On the Spot: Katja Hoyer

 ‘Human nature always remains the same.’

Museum Island with Pergamon Museum and Bode Museum, Berlin. December 1951. German Federal Archives/Wiki Commons.

Why are you a historian of Germany?

I am a confused German trying to make sense of my country’s past and its place in Europe and the world.

What’s the most important lesson history has taught you? 

Human nature always remains the same. 

Which history book has had greatest influence on you?

Ian Kershaw’s biography of Adolf Hitler.

What book in your field should everyone read?

Neil McGregor’s Germany: Memories of a Nation.

Which moment would you most like to go back to?

Napoleon’s conversation with Queen Louise of Prussia at Tilsit.

Which historian has had the greatest influence on you?

Hans-Ulrich Wehler.

Which person in history would you most like to have met? 

‘Which person’ is easy: Otto von Bismarck.
The question is: ‘when’?

How many languages do you have?

My native is German, but I write my shopping lists in English. I have a working knowledge of Russian and Latin. My French needs improvement.

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