Hermann Levin Goldschmidt

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Hermann Levin Goldschmidt (born April 11, 1914 in Berlin ; died March 29, 1998 in Zurich ) was a Jewish philosopher.


After graduating from high school in 1932, Goldschmidt did a traineeship at Ullstein Verlag . After the gradual takeover of the publishing house by a company controlled by the National Socialists, his position was dismissed in 1934.

In 1938 Goldschmidt came to Zurich as a student, where he studied philosophy and received his doctorate in 1941 with the work The Nihilism in the Light of a Critical Philosophy . Attempts at habilitation at the University of Zurich failed. Until 1945 he was temporarily in a Swiss internment camp as a refugee.

Fritz Hochwälder , Hans Josephsohn , Robert Jungk , Arnold Künzli , Margarete Susman , Adrien Turel , Peter Weiss and Rudolf Zipkes belonged to his circle of friends .

When he received his residence permit in 1952, he founded a Free Jewish Teaching House in Zurich , which he ran until 1961.

In 1962 he married Mary Bollag (1913–1992), the twin sister of the gallery owner Max G. Bollag .

Hermann Levin Goldschmidt taught for many years at the adult education centers in Zurich and Basel as well as at the teachers' seminar in the Canton of Zurich. He was also a regular freelancer for the NZZ and the Swiss Radio DRS for a long time .

Following Hermann Cohen , Franz Rosenzweig and Martin Buber , he developed the term “ dialogue ” in the 1940s . Philosophy as dialogue , as indicated by the title of his book published in 1948, took up the impulses of dialogical thinking and showed that these have critical validity for post-Auschwitz philosophy far beyond the areas of religious philosophy. In his 1976 book Freedom for Contradiction , he explained in detail how his dialogical approach should be understood as a fruitful and thus liberating enduring the tension of contradiction.

In 1990 he and his wife set up the Dialogik Foundation , which until 2006 was linked to the Archives of Contemporary History at ETH Zurich . His estate is also there.

He found his final resting place in the cemetery of Oberer Friesenberg .

Honors and titles

  • 1957 Leo Baeck Prize
  • 1969 Prof. hc of the University for European Humanistic Studies, Urbino (Italy)
  • 1996 Austrian Cross of Honor for Science and Art


Original editions

  • Philosophy as dialogue . Aehren, Affoltern am Albis, 1948
  • The legacy of German Jewry . EVA, Frankfurt am Main 1957
  • The message of Judaism. Basic concepts, history, present-day work, discussion . EVA, Frankfurt am Main 1960
  • Dialogue. Philosophy based on modern times . EVA, Frankfurt am Main 1964
  • Farewell to Martin Buber . Hegner, Cologne 1966
  • Because we are brothers. Biblical reflection for Jews and Christians . With a foreword by Klaus Hemmerle . Catholic Biblical Works, Stuttgart 1975
  • Healing treason? Judas in the New Testament (with Meinrad Limbeck). With a foreword by Anton Vögtle . Catholic Biblical Works, Stuttgart 1976
  • Freedom for contradiction . Novalis, Schaffhausen 1976
  • Pestalozzi's unfinished revolution . Novalis, Schaffhausen 1977
  • Stick to words . Griffel, Schaffhausen 1977
  • Martin Buber's struggle for reality. Confrontation with Jews, Christians and Sigmund Freud (with Willehad P. Eckert and Lorenz Wachinger ). Catholic Biblical Works, Stuttgart 1977
  • Self-development and self-analysis. How a person becomes who he is and what he can do for himself . Novalis, Schaffhausen 1980
  • Jewish yes to the future of the world. A Swiss documentation of my own participation since 1938 . Novalis, Schaffhausen 1981
  • Way and instruction of the old teacher. Tao Te King of Lao Tzu . Self-published, Zurich 1985
  • Happiness means success. Also: Epicurus' catechism. This is not my party. Message in a bottle from Peter Weiss. The ark . Self-published, Zurich 1989
  • Dialogic again . Self-published, Zurich 1990
  • China's knowledgeable wisdom - certainty heralding Judaism. From world creation to world perfection . Self-published, Zurich 1990
  • Kunstwege 1929–1991 . Self-published, Zurich 1991
  • The question of fellow human beings and fellow people 1951–1992. Chosen - the wrong interpretation. Anti-Semitism - has nothing to do with us Jews . Self-published, Zurich 1992
  • Holistic book. Sefer Ha 'Schlemut (I-III). Self-published, Zurich 1993
  • Holistic book IV. Sefer Ha'schlemut Perek Rewii . Self-published, Zurich 1996
  • Stoa today . Self-published, Zurich 1997
  • My 1933 . Photo essay with pictures by Edith Moos. With an afterword ed. v. Willi Goetschel. Passagen, Vienna 2008, ISBN 978-3-85165-833-0

Work edition

Nine volumes, ed. v. Willi Goetschel at Passagen Verlag , Vienna:


  • Willi Goetschel, John Cartwright and Maja Wicki-Vogt (eds.): Ways of contradiction . Festschrift for HL Goldschmidt. Haupt, Bern 1984, ISBN 3-258-03314-5
  • Peter Weiss: Letters to Hermann Levin Goldschmidt and Robert Jungk 1938–1980 . Ed. V. Beat Mazenauer. Reclam ( UB 1424), Leipzig 1992, ISBN 3-379-01424-9
  • Willi Goetschel (Ed.): Perspektiven der Dialogik . Zurich Colloquium on the 80th birthday of Hermann Levin Goldschmidt. Passagen, Vienna 1994, ISBN 3-85165-129-4
  • Evelyn Adunka , Albert Brandstätter (Ed.): The Jewish house of learning as a model of lifelong learning . Passagen, Vienna 1999, ISBN 3-85165-391-2
  • Jacques Picard: Broken Time. Jewish couples in exile . Ammann, Zurich 2009, ISBN 978-3-250-10517-6
  • Willi Goetschel: The Discipline of Philosophy and the Invention of Modern Jewish Thought . Fordham, New York 2013, ISBN 978-0-8232-4496-6
  • Goldschmidt, Hermann Levin , in: Werner Röder; Herbert A. Strauss (Ed.): International Biographical Dictionary of Central European Emigrés 1933-1945 . Volume 2.1. Munich: Saur, 1983 ISBN 3-598-10089-2 , p. 394

Web links