How did he remain undetected for so long?Bearbeiten
Given that he is clearly highly intelligent, HWG must have known that there would be occasions when individuals or institutions would want to check up on him or obtain a reference from his employing institution. How did he deal with this problem and remain undetected for 20 years or more? He appears to have used three different tactics:
1. Invent a fictitious department of a genuine university, and give it a private post-box address
This is what he did with Maastricht University and the ‘Institute of Management Science’, starting around 1985 or perhaps a year or so earlier. (A contact at Maastricht remembers him applying for a post in Economics in ~1985 but he was not successful. This may have been when he decided to ‘appoint himself’ to this university.) HWG gave the Institute of Management Science the address of “PO Box 591, NL 6200, Maastricht”, while the University address is “PO Box 616, NL 6200, Maastricht”. Then, if anyone wrote to, say, the Director of the Institute of Management Science at PO Box 591 to ask for a reference, this could be intercepted by HWG and an appropriate response provided (e.g. “I am delighted to provide a reference for my esteemed colleague, Professor Hans Gottinger …”!) In the days before the Internet, this was probably a fairly ‘safe’ tactic because few people would bother to check whether the PO Box 591 address was in fact correct. However, once the Internet became available, this tactic became much more vulnerable to detection.
2. 'Use an international school where one is lecturing as a ‘post-box’ for incoming mail
Past students recall HWG lecturing at the International School of General Management in Bad Waldsee in the latter part of the 1990s. Consequently, mail addressed to Professor Gottinger at the School’s address of “Schloss Waldsee, 88339 Bad Waldsee” would presumably have been put in a pigeon-hole for him to pick up on his next visit. Doubtless, the person sorting the incoming mail into the pigeonholes would have attached little significance to the fact that HWG’s incoming mail often had an extra line in it with the acronym “IIEEM” or even “International Institute for Environmental Economics and Management”. Indeed, HWG might well have specifically asked that all mail addressed to “IIEEM” be put in his pigeonhole for him to deal with. That way, he could again intercept any letters asking for the Director of IIEEM to provide a reference for HWG. This tactic came to an end when the International School ceased to exist in 2002 and was absorbed into Zeppelin University in Friedrichshafen. HWG does not appear to be among the Zeppelin lecturers, so this tactic had to be brought to an end in 2002, or possibly sooner – it depends when his teaching there ceased. (HWG has not used the Friedrichshafen address of Zeppelin University in any of his papers.)
3. 'Invent a fictional institute and locate it in one’s private home
After 2002 (when the IIEEM address could no longer be used), HWG invented a new International Institute for Technology Management and Economics (IITME). This was given the postal address of Unterring 21, 85051 Ingolstadt, i.e. the home address of HWG. However, this third tactic seems to smack of desperation. HWG must have recognised that, in the Internet age, it is relatively simple to check whether such an International Institute actually exists. However, by then Tactic 1 had perhaps finally become too risky, and Tactic 2 was no longer an option after 2002.