Bloch, Ernst, 1885-1977

Alternative names
Birth 1885-07-08
Death 1977-08-04

Biographical notes:

Ernst Bloch was born in Ludwigshafen in 1885. His parents were Max Bloch, a railroad official, and his wife, Berta (nee Feitel). He studied philosophy in Munich and Wuerzburg, and worked as a private tutor and journalist in Berlin and Heidelberg. In 1913, he married Else von Stritzky. He lost his German citizenship in 1933 and immigrated to Switzerland, where he had also stayed during World War I. Between 1934 and 1938, he lived in Prague. In 1938, he immigrated to New York. In 1948, he returned to Germany and accepted a teaching position at the University of Leipzig. He left Leipzig shortly before the wall was built between East and West Berlin and accepted a professorship in Tuebingen. He died in Tuebingen in 1977.

Max Hirschler was born in Frankenthal in 1886. He studied medicine in Graz, Vienna, and Munich. During his residence at the Breslau University Hospital he met his future wife, Helene Riess, who was an intern there. They got married in 1915, while Max served as a medical doctor in World War I. The couple settled in Ludwigshafen, where his parents lived. Max opened a medical practice in 1919/1920, specializing in general surgery; Helene opened her own practice, specializing in pediatrics, in 1920. Their son Ernst Erich was born in 1924.

In 1935, Max and Helene Hirschler immigrated to the US. Once they had obtained a re-entry permit, they came back to Germany. They returned to the US in November 1938 with their son Ernst Erich. In 1945, when they became American citizens, the family changed its name to Hirshler. Ernst Erich name's was changed to Eric E.

Max openend a practice in Lewiston, Maine. Helene worked in his office as a nurse, but never took the required internship or examinations to resume her medical career. Instead, she taught languages (German, Latin, French, and Italian) at Bates College and privately.

Max Hirshler died in 1963, his wife Helene in 1977.

Eric E. Hirshler became an art historian. He taught at several universities and also served as the executive assistant of the URO and as assistant director Leo Baeck Institute in the 1950s.

Max Hirshler was a close friend of Ernst Bloch’s. They had been classmates in Ludwigshafen. Bloch was a year older, but had to repeat a class and, therefore, ended up being in the same class as Max Hirshler. They remained life-long friends. After Hirshler had opened his practice in Lewiston, he contributed to Bloch's living expenses while Bloch was in the U.S.

Helene Hirshler was an old and life-long friend of the conductor Otto Klemperer. The Klemperer correspondence with the Hirshler family is on deposit at the Music Division of the Library of Congress.

From the guide to the Ernst Bloch Collection, 1934-1980, (Leo Baeck Institute Archives)


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  • Leipzig
  • Emigration and immigration--1933-1945--USA
  • Bloch, Ernst, 1885-1977
  • Klemperer, Otto, 1885-1973
  • Professions and occupations--philosophers
  • Archival materials
  • Hirschler family
  • Professions and occupations--physicans
  • Hirshler, Helene (nee Riess), 1888-1977
  • Hirshler, Max, 1886-1963
  • Professions and occupations--authors
  • Hirshler, Eric E., 1924-
  • Daxner, Michael


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