German-Jewish

Baer, Ralph

Ralph Baer was an engineer and inventor particularly known for creating the first videogame console. Baer and his family came to the United States as German Jewish refugees in 1938 when Baer was sixteen years old and settled in the Bronx in New York City. Although he spent the majority of his career working within military defense contracting, he remained a passionate inventor of electronic games and toys. To support this passion, Baer established his consulting firm, R. H. Baer Consultants, in 1975, through which he partnered with well-known companies. Over the course of his life, his inventions and over one-hundred and fifty U.S. and international patents have contributed to the advancement of military defense, television technology, video gaming, electronic toys, and other electronic consumer products.

Cone, Moses Herman

A second-generation German-American, Moses Cone began his career as a travelling salesman, or “drummer,” for his father’s Baltimore dry goods business. His customers included Southern mill owners who taught him much about the textile industry. Moses Cone eventually used this knowledge to break into the industry himself, first by securing ownerships stakes in various Southern mills, then by founding Cone Export & Commission Co., and finally by building his own mills in Greensboro, North Carolina. By 1908, the year of his death, Moses Cone and his brother Ceasar led the world in denim production.

Enoch, Kurt

Kurt Enoch grew up in Hamburg as one of three children to liberal progressive Jewish parents who owned a Hamburg-based printing plant. Following the rise of National Socialism in Germany, Kurt Enoch immigrated to France, England, and then the United States continuing his career as a publisher at each stop. An innovator in the publishing field, Kurt Enoch helped introduce changes such as sleeker formats, updated designs, and a thoughtful, strategic marketing of his books made Enoch a major transformer and pioneer of the paperback publishing business with his influence showing in the trade until today.

Expulsion – Plunder – Flight: Businessmen and Emigration from Nazi Germany

A defining feature of political and social developments under National Socialist rule between 1933 and 1945 was the forced emigration of tens of thousands of Germans. After being deprived of their rights and dispossessed, they tried to escape persecution and annihilation by fleeing from the Third Reich. While the origins and circumstances of emigration from the Reich after 1933 are among the most intensively researched questions in German history, the fate of businessmen in the context of this emigration has received relatively little attention.

Filene, Edward Albert

Edward Albert Filene was a renowned department store magnate, civic reformer, and one of the earliest and most zealous champions of the credit union movement in the United States. Along with his younger brother Lincoln, Edward operated the famous Boston-based department store Filene’s, which they took over from their father, William, in 1891. During the first half of the twentieth century, Filene’s became one of the largest and most successful retail stores in the country, rivaling several of the premier retailers of the period, including Macy’s and Sears & Roebuck.

German Jews and Peddling in America

Peddling helped launch the Jewish migration out of Germany and its predecessor states. The knowledge that thousands of young single men could come to America and get on the road, laden with a jumble of goods on their backs, and reasonably hope to end up a married proprietor of a thriving business, propelled them. The fact that they could fulfill the aims of their migration, settle down, and succeed in business, also helped change the face of the Jewish world for decades to come.