Erich Diehl (Эрих Диль)

Erich Diehl (1890-1952).[1]
Vecvagars M.
Erich Wilhelm Diehl (Эрих Вильгельм Диль), a classical philologist of German origin[2] or of the Baltic Germans, was born in Dünaburg (Двинск, Dvinsk, Daugavpils) on January 25 (January 13 according to the s.c. old style calendar) 1890, into the family of Wilhelm, the head of a wagon fleet, and Clara (nee Jansen). He received a basic education during 1897-1902 in an elementary school and in a secondary school department of St. Peter and Paul’s training establishment in Moscow and, from January 1903 until Spring of 1908, in the secondary department of a congregational school of the Reformed in Petersburg (the latter is finished with a Certificate and a gold medal).
From 1908 until 1913 Erich Diehl studied classical philology at the Department of Classical Philology of the Faculty of Philology and History of Petersburg University. From September 1, 1913 until September 1, 1915 Diehl stayed for two years with the Department of Classical Philology of the Petersburg University in order to prepare for scientific work and a professor’s position. Upon the claim № 34482 of the National Education Ministry of Russia dated November 20, 1915 he was granted an extension for one year from January 1, 1916 until January 1, 1917. During that period Diehl passed the following master’s degree exams: on December 5, 1915 in Greek Philology, on February 27, 1916 in Latin philology, on March 27, 1916 in Greek and Latin Antiquities, closing the tests on April 30, 1916 by a closure paper Quo ordine Callimachus Aetiorum libros composuisse videatur. As a result, on May 21 Diehl was permitted to give test lectures (Hecala of Callimachus and Alexandric elements in Poetry of Catullus) and with the Instructions № 15616 of Petrograd Training Region Administration dated June 7, 1916 he was admitted to deliver lectures at the University of Petrograd in the status of an associate professor at the Department of Classical Philology.
In parallel with his studies Diehl worked also as a teacher: a teacher of Latin in St. Cathrines’s school in Petersburg from July 1, 1912 until July 1 of 1913; a teacher of Latin in St. Peter’s school in Petersburg from July 1, 1914 until January 1, 1915; a teacher of Latin and gymnastics and also as an assistant to class mistresses at the a congregational school of the Reformed in Petrograd from July 1, 1915 until October 1, 1917.
By a Decision of the Temporary Government on July 1, 1917 Diehl was appointed from that date to a position of a temporatry staff professor of classical philology in University of Tomsk following competition election of all Russia that was announced by a commission of professors of the University of Petrograd and members of the Academy of Science appointed by the temporary government for foundation of History and Philology Faculty at the Tomsk University. Under the decision of the Tomsk University Council on May 28, 1919, during the academic year of 1919-1920, he delivered course of lectures about the History of Roman Literature as well as a training course on Antique Metrics each being of 2 hours a week. Alongside this, from July 1, 1918 until March 20, 1922, he acted also as a Teachers’ Training language course professor at the Tomsk University (participated also in its foundation); from July 1, 1921 until March 20, 1922 he was a director of the a Teachers’ Training language course at the Tomsk University; from July 1, 1921 until March 20, 1922 he was a teacher at a German secondary school in Tomsk and a class master (obviously it is an educational establishment founded by Diehl himself and maintained by parents, with a full set of programmes conducive with a classical secondary school).
Upon his return to Latvia intensive correspondence with different establishments started: requests, references, permits etc. There are two of Diehl’s letters with identical contents, one written in German (without an addressee, probably received on June 3, 1921, but presumably passed into the hands of the Latvia University rector Ernest Felsberg), and another one in Russian addressed to Felsberg (dated May 27, 1922). Both contain descriptions about Diehl’s life and progress of studies until respective years. The letters prove that Felsberg and Diehl, before writing the letters, did not know each other closely (neither through correspondence). Diehl expressed a wish to continue academic and scientific work in a Riga university and gave a list of his lecture courses delivered at the Tomsk University, as well as the prepared material, but due to some reason not delivered themes. The last letter makes it known that just before the intended departure in May, 1922 with seats booked on a train, for which gratitude is expressed to Latvia Consulate in Moscow, he falls ill with typhus and is put into hospital for a while, therefore the trip is cancelled until later in June.
After Diehl returned to Latvia his life was connected with Mitau (Митава, Jelgava, Mitava or Mītava). From July 1, 1922 he started his activities at the Classical secondary school in Mitau as a teacher of French and as a class master, then as a teacher of Latin, and later as a teacher of both ancient (Greek and Latin) languages. Due to him being promoted to an associate professor’s position at the University he was compelled to refuse the duties of a class master and reduce the number of classes. Several educational establishments (including the Classical secondary school) inherited the building of the former Academia Petrina, later - the provincial secondary school (at № 20, Palejas Street, later renamed into Akadēmijas Street). At the beginning Diehl and his family lived at № 17, Svētes Street, flat № 2, from 1924 – at № 32 of the same street, flat № 2. Later, at least starting from October 28, 1930 he lived at № 28, Bisenieka street, flat № 2. He entered into marriage with Mary Elisabeth, nee Waldenberg, born on October 28, 1896 in Libau (Liepāja, Либав) on July 24, 1921 in Tomsk; they had two sons (Erwin August Erich, born on August 3, 1926 in Mitau and Iwar Magnus Wilhelm, born on August 30, 1931 in Mitau) and two daughters (Karina Mary, born on May 7, 1922 in Moscow and Ingeborga Clara Gerda, born on July 27, 1923 in Mitau).
Diehl’s advancement up the academic and scientific ladder did not happen rapidly; it also had required time, work and effort. On September 2, 1922 the Faculty of Philology and Philosophy of the Latvia University, in its sitting, elected Diehl associate professor of classical philology and requested the Latvia University Council to approve the decision; the Latvia University Council elected Diehl associate professor of the Latvia University and requested the Ministry of Education to approve the decision and ultimately the respective approval was granted on October 9, 1922. On June 28, 1929 the Ministry of Education approved the decision of the Latvia University Council, passed on May 29, to elect Diehl the senior staff associate professor of the Faculty of Philology and Philosophy, starting from July 1; peculiarly the respective sitting of the Faculty of Philology and Philosophy also took place on May 29 and he was elected «..with all votes but one..».
On December 4, 1937 Diehl submittted to the Faculty «his writing Hypomnema. De Callimachi librorum fatis capita selecta» in three printed copies (promising to submit the rest within the coming days) and requested the permission to be admitted to the defence of his dissertation. At the Faculty meeting on May 7, 1938 «..the senior associated professor Diehl is unanimously admitted to the defence of his dissertation». It must be added that Callimachus’ theme had already drawn Diehl’s attention since his studies at the Petersburg University: one chapter of his dissertation (Quo ordine Callimachus aetiorum libros composuisse videatur) has the same title as his closure paper written in 1916 in Petersburg; also the text in the chapter about Hecala has served as a theme for the chosen introductory lecture at the University of Petersburg. Some findings about Callimachus style had already been published previously in articles of Latvia University and Herder Institute.
His admittance to defend his dissertation publicly was dependent upon references which were written by Juris Plāķis, Kārlis Straubergs and Pēteris Ķiķauka. The common inference was favourable and on May 27, 1938 he defended his doctor’s dissertation Hypomnema. De Callimachi librorum fatis capita selecta and «The Faculty of Philology and Philosophy.. unanimously conferred the doctor’s degree in classical philology to the senior associate professor Eric Diehl..». On May 24, 1939 the University Council elected the senior associate professor Erich Diehl, Ph.D., a professor of classical philology at the Faculty of Philology and Philosophy which was followed by confirmation at the Cabinet of Ministers’ meeting on June 6, approving him in the position starting from May 24. Quite interesting that in the Faculty budget for the academic year of 1939-1940, planning already had been made for the respective professor’s position.
While working at the Faculty of Philology and Philosophy of the Latvia University Diehl delivered the following sets of lectures:
1.      Introduction to Classical Philology;
2.      Latin Stylistics;
3.      Greek Epigraphic;
4.      Strabo, Geography;
5.      Ovid, Metamorphoses;
6.      History of Greek Religion within the Classical Era;
7.      Bacchylidis carmina;
8.      Theocritus;
9.      Ancient Greek Religion;
10. Greek Paleography;
he conducted the following seminars:
1.      History of Greek Literature;
2.      History of Greece – the Early Ptolemy Era;
3.      Selected Greek poets;
4.      Aristophanes, The Frogs;
5.      Pindar;
6.      Greek myths;
7.      Ancient Greek fairy-tale;
8.      Greek sacral activities;
9.      History of Ancient Greeks – Olbia, countries of Bosphorus, Chersonesus;
he guided the readings of the following authors:
1.      Dion Chrysostomus;
2.      hymns by Callimachus;
3.      a Latin author for students of classics;
4.      Catullus;
5.      Cicero’s speech Pro Marcello;
6.      Euripides, Medea;
he conducted practical work classes in Greek epigraphy.[3]
Beginning in 1939 Diehl’s and his family’s lives changed rapidly alongside the events taking place in the vast world. On October 13, 1939 the rector of Latvia University received Diehl’s application for dismissal because of his expatriation to Germany. On November 23, 1939 Diehl’s family left Latvia.
The time periods while he was in Posen (Poznan; Познань) and Jena are less known to me.[4]  In 1939 Diehl was a member of the teaching staff at the Posen University, then, from 1941 to 1945, he was a professor of the temporary staff at Posen University. On February 23, 1945 the town was captured by the Red Army and in 1945, for six months, Diehl was held captive. From 1946 he was a staff professor at the University of Jena. He died on June 9, 1952 in Jena.

[1] Vecvagars M. Erihs Dīls Latvijā. Moldt D. Erich Diehl (1890-1952): Lebensbild eines deutschen Altphilologen. Riga: FSI, 2006.
[2] It is thought that Diehl’s family «arrived in Germany from France» (see: LKV 3,5337); Diehl – a family of French protestants which following the Nantes’s edict (in 1685) arrived first into Germany and then, into Latvia (see: Cīrulis A. “Senvalodu zinātājs” {“Master of Ancient Languages”}, Zemgales Ziņas {News of Zemgale} 20 {1997} 3). Concerning this, I have neither denying, nor confirming data.
[3] Some E. Diehl’s publications: approximately 25 articles in Pauly-Wissowa’s Realencyclopädie der classischen Altertumswissenschaft; Papyri Graecae magicae. Die griechischen Zauberpapyri. Herausgeg. und übersetzt von Karl Preisendanz. Bd. 2. Unter Mitarbeit von Erich Diehl, Sam Eitrem, Adolf Jacoby. Leipzig, Berlin: B.G. Teubner, 1931; Ms: Scythica et Caucasica, e veteribus scriptoribus Graecis et Latinis collegit et cum versione Rossica edidit Basilius Latyschev. Vol. 3: Indices. Scripsit Ericus Diehl (Thüringer Universitätsbibliothek Jena, Nachlaß E. Diehl, Karten 1 Bl. 1,2); Chrestomathia Graeca, studiosae iuventutis in usum composuit Ericus Diehl; editio altera, funditus retractata, accedit glossarium Graeco-Lettum. Rigae: Valters et Rapa, 1928; Dīls E. Maza grieķu-latviešu vārdnīca. Rīga: Valtera un Rapas akc. sab. izdevums, 1935; etc.
[4] See: Moldt D. Erich.., pp. 77-161. –. “Zwischen Pontus Euxinus und Jena. Lebensstationen des Altphilologen Prof. Dr. Dr. Erich Diehl (1890-1952),” Hossfeld, Uwe (Hrsg.); u.a. Hochschule im Sozialismus. Studien zur Friedrich-Schiller-Universität Jena (1945-1990). Bd. 2. Köln u.a.: Böhlau, 2007, S. 2050-2070.