Bild des Stadtmuseeums

Vol. XIX No. 5 May, 1964    AJR INFORMATION




 In pre-Hitler Germany Ernst Feder, who died in Berlin last month at the age of 83, was one of the most respected democratic journalists, one of the leading sub-editors and leader-writers of the Berliner Tageblatt. He belonged to the Liberal school of thought which derived from such figures of the Bismarck era as Eduard Lasker and Ludwig Bamberger and found its mouthpiece in Die Nation, the weekly edited by Theodor Barth, in which also Paul Nathan took part. We owe to Feder not only the commented edition of Bamberger's diary but also a biography of Paul Nathan whom he greatly admired.

For a man of Feder's convictions the advent of Nazism was not only a personal blow but the collapse of the whole foundation of his political and moral image. He spent his exile in Brazil, where he entered into close relationship with Stefan Zweig, who had found refuge in that remote country but finally succumbed to dispair. When Feder returned to Berlin in 1957 he found a different city from that he had left. More than ever he had become interested in Jewish affairs. Having always been a proud Jew, he had now become deeply engaged in the study of all aspects of the Jewish problem.

He was glad to establish links with the Leo Baeck Institute and contributed an essay on Paul Nathan to its Year Book III (1958). He started to work on other projects of Jewish research, but unfortunately his failing health prevented him from carrying out the plans of which he was so fond. Whenever one visited Feder in his house in Berlin, he was surrounded by mountains of books on Jewish subjects. His wide knowledge of men and affairs of the liberal era and his reminiscences were an invaluable source of reconstructing the past.

At the age of over 80, and gravely handicapped by his illness, Feder preserved his mental alertness almost to his last day. He was effectively assisted by his wife whom he lovingly called " my secretary ". She shared his interests and encouraged him in his work. To her we wish to express our sincerest condolence. With her we all shall sadly miss this — one of the last —noble representative of the vanished culture of the German Jewish inteligentsia.


At the funeral. Federal Minister Ernst Lemmer, a close friend of the deceased, paid tribute to Feder's courage, political insight and sense of justice. He also read out a personal message from Federal President Luebke in which the President stated that Germany had lost one of its greatest publicists.