Herbert Jankuhn (born 8 August 1905 in Angerburg, East Prussia - 30 April 1990 in Göttingen) was a German archaeologist and supporter of the Nazi Party. He undertook a series of investigations on behalf of the Ahnenerbe before going on to be one of post-war Germany's leading archaeology academics.
Jankuhn was born in East Prussia where his schoolteacher father was involved in local nationalist politics, publishing a pamphlet entitled Is There a Prussian Lithuania?. He followed his father's beliefs in a Greater Germany and also became a devotee of the Teutonic Knights, a passion which both reinforced his political beliefs and convinced him to follow a career in archaeology. His first major work was at the Viking settlement at Haithabu, where he directed the excavations. Whilst in this post he met Reichsführer-SS Heinrich Himmler, who was impressed by Jankuhn's work and provided significant funds to the operation.As a professor of archaeology he also worked at the University of Kiel and the University of Rostock.
The Nazi archeologist that runs around in the Indiana Jones movies is a caricature of Jankuhn
The facts are these:
- He was of Lithuanian descent on his father's side and Polish/Masurian on his mother's side (maiden name Jedamski from AngerburgUngura)
- These Jankuhns figure as ethnic Lithuanians in
Horst Kenkel: Amtsbauern und Kölmer im nördlichen Ostpreußen um 1736. Hamburg 1972)
Ensies Jankus in Willkischken
Christ. Johnkuns in Gerschwillauken
Abraham Johnkuhns in Nestorkehmen
Hans Johnkuns in Maygunischken
Abram Johnckuhns in Kubillen
Friedrich Jankuhn in Werxnupöhnen
- His grand-father Wilhelm Jankuhn attends the KARALENE seminary for Lithuanian primary school teachers (exam in 1867) and teaches in Memelland places like
Coadjuthen and Traxeden
- Wilhelm Jankuhn contributes a Wenkerbogen to the Deutsche Sprachatlas. He fills in the file in Lithuanian language although the recommendation is to use German if German pupils are present in the class