Stern-Täubler, Selma, 1890-1981

Variant names

Hide Profile

Born on July 24, 1890 in Kippenheim, Baden, Selma Stern was the daughter of the physician Dr. Julius Stern and his wife Emilie, née Durlacher. In 1901 the family resettled in Baden-Baden, where Dr. Stern would soon possess a very large international clientele.

Growing up, Selma Stern was labeled a "Wunderkind" and because of her talents was the first girl to receive special permission to attend the secondary school in the humanities at only 14 years old. There she quickly became the first in her class and at 18 passed the Abitur exam with honors.

In 1908 her father died at 49 years old, which was a hard blow for Selma Stern. Her mother made it possible for her to continue her education despite great difficulties, and she began to study history in Heidelberg. After three semesters she changed her studies to Munich and received her doctorate summa cum laude shortly before the outbreak of the first World War.

Selma Stern spent the war years with her mother and youngest sister in Frankfurt am Main, where she engaged in scholarly work and taught. After the end of the war, she was called to the newly-founded Akademie fuer die Wissenschaft des Judentums (Academy for the Scientific Study of Judaism) in Berlin by her future spouse, Professor Eugen Taeubler. There she began her work Der Preußische Staat und die Juden . In 1927 Selma Stern married Eugen Taeubler, then a Professor of ancient history in Heidelberg. She continued working on her scholarly writing, and visited archives to collect materials for her work, even during the Hitler period, when she did so with difficulty. In 1936 the Taeublers moved to England but returned to Germany a year later, moving to Berlin, where Professor Taeubler taught young rabbis and teachers at the Lehranstalt fuer die Wissenschaft des Judentums (Institute for the Scientific Study of Judaism). In 1938 Selma Stern-Taeubler was forbidden to continue working in archives and libraries, but was assisted by friends such as Leo Baeck and others, who helped her retrieve excerpts of documents inaccessible to her.

In 1941 the Taeublers took the last ship to America before the United States entered the war and ocean travel became dangerous. Professor Taeubler became a lecturer in Jewish history at Hebrew Union College in Cincinatti, and his wife became the first archivist at the American Jewish Archives, at the same time working further on her scholarly writing.

Professor Taeubler died in 1953, and in 1956 Selma Stern-Taeubler received the Dr. phil. Honoris causa from Hebrew Union College. In 1960, after having retired from the American Jewish Archives, she moved to Basel, where her youngest sister lived. There she wrote and completed her documentary work Der Preußische Staat und die Juden, the original manscript having been mostly destroyed by the Nazis in the 1930s, and also edited works written by her husband.

As she became older, her health worsened, and she was forced to give up her apartment in Basel. Shortly afterward she entered the "La Charmilla" old home because of the condition of her health, where she hoped to be able to continue working.

Selma Stern-Taeubler died on August 17, 1981.

She published five books in her lifetime: Der Hofjude im Zeitalter des Absolutismus in 1950; Ihr seid meine Zeugen - Ein Novellenkranz aus der Zeit des Schwarzen Todes in den Jahren 1348-1349 in 1972; Josel von Rosheim - Befehlshaber der Judenschaft in Heiligen Römischen Reich Deutscher Nation in 1959; Jud Süß - Ein Beitrag zur Deutschen und zur Jüdischen Geschichte in 1929, reprinted in 1973; and Der Preußische Staat und die Juden - Dokumtarwerk in 7 Bänden in 1962-1971.

From the guide to the Selma Stern-Taeubler Collection, 1713-1991, (Leo Baeck Institute)

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
referencedIn Karl Alexander Herzog von Wuertemberg und sein Juedischer Kabinettsminister Josef Suess Oppenheimer : Eine kultur-historische Studie / von Moritz Margulies. Yeshiva University
referencedIn Baron, Salo W. Papers, 1900-1980 Stanford University. Department of Special Collections and University Archives
referencedIn Jacob Jacobson Collection, 1660-1958 Leo Baeck Institute Archives
creatorOf Selma Stern-Taeubler Collection, 1713-1991 Leo Baeck Institute.
Role Title Holding Repository
Relation Name
associatedWith Baron, Salo W. (Salo Wittmayer), 1895-1989. person
associatedWith Jacobson, Jacob, 1888-1968 person
associatedWith Margulies, Moritz. person
Place Name Admin Code Country
Kippenheim 01 DE
Basel BS CH
Jews, German
Jewish historians
Prussia (Germany) History, 1640-1740
Prussia (Germany) History, 1740-1789


Birth 1890-07-24

Death 1981-08-17





Ark ID: w6pz93w0

SNAC ID: 53840276