Ulrich Herbert (*1951 Düsseldorf) received the Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz Prize for his work in the area of Early Modern and Modern History.
Upon completing a degree in history, German studies, and European ethnology, Ulrich initially worked for several years as a secondary school teacher before going on to earn his PhD in Essen in 1985 and his habilitation seven years later. From 1992 to 1995 he served as director of the Research Center for the History of National Socialism in Hamburg. He then accepted a position as professor for early modern and modern history at the University of Freiburg, where he has remained ever since. Ulrich Herbert’s main area of expertise is contemporary history. Even in his dissertation on the role of forced labor for the war economy in the Third Reich, he did not just cover the economic and employment policies of the German authorities in the Reich or the occupied areas but also emphasized the specific, ideologically conditioned interrelationship between social policy and racism. Herbert established a wide reputation in academic circles with his monograph on Werner Best, in which he provides a contextualized analysis of the worldview of National Socialism and its rational implementation by the Nazi regime. This study is also regarded as a seminal work on the continuity problem before and after 1945 and the memory suppression policy of political and social elites in the early years of the Federal Republic of Germany.