Colm, Gerhard, 1897-1968

Variant names

Hide Profile

Gerhard Colm was best known for his work as the Chief Economist of the National Planning Association and serving as a leading economic adviser for both the Roosevelt and Truman administrations. Colm was born on June 30, 1897 in Hamburg, Germany to Emil and Olga Strassburger Colm. He received his doctorate in 1921 from the University of Frieburg and did post-graduate work at the University of Munich and the University of Berlin. Colm served as a statistician for the German government, but left government service to enter academia as head of the research division of the Institute of World Economics at the University of Kiel. Colm's active participation in groups agitating against the Freikorps and other pro-Hitler organizations forced him to emigrate in 1933 to the United States as a refugee from Nazi Germany. Colm came to New York as one of the founding members of the University in Exile of the New School for Social Research, to which he was elected Dean of Exiled Scholars in 1938. In 1939 Colm was named by Secretary of Commerce Harry L. Hopkins as Fiscal and Financial expert of the new industrial economics division of that department. In this capacity Colm developed national income estimates for economic planning. One year later Colm became principal fiscal analyst of the Bureau of the Budget and assistant chief of the division, a position he held until 1946. In addition, Colm lectured at George Washington University and served the U.S. government on many special economic missions to foreign countries. From 1946 to 1952 he was economist on the Council of Economic Advisors, Executive Office of the President. In 1952 Colm joined the private sector as Chief Economist for the National Planning Association, remaining in that position until his death.

From the description of Gerhard Colm papers, 1929-1972. (University at Albany). WorldCat record id: 82072790

Gerhard Colm was born in Hanover, Germany on June 30, 1897. From 1921 to 1927 he was an economist at Federal Statistics Bureau, Berlin, Germany. In 1933 he immigrated to United States, and was a professor of Economics at the New School of Social Research, New York City until 1939. From 1939 to 1940 he worked as a fiscal expert at Department of Commerce in Washington, D.C. In 1940 Colm became a lecturer at George Washington University. From 1940 to 1946 he was the Principal Fiscal Analyst and Assistant Chief at the Bureau of the Budget in the Fiscal Division. From 1946 to 1952 he worked as an economist for the Council of Economic Advisers. In 1952 he became the Chief Economist at the National Planning Association. In 1953 he was a member of UNRRA (United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration) mission to advise on the economic stabilization in Korea. In 1962 he was a member of the Ad Hoc Committee for Appraisal of Chilean Development Program. He died in Chevy Chase, Maryland, on December 25, 1968.

From the description of Colm, Gerhard, 1897-1968 (U.S. National Archives and Records Administration). naId: 10574239

Economist and government official.

From the description of Papers, 1944-1947. (Harry S Truman Library). WorldCat record id: 70959564

Economist. Immigrated to the United States from Germany in 1933; naturalized as a U.S. citizen, 1939.

From the description of Gerhard Colm papers, 1935-1968 (bulk 1940-1968). (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 70982847

Biographical Note

  • 1897, June 30: Born, Hanover, Germany
  • 1921: Doctor of Political Science, University of Freiburg, Freiburg, Germany
  • 1921 - 1927 : Statistician, Federal Statistical Bureau, Berlin, Germany
  • 1922: Married Hanna Nicolassen
  • 1927 - 1933 : Professor and director of research, Institute for World Economics, Kiel University, Kiel, Germany
  • 1933: Immigrated to the United States
  • 1933 - 1939 : Professor of economics, New School for Social Research, New York, N.Y.
  • 1939: Naturalized as a United States citizen
  • 1939 - 1940 : Fiscal advisor, Commerce Department, Washington, D.C.
  • 1940 - 1946 : Fiscal analyst, Fiscal Division, Bureau of the Budget, Washington, D.C.
  • 1940 - 1962 : Professorial lecturer, George Washington University, Washington, D.C.
  • 1946: Advisor, American military government financial reform mission to Germany
  • 1946 - 1952 : Chief economist, Council of Economic Advisors, Executive Office of the President, Washington, D.C.
  • 1952 - 1968 : Chief economist, National Planning Association
  • 1964: Awarded Bernhard Harms Prize, Institute for World Economy, Kiel University, Kiel, Germany
  • 1968, Dec. 25: Died, Chevy Chase, Md.

From the guide to the Gerhard Colm Papers, 1953-1968, (bulk 1940-1968), (Manuscript Division Library of Congress)

Role Title Holding Repository
Relation Name
associatedWith George Washington University corporateBody
associatedWith Gilbert, Richard V. (Richard Vincent), 1902-1985. person
associatedWith Johnson, Alvin Saunders, 1874- person
associatedWith National Planning Association. corporateBody
associatedWith New School for Social Research (New York, N.Y.) corporateBody
associatedWith Staudinger, Hans, 1889-1980. person
associatedWith United States. corporateBody
associatedWith United States. Congress. House. Committee on Ways and Means. corporateBody
associatedWith United States. Congress. Joint Economic Committee. corporateBody
associatedWith United States. Congress. Senate. Committee on Finance. corporateBody
Place Name Admin Code Country
United States
United States
Washington (D.C.)
New York (State)--New York
United States
Employment stabilization
Full employment policies
Public welfare
World War, 1939-1945
Government economists
Government executives


Birth 1897

Death 1968




Ark ID: w6k93szd

SNAC ID: 20280167