Kirchheimer, Otto

Alternative names
Birth 1905-11-11
Death 1965-11-22

Biographical notes:

Political scientist. Otto Kirchheimer was born November 11, 1905, in Heilbronn, Germany, third son of Julias Kirchheimer and Friederike (Baer) Kirchheimer. He attended school in Heilbronn and Ettenheim, then attended the Universities of Muenster, Berlin, Koeln and Bonn, graduating magna cum laude from the latter in 1928. With his law degree in hand he became a contributor to Die Gesellschaft and a lecturer in Political Science at German Trade Union Schools. He practiced law in Berlin from 1932 to 1933, leaving Germany in 1933, knowing that, as a Jew, he could not remain. The next four years were spent in Paris writing and doing research for the International Institute of Social Research. In 1937, Kirchheimer arrived in the United States with his wife Hilde and daughter Hanne, but the marriage ended a few years later in divorce. While in New York, he continued to work for the International Institute of Social Research (Horchheimer Institute) as a research assistant in law and social science and lecturing in the Institute's program at Columbia University. In 1943, Kirchheimer moved from New York to Washington, D.C. with his second wife Anne Rosenthal, who later bore his second child, Peter. He took a position as a part-time research analyst at the Research and Analysis Branch of the U. S. Office of Strategic Services, eventually directing the total research activities of the Central European Branch. While at the State Department, Kirchheimer accepted part-time teaching positions at American University and Howard University. He left the State Department in 1955 to teach full time, accepting a professorship in the Graduate Faculty of the New School of Social Research. On November 22, 1965, while boarding a plane at Dulles airport on his way to teach at Columbia University, Otto Kirchheimer suffered a fatal heart attack.

From the description of Otto Kirchheimer papers, 1929-1972. (University at Albany). WorldCat record id: 80101467


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  • Constitutions
  • World War, 1939-1945--Refugees
  • Political science


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  • Germany (as recorded)