Siegfried Marck

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Siegfried Ernst Wilhelm Marck (born March 9, 1889 in Breslau , Silesia , † February 16, 1957 in Chicago , Illinois / USA ) was a German-Jewish philosopher and representative of a liberal social democracy.


Siegfried Marck was born in 1889 as the son of the Jewish court assessor Alfons Marck and his wife Rosa, née Heimann, and grew up in Breslau. The family belonged to the humanistic educated bourgeoisie , which they combined with a patriotic- national- liberal attitude. At the beginning of the 19th century - when the Jews were finally granted freedom and civil rights after centuries (see Prussian Jewish edict of 1812 ) - the great-grandfather founded a bank, which formed the cornerstone of the privileged existence of the family. Marck's grandfather and father studied law and ran a law firm - they would only have entered the civil service and thus the judge's office through a baptism, a commitment to the Christian faith, which they both refused. In addition to their legal work, both sat as city councilors in the city of Wroclaw, led welfare organizations and were involved in leading positions (like Siegfried Marck's mother) in the synagogue community.


Siegfried Marck passed the Abitur at the Johannesgymnasium Breslau and in 1907 - like grandfather and father - began studying law at the Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Breslau . After only one semester, he went to Geneva to continue his studies. From there he quickly returned and completely rejected the unpopular law degree. He now gave in to his actual intellectual inclination and began studying philosophy in Breslau, which he later continued in Berlin and Freiburg.

In 1911 Marck received his doctorate with a thesis on the subject of " Epistemological criticism , psychology and metaphysics according to their inner relationship in the formation of the Platonic theory of ideas". He married the poet and women's rights activist Lola Landau . In 1917 he completed his habilitation (at the age of just 28) with a thesis on the basic philosophical concepts with Immanuel Kant and Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel .

In the same year - one year before the end of the war - he was posted to the Western Front and experienced the horrors of the First World War . The experiences at the front made him a staunch pacifist and led him to join the SPD .

In 1922 he received a lectureship at the Breslau University for Legal and State Philosophy; In 1924 he was appointed associate professor of sociology and philosophy. It was the Prussian minister of education, Adolf Grimme , who made him full professor and successor to Richard Hönigswald's chair in 1930 .

After the "takeover" of the NSDAP under Adolf Hitler's leadership and the associated state legitimation of the persecution of "enemies of the mind" such as Jews and socialists (Marck was both) - in Silesia primarily initiated by the SA leader Edmund Heines , who is known for his brutality - Siegfried Marck fled to the apparently idyllic and quiet Freiburg, but had to quickly emigrate after he was thrown out of office. Until shortly before the German invasion and the beginning of the occupation, he was an exile in France. In April 1939 Marck emigrated to the USA. He initially held guest lectures in New York and in the same year took on a philosophy lectureship at the Chicago YMCA College . In 1945 Marck was one of the founders of Roosevelt College in Chicago, which later became Roosevelt University .

Marck taught at Roosevelt College until his retirement in 1954 . He died on February 16, 1957.


  • The motives of the Platonic doctrine of ideas. 1912.
  • German state sentiment. Munich 1916.
  • Kant and Hegel. 1917.
  • Imperialism and pacifism as world views. Tübingen 1918.
  • Hegelianism and Marxism. Berlin 1922.
  • Marxist affirmation of the state. Wroclaw 1924.
  • On Max Adler's social philosophy. Berlin 1925.
  • Concept of substance and function in legal philosophy. 1925.
  • Reformism and Radicalism in German Social Democracy. Berlin 1927.
  • The dialectic in contemporary philosophy. Two volumes, Tübingen 1929/1931.
  • Social democracy. Berlin 1932.
  • The new humanism as political philosophy. Zurich 1938.
  • Great people of our time. Portraits from three cultures. Meisenheim 1954.
  • Reason and socialism. Berlin 1956.


Web links

Individual evidence

  1. a b Wroclaw II registry office : birth register . No. 1204/1889.
  2. ^ Hans-Holger Paul: Marck, Siegfried