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Hans Fabian Bennewitz

Image Credit: Santiago Engelhardt

International Research Training Group 'Temporalities of Future in Latin America'

PhD Candidate


Project: "West German Police Assistance for Guatemala 1986-1990: Knowledge Transfer and Transnational Security Networks"

Boltzmannstr. 4
14195 Berlin


Since 05/2019

Associated Member, International Research Training Group ‘Temporalities of Future’

Since 10/2018

PhD Candidate, Freie Universität Berlin

10/2014 – 09/2017

Master of Arts in „History of the 19th and 20th Century“, Freie Universität Berlin

10/2010 – 09/2014

Bachelor of Arts in History, Political Science and Latin American Studies, Freie Universität Berlin

Work Experience

Since 05/2019

Researcher, International Research Training Group ‘Temporalities of Future’

Since 10/2018

Research assistant, project “German Police Assistance in Latin America (1949 - 1989): Scope, Practices and Transnational Entanglements”, Project Management: Prof. Dr. Markus-Michael Müller, German Research Foundation, Institute of Latin American Studies, Freie Universität Berlin

Since 01/2015

Member of the Editorial Board, academic journal “Arbeit – Bewegung – Geschichte. Zeitschrift für Historische Studien”

Project: "West German Police Assistance for Guatemala 1986-1990: Knowledge Transfer and Transnational Security Networks"

Prof. Dr. Debora Gerstenberger, Freie Universität Berlin

My dissertation project aims to analyze the German police assistance for Guatemala (1986 – 1990) as a transnational network, focusing on the transfer processes of knowledge, practices and techniques. In 1986, after decades of military rule, the newly elected Guatemalan government turned to the Federal Republic of Germany to gain support for the reform of the police forces. German know-how and equipment should help to transform the Guatemalan police forces into a democratic and constitutional institution. The imagined ideal type of a modern police was to be transferred from Germany to Guatemala in order to put an end to human rights violations and to strengthen the democratic regime. The Police Assistance program included equipment deliveries, training programs in Germany and Guatemala, and the employment of advisers to restructure and modernize the Guatemalan Policía Nacional.

The project aims to investigate the extent to which these transfers of knowledge, practices and techniques were successful, how the recipients of this "development aid for the police" adopted, modified or rejected the transferred goods, or even started new processes with repercussions on other Latin American countries or Germany. Furthermore, it will examine whether and to what degree the images and concepts of modernity in the field of security changed in the eyes of the actors involved as a result of the cooperation.

These complex transfer processes will be analyzed simultaneously as the cause and driving forces of interdependencies on many levels (local, national, international), and understood as constitutive for a new, transnational security practice. An in-depth investigation should therefore abandon a presumed bilateralism, that is, an exchange between two closed entities, in this case Germany and Guatemala, and instead focus on fractal networks of actors. The investigation is based on the analysis of a great variety of archival sources, which mainly have been accessible for the first time.


Bennewitz, Fabian. (2023). Dynamiken des Scheiterns. Akteure, Netzwerke und Transferprozesse der bundesdeutschen Polizeihilfe für Guatemala (1986–1991). Böhlau Verlag Köln.


Bennewitz, Fabian (2021): "Demokratietransfer durch Polizeihilfe? Bundesdeutsche Polizeihilfe in Zentralamerika 1980–1990", in: Bürgerrechte & Polizei/CILIP 125, pp. 69-79.

Bennewitz, Fabian (2020): "Christian Helm: Botschafter der Revolution. Das transnationale Kommunikationsnetzwerk zwischen der Frente Sandinista de Liberación Nacional und der bundesdeutschen Nicaragua-Solidarität 1977–1990", Arbeit – Bewegung – Geschichte 19, 3, pp. 164-167.

Bennewitz, Fabian (2019): "Solidarität über Kurzwelle. Die Sondersendungen des DDR-Auslandsradios für Uruguay während der Militärdiktatur (1977–1984)", Zeitschrift für Geschichtswissenschaft 67, 7/8, pp. 643-659.

Bennewitz, Fabian (2018): "'Rotkohlfresser' und 'Leninisten mit Knarre'. Die Kommunikationsstrategie der RAF und die Entfremdung von der linken Szene", Arbeit - Bewegung - Geschichte 17, 3.

Bennewitz, Fabian (ed.) (2017): "An den Rändern der Revolution: Marginalisierung und Emanzipation im europäischen Revolutionszyklus ab 1917", Schwerpunktheft, Arbeit – Bewegung – Geschichte 16, 3.

Weipert, Axel and Bennewitz, Fabian (2017): Zum Schwerpunkt “An den Rändern der Revolution: Marginalisierung und Emanzipation im europäischen Revolutionszyklus ab 1917″, Arbeit – Bewegung – Geschichte 16, 3, pp. 7–11.

Lange, Dietmar; Bennewitz, Fabian; Hoffrogge, Ralf; Weipert, Axel (2016): Zum Schwerpunkt „Linke Betriebsintervention, wilde Streiks und operaistische Politik 1968 bis 1988“, Arbeit – Bewegung – Geschichte 15, 1.

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