Theodore Abel

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Theodore Fred Abel (born November 24, 1896 in Łódź , † March 23, 1988 in Albuquerque ) was an American sociologist of Polish origin.

life and work

Theodore Abel emigrated to the USA in 1925 after marrying the young psychologist Theodora Mead Abel , whom he had already met in Poland. He studied sociology at Columbia University , where he received his doctorate in 1929 . He taught this subject at various American universities, most recently from 1950 to 1967 as a professor at Hunter College of the City University of New York . His main areas of research were German National Socialism , the sociology of the concentration camps and sociological theory and methodological criticism.

During a research stay in Germany in 1934, Abel wrote a competition in collaboration with the NSDAP in order to receive the life stories of National Socialists who had joined the NSDAP before 1933. He collected 683 biographical reports that formed the basis of his investigation Why Hitler came into power . They are now available as digital copies at the Hoover Institution . Sven Felix Kellerhoff made the stories Abel collected as the foundation of his book Die NSDAP. A party and its members (2017).

Fonts (selection)

  • Why Hitler came into power. An answer based on the original life stories of 600 of his followers. Prentice Hall, New York 1938.
  • The operation called understanding . In: American Journal of Sociology . Vol. 54, H. 3 (November 1948), pp. 211-218. JSTOR 2770547
  • Systematic sociology in Germany. A critical analysis of some attempts to establish sociology as an independent science. Octogon, New York 1965.
  • The Foundation of Sociological Theory. Random House, New York 1970.


  • Helmut Schoeck , Abel, Theodore. In: Wilhelm Bernsdorf , Horst Knospe (ed.): International sociologist lexicon. Vol. 2. Enke, Stuttgart ² 1984, p. 2.
  • Wieland Giebel: Berlin Story Bunker - history of the bunker, Hitler documentation, Berlin Museum. Berlin 2017, ISBN 978-3-95723-124-6 .
  • Katja Kosubek: “As consistently socialist as nationally.” Old women fighters of the NSDAP before 1933. A source edition of 36 autobiographical essays from the Theodore Abel Collection. Göttingen 2017, ISBN 978-3-8353-3057-3 .

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Jacy L. Young: Theodora Mead Abel. In: Psychology's Feminist Voices. 2010, accessed on November 24, 2017 .
  2. Cf. Christine Arbogsat: Rulers of the Württemberg NSDAP. Function, social profile and life paths of a regional Nazi elite. Oldenbourg, Munich 1998, p. 128 (note 9).
  3. ^ Digital copies of the life reports of NSDAP members , Hoover Institution, Stanford University.