Immanuel Heinrich Ritter

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Immanuel Heinrich Ritter (born March 13, 1825 in Ratibor , Upper Silesia ; died July 9, 1890 in Johannisbad , Riesengebirge ) was a German rabbi , historian, author and translator.

Youth and education

Ritter was the son of the businessman Philipp Ritter. His mother came from the Kraków branch of the Mendelssohn family .

Immanuel Heinrich Ritter attended grammar school in Ratibor, but was dispensed from grammar school for health reasons and passed the Abitur at the age of 17 as an external student. At the same time he studied Torah and Talmud with local rabbi Simon Löwe for a year . From April 1844 to March 1847 he studied classical philology , philosophy and history at the University of Breslau and at the Jewish-theological seminar Fraenckel'sche Foundation with Abraham Geiger , but without Semicha . Then he worked as a tutor. In 1848 he re-enrolled in Breslau and worked as an assistant teacher at the Jewish school. In May 1849 he received his doctorate as Dr. phil. with the dissertation De Stoicorum logica , as the first Jew at the philosophy faculty there, and passed the state examination for the teaching profession.

Profession and work

In 1851 Ritter worked as a religion teacher for the Jewish reform community in Berlin , where he temporarily represented the local Rabbi Samuel Holdheim , whose position he took over in 1860 after Holdheim's death. From 1876 he was also a religion teacher at the Werderschen Gymnasium and at the third Berlin girls' school.

Ritter wrote several philosophical and theological works and translated the English historians Henry Thomas Buckle and William Edward Hartpole Lecky . On December 20, 1871, he founded the Association for School Freedom and in 1872, with Wilhelm Loewe- Calbe, Paul Langerhans and Guido Weiss, addressed a petition to the Prussian House of Representatives .


He is buried in the Jewish cemetery in Berlin-Weißensee .

Salomon Samuel writes about Ritter’s sermons:

"He never claimed to actually learn the Talmud [...] His subjects are mostly generally religious, for example when he talks about 'humility' or 'conscience'."

He also notes that "he was spared from going through religious battles."


  • De Stoicorum doctrina, praesertim de eorum logica. Dissertation, Breslau 1849, 44 pp.
  • History of the Jewish Reformation. Four volumes:
  • Pulpit lectures from the house of worship of the Jewish reform community. Self-published, Berlin 1856.
  • Illumination of Wagener's writing “Judaism and the State”. Hasselberg, Berlin 1857.
  • The significance of the last twelve years for the history of the Jews in Prussia. In: Yearbook for the history of the Jews and Judaism. 1860.
  • The Jewish free school in Berlin. An educational and historical sketch. In: Program for the public examination of the pupils of the religious school of the reform community. Berlin 1861.
  • Petition of December 20, 1871 to the House of Representatives, 1872. Von Ritter applied for the admission of private elementary schools without any denominational religious instruction on behalf of the “Association for the Freedom of Schools”. Berlin 1871.
  • Speech at the funeral of the secret medical councilor Dr. Heiman Bressler. 1873.
  • Ordination speeches and sermons. Dedicated to those who profess all religions for the knowledge of Judaism. J. Peiser, Berlin 1875, reproduction: Nabu Press, 2012, ISBN 978-1-248-91532-5 .
  • We Jews. Speech on New Years Day. Stuhr, Berlin 1881.
  • A word to Jews and Christians. Sermon, 1883.
  • To understand Judaism. Two lectures on his character and his priestly teaching. Spener & Peters, Berlin 1885.
  • The meaning of Judaism. Speech given on the Day of Atonement. Stuhr, Berlin 1885 ( digitized PDF).



  • Jeannette Strauss Almstad, Matthias WolfesRitter, Immanuel Heinrich. In: Biographisch-Bibliographisches Kirchenlexikon (BBKL). Volume 31, Bautz, Nordhausen 2010, ISBN 978-3-88309-544-8 , Sp. 1118-1123.
  • Adolf BrüllKnight, Immanuel Heinrich . In: Allgemeine Deutsche Biographie (ADB). Volume 53, Duncker & Humblot, Leipzig 1907, p. 404 f.
  • Ritter, Immanuel Heinrich, Jewish theologian, teacher . In: Rudolf Vierhaus (Ed.): German Biographical Encyclopedia (DBE) . 2., revised. and extended edition. tape 8 : Poethen – Schlueter . De Gruyter / KG Saur, Berlin / Boston / Munich 2007, ISBN 978-3-11-094025-1 , p. 445 .
  • Ritter, Immanuel Heinrich. In: Isidore Singer (Ed.): Jewish Encyclopedia . Funk and Wagnalls, New York 1901-1906.
  • Entry RITTER, Immanuel Heinrich, Dr. In: Michael Brocke and Julius Carlebach (editors), edited by Carsten Wilke : Biographisches Handbuch der Rabbis. Part 1: The rabbis of the emancipation period in the German, Bohemian and Greater Poland countries 1781–1871. K G Saur, Munich 2004, ISBN 3-598-24871-7 , pp. 743 f.
  • Chaim David Lippe: Bibliographical lexicon of the entire Jewish literature of the present, and address indicator. A lexically ordered scheme with addresses of rabbis, preachers, teachers, cantors, supporters of Jewish literature in the old and new world, together with precise bibliographical details of all writings and journals published by contemporary Jewish authors, especially those relating to Jewish literature. Vienna 1879–81, p. 394.
  • Andreas Brämer : Rabbi and board member. On the history of the Jewish community in Germany and Austria 1808-1871. Vienna 1999, pp. 61, 198.
  • Carsten Wilke: The Talmud and the Kant. Rabbi training on the threshold of modernity. Hildesheim and New York 2003, pp. 562 f., 587.
  • Rudolf Wlaschek: Biographia Judaica Bohemiae. Dortmund 1995, p. 177.
  • Salomon Wininger : Great Jewish National Biography. 7 volumes. Chernivtsi (Chernivtsi) 1925–1931, pp. 203 f.

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Foreword to Ritter: History of the Reformation. Volume IV (see section "Works") pp. 3, 5.
  2. ibid. P. 5