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Arthur Prinz Collection

Identifier: AR 5103 / MF 681

Scope and Content Note

This collection details the life and work of the economist and professor Arthur Prinz. Much of his research and writing focused on the works of Marx as well as the relationship between German Jews and the economy. In addition to these topics, Prinz, who worked with the Hilfsverein der deutschen Juden in the 1930s, also wrote extensively on the subjects of emigration and immigration, especially of German Jewry.

Perhaps the most well-represented topic in this collection regards the work of the Hilfsverein. Correspondence concerning this topic will be found in Series II, including correspondence with former members of the Hilfsverein. A large amount of material on this topic is also located in Series III: Manuscripts, and includes memoranda and articles by Prinz on the work of the organization, lectures on its work, and a fictional play given to Prinz by his colleagues at the Hilfsverein at the time of his leaving Germany. The related topic of Jewish emigration is also placed in several areas of the collection. Manuscripts of articles by Prinz on emigration are located in Subseries 3 of Series III: Manuscripts. Research notes, clippings, and books and offprints on such topics are in Series IV: Research.

Prinz's writings and research on economics, especially in relation to the ideas of Karl Marx and the role played by German Jewry in the development of that country's economy are also to be found in several areas of this collection. Manuscripts of Arthur Prinz's unpublished dissertation, Das Marxsche System in psychologischer Betrachtung, in both the original German and a lengthened English version, is located in Series III: Manuscripts, Subseries 3: Non-Fiction. Documents pertaining to this piece include not only drafts of the manuscripts, but also research notes. The same subseries also holds the work produced by Arthur Prinz on German Jewry's role in the changing German economy: Strukturwandlungen der deutschen Wirtschaft und die Wirtschaftstätigkeit der deutschen Juden (Structural Changes in the German Economy and the Economical Activities of the German Jews). Material for this work includes manuscripts, research notes, and an outline. In addition, the collection also contains index cards pertaining to this topic. Further information concerning economics topics will be found among the research materials located in Series IV: Research.

A third area of interest in this collection concerns Arthur Prinz's portrayal of everyday life in Palestine. Series I holds a biographical description of Prinz's experiences shortly after arriving in the area. Series II holds correspondence between Prinz and other individuals, which mention life in Palestine and the conflicts between various Jewish groups there. Finally, Series III also holds material on this topic in the form of memoranda and notes for a lecture.

Very little detailed information about Arthur Prinz's personal life in America will be found among the documents of this collection. Information on his family members is scarce. Researchers should also be aware that many of the notes and manuscripts in this collection are written in stenography.


  • 1908-1982

Language of Materials

This collection is mainly in German and English, with some Hebrew, Spanish, and French.

Access Restrictions

Open to researchers.

Collection is microfilmed; use MF 681.

Use Restrictions

There may be some restrictions on the use of the collection. For more information, contact:

Leo Baeck Institute, Center for Jewish History, 15 West 16th Street, New York, NY 10011


Biographical Note

Arthur Prinz was born in Guatemala City, Guatemala, on December 3 1898, the son of Hermann Prinz and Clara née Gutmann. His father had emigrated to the United States from Germany in 1876 and was a naturalized U.S. citizen who became a plantation owner in Guatemala; his mother was a teacher. In 1904 Hermann Prinz took the family to Berlin so his parents could meet their grandchildren, and died suddenly while there, leaving Clara Prinz to raise their three children, Walter, Arthur, and Alice. It was Clara Prinz who taught her son, Arthur, English.

Arthur Prinz attended the Bismarcks-Gymnasium in Berlin until 1918, then continued his studies at the University of Berlin where he studied economics, history, and philosophy. In 1923 he graduated magna cum laude, but his dissertation, Das Marxsche System in psychologischer Betrachtungen, was not published due to the rising inflation during this time in Germany. Revision of the thesis was well underway in late 1932 and two publishers were interested in it, but Hitler’s appointment as Chancellor doomed such plans. From 1923 until 1933 Prinz taught economics at Humboldt University in Berlin. But here again the events of 1933, and specifically the exclusion of Jews from the education sector, disrupted his career, and he was dismissed in July 1933.

In 1933 Arthur Prinz was conducting research for the Streseman-Stiftung to write on international migration after World War I. It was while researching this topic that Prinz became involved with the Hilfsverein der Juden in Deutschland (German Jewish Aid Society). He worked for this agency from 1933 until 1939. Here he was primarily responsible for editing the organization’s bulletin Jüdische Auswanderung. In addition, he conducted lectures on the subject of refugee and relief matters. On the evening of November 9/10, 1938, he was arrested and then released.

In 1939 Prinz went with his sister Alice, who was very ill, to Palestine, intending to return to Germany and his work with the Hilfsverein once she was settled there. His colleagues in Germany convinced him to remain there, where he lived until 1947, working as a free-lance teacher and writer for newspapers. It was in Palestine that Arthur Prinz met and married his wife, Fanny Haber. In 1948 he emigrated to the United States and found a position teaching economics at Dickinson College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania. He maintained an active interest in Jewish and Israeli affairs as well as American socio-economic and political developments, and his prolific journalistic output in the period after his immigration to the United States documents these intellectual concerns. Arthur Prinz died in San Diego on August 27, 1981.


5.5 Linear Feet


This collection documents the life and work of the economist Arthur Prinz. It is comprised of correspondence, documents, diaries, clippings, research notes, index cards, and books and offprints. Information on various topics, especially immigration and emigration during the 1930s, Jews and the German economy, and Marxist economics will also be found here.


Collection is available on 13 reels of microfilm (MF 681).

  1. Reel 1: 1/1-1/25
  2. Reel 2: 1/27-1/41
  3. Reel 3: 1/42-2/5
  4. Reel 4: 2/6-2/20
  5. Reel 5: 2/21-3/8
  6. Reel 6: 3/9-3/24
  7. Reel 7: 3/24-3/34
  8. Reel 8: 3/35-4/14
  9. Reel 9: 4/15-4/36
  10. Reel 10: 4/37-5/Index Cards
  11. Reel 11: 6/1-6/11
  12. Reel 12: 6/12-6/22
  13. Reel 13: 6/23-6/31

Separated Material

Some photos have been removed to the Leo Baeck Institute's photograph collection.

A 23-page memoir written by Arthur Prinz, "Plunging into Chaos," is located in the Leo Baeck Institute's memoir collection. (ME 805)

Processing Information

This collection was reprocessed by Dianne Ritchey Oummia in November-December 2004 to reflect the addition of circa 3.5 linear feet of addenda included since the creation of the original finding aid. In addition, some folder titles were changed from the original finding aid to more accurately describe their contents. Some folder titles have been translated from German into English.

Guide to the Papers of Arthur Prinz (1898-1981), 1908-1982 AR 5103 / MF 681
Processed by Walter F. Peterson
© 2004
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Description is in English.
Edition statement
This version was derived from ArthurPrinz.xml

Revision Statements

  • January 2006.: Entities removed from EAD finding aid.
  • July 2008.: References to Dickinson College corrected.
  • 2010-05-17 : Encoding of linking to digital objects from finding aid was changed from <extref> to <dao> through dao_conv.xsl. Microfilm information added.

Repository Details

Part of the Leo Baeck Institute Repository

15 West 16th Street
New York NY 10011 United States