31 Mar 1940

Born on 31 March 1940 in Berlin as the son of the grammar school teacher Dr. Karl Heinrich Henschke and his wife Ruth, née Lempert

31 Mar 1940

From 1959

From 1959 he studied history, English literature and economics at the Free University of Berlin


In 1972 he took his doctorate (Dr.phil) at the FU Berlin, aided by a scholarship from the Volkswagenwerk Foundation



From 1967 to 1973 he was a researcher at the Institute for Economic and Social History of the FU Berlin under Prof. Wolfram Fischer


From 1973 to 1975 he trained for a diploma as an academic librarian in Berlin and Cologne



From 1975 to 1981 he was employed as a librarian at the Library of the University of Hohenheim in Stuttgart


From 1982 to 1992 he was Deputy Director of the Württemberg State Library in Stuttgart



In 1992 he became Director of Leipzig University Library

Since 2005

He retired in 2005 and lives mainly in Oxford, with stays in Berlin

Since 2005



At Hohenheim University Library in Stuttgart he equipped and organized the new branch library for economics and social sciences in the restored 18th century palace

At Württemberg State Library in Stuttgart he was both deputy director and head of the Union Catalogue of Baden-Württemberg. In this capacity from 1988 to 1990 he chaired the board of the West German union catalogues and led the negotiations with East German colleagues to establish inter-library loan services in a united Germany

As director of Leipzig University Library, he systematically filled gaps in the collection and, out of a dispersed library system with many branch libraries, he created a reformed single library system. In tandem with this, together with a team of architects and building officials, he planned the reconstruction of the heavily war-damaged central building known as the Bibliotheca Albertina dating to 1891. By 2002 this had been established as the main University library conforming to the guidelines of the DFG (German Science Foundation) – that is, it became a modern user-friendly library with large open-access areas as well as facilities for book restoration and research

From 1992 he was a member of the delegation of German librarians negotiating the restitution of war-looted collections in Russia and also a member of the joint Federal-Länder Working Group with responsibility for libraries in Central and Eastern Europe

He chaired the DFG committee which coordinated the retrospective catalogue conversions of historic German book collections, a project that has mostly been completed by 2003

On behalf of the Saxon State Ministry of Science and Art he led a working group on the conservation of collections until a central office for conservation was established in Dresden

He was a member of the ministerial commission which reported on the merger of the Saxon State Library with Dresden University Library in 1993

From 2002 to 2005 he was a member of the international coordinating body which restored and digitally re-united the scattered parts of the late antique manuscript of the Codex Sinaiticus (New and Old Testament) 

Other Roles

From 2001 to 2003 he chaired the Saxon branch of the German Library Association, which organized aid for Saxon libraries in the floods of 2002

From 1993 on he helped to organize the International Library Symposium, which took place annually at the Leipzig Book Fair. In 2000 he headed the local committee that organized the Leipzig Library Congress

Until 2005 he was a member of the Advisory Board of the Horst Springer Foundation (part of the Friedrich Ebert Foundation) and served as a magistrate in the Leipzig Labour Court.

From 2004 to 2007 he was a member of the Advisory Panel for Literature of the Cultural Foundation of the Free State of Saxony

He is a co-founder of the foundation "Citizens for Leipzig" (Bürger für Leipzig) and from 2004 to 2010 served as a member of its board of trustees

In 2008 and 2011 he planned and supervised the digitization, together with two German librarians, of the specialist library of the rehabilitation foundation ADAPT in Mumbai, India

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