Bamberger, Fritz, 1902-

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Siegfried Fritz Bamberger was born on January 7, 1902 in Frankfurt-am-Main, the son of the businessman Max and Amalie (née Wolf) Bamberger. He grew up in Gelsenkirchen, where the family resided, and attended the Städtische Oberrealschule (Public High School) there. At the University of Berlin he studied philosophy, literature and Oriental languages, and at the Hochschule für die Wissenschaft des Judentums Jewish studies. At the age of 21 he had already earned his doctorate in philosophy and soon thereafter continued as a research fellow and lecturer in philosophy at the Hochschule für die Wissenschaft des Judentums . Later he became director of the Berlin Lehrerbildungsanstalt and head of the school administration of the Berlin Jewish Community. He also taught at and helped to found the Jüdisches Lehrhaus in Berlin. In 1933 he married violinist Käte (later Kate) Schwabe, originally of Aschersleben. They had two children, Michael and Gabrielle.

In 1939 Fritz Bamberger and his wife immigrated to the United States, where they first settled in Chicago. From 1939 until 1942 he taught philosophy and comparative literature at Chicago's College of Jewish Studies. Even after Fritz Bamberger's father, Max Bamberger, died in 1940, Fritz had been in the process of assisting his mother to immigrate to the United States when the American consulates in Germany were closed in July 1941. Amalie Bamberger died in Warsaw in May 1942.

From 1942 until 1961 Fritz Bamberger worked for Coronet magazine, a publication of Esquire, Inc. beginning as a part-time researcher and eventually working his way up through the organization until he became editor-in-chief in 1952. In 1956 he became executive director of Esquire, Inc. In 1952 Kate Bamberger died; Fritz Bamberger would later marry Maria Weinberg in 1963.

In 1962 Fritz Bamberger returned to the world of academia, finding a position at the Hebrew University College – Jewish Institute of Religion in New York City. There he became a professor of intellectual history and a member of the college's Board of Governors in addition to being the assistant to the President. He retired from Hebrew University College in 1979.

In addition to his professional appointments, Fritz Bamberger engaged himself in the work of Jewish research organizations. He was vice-president of the Leo Baeck Institute, on the executive committee of the Frank L. Weil Institute for Studies in Religion and Humanities and vice-chairman of the World Union for Progressive Judaism's North American Board. In 1982 he received an honorary doctorate from Hebrew Union College. He died in 1984.

Fritz Bamberger was active in Jewish scholarship and published a number of academic works in addition to having been an avid bibliophile. In Berlin he was a member of a bibliophile society, the Bibliophilen Freunde, formed after the former Berliner Bibliophilen-Abend was dissolved by the Nazis. In 1961 Bamberger founded the Society for Jewish Bibliophiles in New York. He had an extensive and reputable collection of books on Spinoza, numbering three thousand volumes, which his family gave to the Hebrew Union College – Jewish Institute of Religion branch in Jerusalem in 1990.

  • 1924: Entstehung des Wertproblems
  • 1929: Moses Mendelssohn
  • 1928 - 1930 : Die Lehren des Judentums
  • 1929 - 1932 : Moses Mendelssohns gesammelte Schriften
  • 1935: Das System des Maimonides
  • 1936: Jüdische Gestalten und ihre Zeit. Eine Geschichte des jüdischen Geistes von Moses bis Mendelssohn
  • 1958: Leo Baeck – The Man and the Idea
  • 1960: Julius Guttman: Philosopher of Judaism
  • 1962: Books are the Best Things
  • 1967: Mendelssohns Begriff vom Judentum
  • 1970: The Mind of Nelson Glück
  • 1974: Exploring a Typology of German Jewry (The Arden House Conference)

From the guide to the Fritz Bamberger Collection, 1901-2001, bulk 1955-1980, (Leo Baeck Institute)

Fritz Bamberger was born in Frankfurt-am-Main, Germany on January 7, 1902. In 1923, he was awarded his Ph.D. in intellectual thought from the University of Berlin. Bamberger worked as a research professor at the Hochschule für die Wissenscraft des Judentums in 1926. From 1934 to 1938, Bamberger served as the director of the Berlin Jewish Teacher's Institute, the Berlin Jewish Lehrhaus as well as the director of the Board of Education for Jews in Berlin. From 1929 to 1932 he collaborated with Leo Strauss on the publication of Moses Mendelssohn's philosophical works in the Jubilaeumsausgabe .

Bamberger came to the United States in 1939, teaching Jewish philosophy at the Chicago College of Jewish Studies and at the University of Chicago until 1942. In 1942, he joined the editorial board of Esquire, an influential men's magazine, as the director of editorial research. In 1948, Bamberger became the editorial director of the magazine. From 1952-1956, Bamberger was the editor-in-chief of Coronet, before becoming the executive director of Esquire, Inc., until 1961. Bamberger returned to academia in 1961 as the Assistant to the President of the New York campus of Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion and as a Professor of Intellectual History, where he remained until his death in 1984.

Bamberger served as the vice-president of the Leo Baeck Institute and was a member of the executive committee of the Frank L. Weil Institute for Studies in Religion and Humanities. He also served as the vice-chairman of the North American Branch of the World Union for Progressive Judaism. He contributed to many German, French, and American periodicals.

Bamberger was author of the following: Die Einstehung des Wertproblems in der Philosophie des 19 Jahrhunderts, (1924); Die Geistige Gestalt Moses Mendelssohns (1929); Das System des Maimonides (1935); Das neunte Schuljahr (1937); Zunz's Conception of History (1941); Leo Baeck: the Man and the Idea (1958); Julius Guttman-Professor of Judaism (1961). Bamberger also edited the following works: Die Lehren des Judentums, 3 vols. (1928-1930); Moses Mendelssohns Gesammelte Schriften, 3 vols. (1929-1932); Herders Blaetter der Vorzeit (1936); and Books are the Best Things (1962).

Bamberger married Kate Schwabe in 1933. They had two children, Michael and Gabrielle (Gay). Following his wife's death, Bamberger married Maria E. Nussbaum in 1966. Fritz Bamberger died on September 21, 1984 in New York.

From the guide to the Fritz Bamberger Papers., 1947-1966., (The Jacob Rader Marcus Center of the American Jewish Archives)

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
creatorOf Fritz Bamberger Papers., 1947-1966. The Jacob Rader Marcus Center of the American Jewish Archives
creatorOf Fritz Bamberger Collection, 1901-2001, bulk 1955-1980 Leo Baeck Institute.
Role Title Holding Repository
Relation Name
associatedWith American Council for Judaism corporateBody
associatedWith Badt-Strauss, Bertha, 1885-1970 person
correspondedWith Cohn, Julius H person
associatedWith Coronet. corporateBody
correspondedWith Dienstag, Jacob I. person
correspondedWith Glueck, Nelson. person
associatedWith Glueck, Nelson, 1900- person
correspondedWith Guttmann, Joseph person
associatedWith Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion corporateBody
correspondedWith Hebrew Union College Press corporateBody
correspondedWith Heller, Lillian person
correspondedWith Hofheimer, Henry person
correspondedWith Jacobs, Maurice. person
associatedWith Jüdisches Lehrhaus, Berlin corporateBody
associatedWith Korn, Bertram Wallace person
associatedWith Leo Baeck Institute corporateBody
correspondedWith Lyons, Maxwell person
correspondedWith Marcus, Jacob Rader person
correspondedWith Morgenstern, Julian person
associatedWith Morgenstern, Julian, 1881-1976 person
correspondedWith Reichert, Victor E. person
correspondedWith Rosenberger, Ludwig person
correspondedWith Roth, Cecil person
correspondedWith Sandmel, Samuel person
correspondedWith Snyder, Herman E. person
correspondedWith Society of Jewish Bibliophiles corporateBody
associatedWith Strauss, Bruno person
correspondedWith University Publishers, Inc corporateBody
correspondedWith Weitzner, Emil person
correspondedWith Zafren, Herbert C. person
correspondedWith Zweibel, Joel. person
Place Name Admin Code Country
Chicago (Ill.)
New York (N.Y.)
Subject
Jews--Education
Publishers and Publishing
Occupation
Rabbis--New York (N.Y.)
Activity

Person

Birth 1902-01-07

Death 1984-09-24

Americans

English

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