Dr. Fritz Bamberger Memorial Lecture Series

Headshot of Dr. Fritz BambergerThe Dr. Fritz Bamberger Memorial Lecture Series honors the memory of Dr. Fritz Bamberger (1902-1984), the noted German-Jewish scholar and specialist in Jewish intellectual history.

Born in 1902 in Frankfurt-am-Main, Dr. Fritz Bamberger received his doctorate from the University of Berlin. From 1926 to 1933 he was a member of the Forschungsinstitut of the Akademie fur die Wissenschaft des Judentums in Berlin, working on books about Maimonides and Gabirol and serving as one of the editors of the “Akademie edition” of Moses Mendelssohn’s Collected Works. From 1933 to 1934 he taught philosophy at the Hochschule die Wissenschaft des Jundentums in Berlin, of which he was a graduate.

After Hitler’s rise in Germany, Dr. Bamberger organized at great personal risk a system of schools from kindergarten to college for Jewish students expelled by the Nazis from public schools. In 1934 he was appointed Director of the Bureau of Education for Jews in Berlin and President of the Jewish Teachers College, which was established to train general teachers for the new Jewish schools. In these capacities, he was responsible for the establishment of new types of Jewish schools and for many educational innovations designed to meet the needs of young Jews during the Nazi era. In January 1939 he came to the United States where, until 1942, he taught at the College of Jewish Studies and the University of Chicago. In 1942 Dr. Bamberger joined Esquire, Inc., the American publishing house, where he served as Executive Director of Esquire and Coronet magazines. After twenty years in the publishing field, he resigned in 1962 to become Assistant to the President and Professor of Intellectual History at HUC-JIR in New York. Dr. Bamberger served on HUC-JIR’s Board of Governors and was awarded the honorary degree of Doctor of Humane Letters in 1982 for his courage, moral integrity, and scholarly attainments. Dr. Bamberger’s encyclopedic collection of works by and about Spinoza is a treasured resource of the S. Zalman and Ayala Abramov Library at HUC-JIR/Jerusalem.

A contributor to scholarly journals and general periodicals, his publications included The Origin of the Problem of Values in the Philosophy of the 19th Century (1924), Moses Mendelssohn (1929), The System of Maimonides (1935), The Ninth School Year (1937), Zunz’s Conception of History (1941), Leo Baeck – The Man and the Idea (1958), and Julius Guttmann – Philosopher of Judaism (1961). He was the editor of The Teachings of Judaism (3 volumes; 1928-30), Moses Mendelssohn’s Collected Writings (7 volumes, 1929-32; new edition 1970-74), Mendelssohn Autographs (1929), The Book Zunz (1932), Herder’s Jewish Fables (1936), and Books are the Best Things (1962). In 2003, at the inauguration of the Dr. Fritz Bamberger Memorial Lecture, Hebrew Union College Press published Dr. Bamberger’s Spinoza and Anti-Spinoza Literature, the Printed Literature of Spinozism 1665-1832, and reprinted his Books are the Best Things, An Anthology from Old Hebrew Writings.

The Dr. Fritz Bamberger Memorial Lecture Series is sponsored by the Bamberger Family in memory of their father, Dr. Fritz Bamberger, z”l, who served as Assistant to the President and Professor of Intellectual History at HUC-JIR/New York.