Entries in German-Jewish

Aaron, Daniel
A cofounder, president, and CEO of the Comcast cable empire, Daniel Aaron emigrated with his family to the United States in 1937. Continue Reading »
Altman, Benjamin
Benjamin Altman founder of B. Altman & Company. Continue Reading »
Annenberg, Walter
Walter Hubert Annenberg was a publisher, editor, diplomat, and philanthropist. After assuming control his father's company, Triangle Publications, he went on to create a veritable media empire that included Seventeen magazine and TV Guide. Continue Reading »
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. Continue Reading »
Berliner, Emile
Although he has been overshadowed in the public imagination by contemporaries Alexander Graham Bell and Thomas Edison, German-American inventor and entrepreneur Emile Berliner actually improved two inventions associated closely with those other men, the telephone and the talking machine. Continue Reading »
Berlitz, Maximilian D
German-Jewish immigrant Maximilian D. Berlitz founded the first Berlitz School of Languages in the United States in 1878. He went on to create a company that made his name synonymous with foreign-language instruction in the United States and throughout the world. Continue Reading »
Bernstein, Arnold
Arnold Bernstein was a successful shipping magnate in Hamburg before immigrating to the United States under pressure from the Nazi Regime. Despite losing his company the Arnold Bernstein Schiffahrtsgesellschaft and most of his assets, Bernstein re-established himself in the United States, founding a new shipping company, Arnold Bernstein Steamship Corporation. Continue Reading »
Bettmann, Otto
Otto Ludwig Bettmann was a German Jewish refugee who emigrated from Berlin to New York City in 1935 and established a unique picture archive in the United States. At a time when photojournalism was on the rise, he was able to channel his personal penchant and obsession for collecting pictures into a thriving business. Continue Reading »
Boas, Emil
Emil Leopold Boas was the general manager and resident director of the Hamburg-America Steamship Company (Hamburg-Amerikanische Packetfahrt-Actien-Gesellschaft or HAPAG) in New York City from 1892 to 1912. Boas joined HAPAG after serving in various capacities in the Hamburg and New York offices of his uncle's steamship ticket agency, C.B. Richard & Boas Co. Continue Reading »
Boyle, Gertrude
In 1970, when Gert Boyle became the president of Columbia Sportswear, the company was a small, struggling organization with low profit margins. Five years later, Columbia went international and was expanding at an impressive rate. Continue Reading »
Bronner, Emanuel
Emanuel Bronner was a pioneer of natural cosmetics. Coming from a traditional German soap maker family, he founded Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps in 1948. While the business remained small in terms of turnover and profits, its liquid peppermint soap was one of the first all-natural products available on the post-World War II American market. Continue Reading »
Cohn, Harry
A Hollywood mogul, Harry Cohn founded Columbia Pictures and ran the studio for nearly four decades. Under his watch, Columbia grew quickly, earning a reputation for profitability and artistic achievement within the film community. Continue Reading »
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. Continue Reading »
Cramer Sachs, Charlotte
Charlotte Cramer Sachs was an artist, inventor, entrepreneur, food and wine enthusiast, and an early developer of prepared cake and muffin mixes. Her company Cramer Products Company pioneered the manufacture and distribution of many types of prepared food mixes under the brand Joy Prepared Mixes. Continue Reading »
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. Continue Reading »
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. Continue Reading »
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. Continue Reading »
Frank, Werner
Werner L. Frank was a pioneering figure and longtime contributor to the United States and international computer industry. After being exposed to the young field of digital computing in the U.S. Army and studying it in college, Frank went on to co-found Informatics, one of the path-breaking early producers of software products in the 1960s. Continue Reading »
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. Continue Reading »
Goldman, Henry
Today, second generation German-Jewish immigrant Henry Goldman is primarily remembered for his role as an early partner in Goldman Sachs, the international investment bank that still bears his family’s name. His accomplishments stretched well beyond his own firm, however. In addition to revolutionizing Goldman Sachs, he helped change the American economy by shifting investment banking away from railroads and heavy industry and toward mass-retail establishments. He also pioneered an approach to capital valuation that focused not on physical assets, but on future earnings. Continue Reading »