Wroclaw, Poland


Ferdinand Cohn

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Ferdinand Julius Cohn.

Ferdinand Julius Cohn (24 January 1828 – 25 June 1898) was a German biologist. He is one of the founders of modern bacteriology and microbiology.

Ferdinand Cohn was born in the Jewish quarter of Breslau in the Prussian Province of Silesia (which is now Wroclaw, Poland).[1][2] His father, Issak Cohn, was a successful merchant and manufacturer. At the age of 10 Ferdinand suffered hearing impairment (for an unknown reason). Starting at age 16 he studied botany under Heinrich Goppert at the University of Breslau. Due to Cohn's Jewish background he was prevented from taking the final degree examinations at Breslau.[3][4][5][dubiousdiscuss] He then moved to the University of Berlin. At age 19 in 1847 he received a degree in botany at Berlin. He remained studying botany for another couple of years in Berlin, where he came in contact with many of the top scientists of his time.

In 1849 he returned to the University of Breslau and he remained at that university for the rest of his career as a teacher and researcher. On his initial return to Breslau in his early twenties, his father had bought for him a large and expensive microscope made by Simon Plössl. This microscope, which the University of Breslau and most universities did not have, was Ferdinanad Cohn's main research tool in the 1850s. In the 1850s he studied the growth and division of plant cells. In 1855 he produced papers on the sexuality of Sphaeroplea annulina and later Volvox globator. In the 1860s he studied plant physiology in several different aspects. From 1870 onward he mostly studied bacteria. He published over 150 research reports during his lifetime. The University of Breslau became an innovative center for plant physiology and microbiology while he was there.

Cohn was the first to classify algae as plants, and to define what distinguishes them from green plants. His classification of bacteria into four groups based on shape (sphericals, short rods, threads, and spirals) is still in use today. Among other things Cohn is remembered for being the first to show that Bacillus can change from a vegetative state to an endospore state when subjected to an environment deleterious to the vegetative state.

In 1885 he received the Leeuwenhoek Medal.

Ernst Steinitz

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Tombstone of Ernst Steinitz. Jewish cemetery in Wroclaw (street Lotnicza).

Ernst Steinitz (13 June 1871 – 29 September 1928) was a German mathematician.


Steinitz was born in Laurahütte (Siemianowice Śląskie), Silesia, Germany (now in Poland), the son of Sigismund Steinitz, a Jewish coal merchant, and his wife Auguste Cohen; he had two brothers. He studied at the University of Breslau and the University of Berlin, receiving his Ph.D. from Breslau in 1894. Subsequently, he took positions at Charlottenberg (now the Technical University of Berlin), Breslau, and the University of Kiel, Germany, where he died in 1928. Steinitz married Martha Steinitz and had one son.

Mathematical works

Steinitz's 1894 thesis was on the subject of projective configurations; it contained the result that any abstract description of an incidence structure of three lines per point and three points per line could be realized as a configuration of straight lines in the Euclidean plane with the possible exception of one of the lines. His thesis also contains the proof of König's theorem for regular bipartite graphs, phrased in the language of configurations. In 1910 Steinitz published the very influential paper Algebraische Theorie der Körper (German: Algebraic Theory of Fields, Crelle's Journal (1910), 167–309). In this paper he axiomatically studies the properties of fields and defines important concepts like prime field, perfect field and the transcendence degree of a field extension. Steinitz proved that every field has an algebraic closure. He also made fundamental contributions to the theory of polyhedra: Steinitz's theorem for polyhedra is that the 1-skeletons of convex polyhedra are exactly the 3-connected planar graphs. His work in this area was published posthumously as a 1934 book, Vorlesungen über die Theorie der Polyeder unter Einschluss der Elemente der Topologie,[1] by Hans Rademacher.

Alexander Fuks

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Alexander Fuks (Wroclaw 30 May 1917 - 29 November 1978) was a German-born, later Israeli historian, archaeologist and papyrologist. He worked with Victor Tcherikover and Menahem Stern on the standard edition of Jewish papyri. He was a specialist in the study of Hellenistic Judaism.[1]

Henry Grunfeld

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Henry Grunfeld

Henry Grunfeld (born Heinrich Grünfeld 1 June 1904; died 10 June 1999) was a prominent individual in the development of investment banking and the growth of London as a financial centre following the Second World War.

Grunfeld was co-founder of S.G. Warburg, which became the preeminent UK-based investment bank by the early 1990s and "the biggest force in post-world-war merchant banking".[1] While the firm had been named after his colleague Siegmund Warburg, whose family were already long established in banking in Germany and the United States, upon Grunfeld's death it was noted that "Warburg, Grunfeld and Company would have been the more accurate style".[2]


Grunfeld was born in Breslau (today Wroclaw) in the Prussian Province of Upper Silesia to an assimilated Jewish family with longstanding interests in the Steel and Chemicals industries.[3] He was educated in Breslau and Berlin and became prominent in the German Steel Industry after taking over the operations of his father's company, A. Niederstetter, a supplier of steel pipes, when aged just 20. He subsequently represented the Steel Industry in its negotiations with the German government. Later, Grunfeld had to confront critical problems posed by the great inflation, industrial unrest and world depression following the Wall Street Crash of 1929, and at the age of 27 he became closely involved in the aftermath of the 1931 banking crisis, serving on more than 20 creditor committees.[4]

Following the rise of Hitler, in April 1934, Grunfeld was arrested without warrant or charge by the Gestapo and jailed for fifty-four hours. He was able to use his status as an honorary Consul of Spain to avoid deportation to a concentration camp. He fled to London with his family after the Night of the Long Knives, and his family business was subjected to Aryanization and plundered by the Nazis: after the application of the various Nazi flight capital taxes and exchange controls, almost all Grunfeld's family assets were confiscated and he arrived in the United Kingdom with £4,000 (equal to 7.5% of the book value of the company at its founding in 1898).[5] Many members of his family remained in Germany and were killed during the Third Reich.[6] (While Grunfeld was later highly active with post-war German industrial companies, he never returned to Berlin and made no post-war restitution claim).[7]

Establishment of S.G. Warburg & Co.

Exiled in London, after a period of operating an independent factoring business, Grunfeld joined forces with Siegmund Warburg in the New Trading Company, which was established to help refugees from Europe extract their money from their native country and invest it safely. After the outbreak of war, he avoided internment as an enemy alien by leaving his home every morning at 7am and walking around Hyde Park - it was thought that the police typically made their arrests between 8am and 9am. He was exempted from internment as an enemy alien in October 1939[8] and became a British subject in 1946.[9]

The New Trading Company was renamed as S.G. Warburg and Company in 1946 and Grunfeld and Warburg developed its merchant banking business among emigrants to London and in Germany. The firm rose to international prominence after it pioneered the hostile takeover in the UK with the acquisition of British Aluminium by Reynolds and Tube Investments in 1959, and grew rapidly after it developed the Eurobond market after 1963, the initial security being a £10 million loan to the Italian toll-road builder Autostrade Italiane.[10] Grunfeld was especially active with clients in the newspaper industry and in the establishment of commercial television in the UK[11][12] and pioneered the reverse takeover in a transaction for Lord Thomson.[13] From 3 employees in 1937, S.G. Warburg had 15,000 employees in 40 countries and half of the FTSE 100 largest UK companies among its clients at the time of its acquisition by Swiss Bank Corporation in 1995. Grunfeld took over chairmanship of the firm in 1964 and held it for 10 years, but remained active in the firm until his death in 1999.[14] He rarely gave interviews but in 1987 warned that derivatives could be the cause of a future financial crisis.[15]

At S.G. Warburg, Grunfeld pioneered the use of graphology as an employee selection tool in the UK.[16] Outside the firm, he was an unofficial adviser on financial matters to Harold Wilson's government.[17]

Following his death the Henry Grunfeld Chaired Professorship in Investment Banking was established at INSEAD, the European business school, currently occupied by Gabriel Hawawini,[18] and the Henry Grunfeld Foundation was established at the ifs School of Finance.[19]

Hans Samelson

(3 March 1916 – 22 September 2005) was a German American mathematician who worked in differential geometry, topology and the theory of Lie groups and Lie algebras—important in describing the symmetry of analytical structures.

Career and personal life

The eldest of three sons, Samelson was born on 3 March 1916, in Strassburg, Germany (now Strasbourg, France). His brother Klaus later became a mathematician and early computer science pioneer in Germany. His parents—one of Protestant and one of Jewish background—were both pediatricians. He spent most of his youth in Breslau, Germany (now Wroclaw, Poland), and began his advanced mathematical education there, at the University of Breslau. His family helped him leave Nazi Germany in 1936 for Zurich, Switzerland, where he studied with the geometer Heinz Hopf and received his doctorate in 1940 from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology.

In 1941, he accepted a position at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton and immigrated to the United States; he arrived by ship six months before the United States entered World War II and acquired U.S. citizenship several years later. After leaving Princeton, he held faculty positions at the University of Wyoming (1942–1943), Syracuse University (1943–1946) and the University of Michigan (1946–1960) before coming to Stanford in 1960. He was recognized with the Dean's Award for Distinguished Teaching in 1977. He served as chair of the Mathematics Department from 1979 to 1982.

Though he became emeritus in 1986, he remained professionally active throughout his retirement, publishing articles on both contemporary and historical mathematical topics. One solved an architectural puzzle associated with the construction of the Brunelleschi Dome in Florence, Italy.

He was active in the Palo Alto Friends Meeting (Quakers) during his retirement, serving as treasurer for several years.

Leopold Auerbach

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Leopold Auerbach (1828-1897)

Leopold Auerbach (April 27, 1828 – September 30, 1897) was a German anatomist and neuropathologist born in Breslau.

Auerbach studied Medicine at the Universities of Breslau, Berlin and the Leipzig. He became a doctor in 1849, gaining his habilitation in 1863. From 1872 he was an associate professor of neuropathology at the University of Breslau.

Auerbach was among the first physicians to diagnose the nervous system using histological staining methods. He published a number of papers on neuropathological problems and muscle-related disorders.

His is credited with the discovery of Plexus myentericus Auerbachi, or Auerbach's plexus, a layer of ganglion cells that provide control of movements of the gastro-intestinal tract. It is also known as the "myenteric plexus".

"Friedreich–Auerbach disease" is named after Auerbach and pathologist Nikolaus Friedreich (1825-1882). It is a rare disease characterized by hemi-hypertrophy of the facial features, tongue and tonsils.[1]

Auerbach died in Breslau.

Friederike Kempner

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Friederike Kempner.

Friederike Kempner (June 25, 1836 - February 23, 1904) was a German-Jewish poet.

Kempner was born in Opatów, Prussian Province of Posen (today Poland). Early in life, she developed an interest in general humanitarian questions and especially in hygiene, and urgently advocated the introduction of morgues and crematories, and the abolition of solitary confinement. Some years before her death she was stricken with blindness. She resided on her estate of "Friederikenhof" (now Gierczyce, Kępno County) near Reichthal (now Rychtal), where she wrote many works and died.

Literary works

  1. Gedichte, 2d ed., Breslau, 1852 (frequently republished)

  2. Novellen, 1861

  3. Denkschrift über die Nothwendigkeit einer Gesetzlichen Einführung von Leichenhäusern), 1867 (republished five times)

  4. Nettelbeck als Patriot und Kosmopolit, a novel, 1868


  1. Berenice, 1860

  2. Rudolf der Zweite, 1867

  3. Antigonos, 1880