Gumbel, Emil Julius, 1891-

Alternative names
Dates:
Birth 1891-07-18
Death 1966-09-10
Americans
German, English

Biographical notes:

German mathematical statistician, anti-Nazi activist.

From the description of Papers, [ca. 1934]-1966. (University of Chicago Library). WorldCat record id: 52247954

From the description of Papers, . [ca. 1934]-1966. (University of Chicago Library). WorldCat record id: 45478562

Born in Munich on July 18, 1891, Emil J. Gumbel studied mathematics, economics, statistics, and physics at the universities of Munich, Berlin, and Heidelberg, where he completed his habilitation in statistics in 1923, and served as Privatdozent and professor. He joined the Unabhaengige Sozialdemokratische Partei Deutschlands (USPD) and later the Sozialdemokratische Partei Deutschlands (SPD), and was active in pacifist and left-wing causes. He was dismissed by the University of Heidelberg in 1932 because of his political activities, and emigrated to France, where he taught at Paris and Lyon, and was active in emigré politics. In 1940, he emigrated to the United States, where he taught at various institutions of higher learning. He died in Brooklyn on September 10, 1966.

From the guide to the Emil J. Gumbel Microfilm Collection: Political Papers of an Anti-Nazi Scholar in Weimar and Exile, 1914-1966, (Leo Baeck Institute Archives)

Emil Julius Gumbel was born in Munich, Germany on July 18, 1891. He was a statistician and left-wing pacifist who spent most of his adult life fighting to promote German democracy against militarism and Nazism. The Nazis branded Gumbel an enemy of the German people forcing him into exile, where he participated extensively in emigré political and cultural activities. He died on September 10, 1966.

From the description of Emil J. Gumbel collection: political papers of an anti-Nazi scholar in Weimar and exile, 1914-1966 (inclusive), [microform]. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 122501492

Emil J. Gumbel, (1891-1966), a mathematical statistician, was one of the many German intellectuals who opposed the Nazi regime and fled their homeland with the hope that democratic government in Germany could be restored through their efforts abroad. The Gumbel papers reflect his associations with fellow anti-Nazis, and their activities to help their homeland recover from the devastation wrought by the Third Reich. Gumbel's early life was spent in Munich where he studied economics, engineering, and actuarial science as well as mathematics and statistics. He joined the faculty of Heidelberg University in 1922 and during the next decade became widely known for his political writings as well as his scientific work. His political views were largely the result of a determined pacifism acquired during his service in the First World War. Through the 1920's he wrote several books and articles which exposed the militaristic goals and political intimidation of right-wing elements whose influence was then growing in Germany, especially the Freikorps and the young National Socialist Party. As a result of his investigations Gumbel was dismissed from the Heidelberg faculty when the Nazis came to power in 1933. He spent the next several years in France, teaching at the Universities of Paris and Lyons, then, upon the German invasion of France in 1940, Gumbel emigrated to New York City, where he obtained a position at the New School for Social Research.

Gumbel's knowledge of German political affairs enabled him to take an active part in the struggle against the Nazis. The papers record that he was frequently consulted by students, scholars, and government agencies, especially the Office of Strategic Services. Most of the correspondence in the collection is from the 1940's, during which period Gumbel continued to maintain his ties with former colleagues in Europe, North and South America. The papers include correspondence with several friends whom he helped escape the Nazis, and with such associates as Otto Lehmann-Russbuldt, president of the Deutsche Liga für Menschenrechte, and Paul von Schoenaich of the Deutsche Friedensgesellschaft. Gumbel's postwar concern for the reconstruction of Germany, the welfare of his countrymen, and his opposition to German rearmament are also documented in the papers by correspondence and such public statements as his "Erklärung gegen Deutsche Aufrüstung."

Gumbel continued to teach at the New School and other New York institutions until his death in 1966.

From the guide to the Gumbel, Emil Julius. Papers, ca. 1934-1966, (Special Collections Research Center University of Chicago Library 1100 East 57th Street Chicago, Illinois 60637 U.S.A.)

Emil Julius Gumbel (July 18, 1891-September 10, 1966) was born in Munich to Hermann and Flora Gumbel. He studied mathematics, economics, statistics, and physics at the universities of Munich and Berlin. After further studies at the University of Heidelberg, he completed his habilitation in statistics in 1923, and served there as Privatdozent and professor. He joined the Unabhaengige Sozialdemokratische Partei Deutschlands (USPD) and later the Sozialdemokratische Partei Deutschlands (SPD), and was active in pacifist and left-wing groups including the Deutsche Liga für Menschenrechte (German Human Rights League). His political and scholarly interests were combined in his studies in the 1920s of the so-called Fememorde, a series of political murders during the Weimar Republic. In 1932, Gumbel was among the many prominent signatories of the anti-Nazi Dringender Appell (Urgent Call for Unity). For his work on political violence and his left-leaning views, Gumbel was among the Nazis' most-hated public intellectuals. He was dismissed by the University of Heidelberg in 1932 and emigrated to France.

There, Gumbel taught at Paris and Lyon and was active in emigré politics. In 1940, he emigrated to the United States, where he taught at various institutions of higher learning in New York City including the New School, Columbia University, and the École Libre Des Hautes Études. He died in Brooklyn on September 10, 1966.

Gumbel was a prolific writer in two distinct areas. His political writings, particularly in the 1920s and early 1930s, focused on pacifism, renewed German militarism, and the so-called Fememorde . His hundreds of mathematical writings primarily concern statistics, particularly extreme values and the predictability of extreme events.

From the guide to the Emil J. Gumbel Collection, Undated, 1912-1967, (Leo Baeck Institute Archives)

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Subjects:

  • World War, 1939-1945
  • Communism
  • Professions and occupations; university teachers
  • Unabhaengige Sozialdemokratische Partei Deutschlands
  • Sozialdemokratische Partei Deutschlands
  • Germany--Politics and government--1933-1945
  • Emigration and immigration--1933-1945--USA
  • World War, 1939-1945; resistance
  • Japan
  • Socialism
  • United States. Office of Strategic Services
  • Scholars, Jewish--Germany
  • Professions and occupations; economists
  • Paetel, Karl
  • Sweden
  • Anti--Nazi movements in Germany
  • Education, higher--1918-1933
  • Professions and occupations; mathematicians
  • Pacifism
  • Concentration or internment camps
  • Professions and occupations; statisticians
  • Voyages and travels
  • Gumbel, Emil J., 1891-1966
  • Shanghai
  • Germany--Politics and government--1918-1933
  • National socialism
  • Holocaust
  • Microfilm
  • Spain
  • Ullrich, Volker
  • Anti--Nazi movement--History
  • Deutsche Liga fuer Menschenrechte
  • Anti--Nazi movement
  • Berlin. Universitaet
  • Emigration and immigration; 1933-1945; France
  • Heidelberg. Universitaet
  • Anti--Nazi movements outside Germany
  • Brenner, Arthur
  • Statistics

Occupations:

not available for this record

Places:

  • France (as recorded)
  • New York (N.Y.) (as recorded)
  • Germany (as recorded)
  • Heidelberg, Germany (as recorded)