism, the immediate post-war period, his secretive NSDAP membership and his role in the Gerold Becker matter. The exhibition took up the allegations Hellmut Becker had drawn against him on the grounds that, as a mentor and sponsor of the long-time director of the Odenwald School, he had been informed early on about a case of sexual abuse at the school and took no action (exhibition catalogue: 100 Jahre Hellmut Becker, p. 82-84).
In June 2020, a report by the University of Hildesheim on Helmut Kentler’s work in Berlin’s child and youth welfare service (in German) raised new allegations: Hellmut Becker and the MPIB were allegedly part of a network in which “pedophile positions were accepted, supported and defended”. The institute has made a statement on this and will proceed to systematically investigate these allegations together with the MPG.
Berlin, 23.06.2020
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