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  • Luitpold WallachA Biography
  • Barbara Wallach

After 1933, unable to find or keep university positions in Germany because of the political situation, many German historians emigrated to the united states. Luitpold Wallach was among the younger refugees who had their doctoral degrees but could not expect to hold academic positions under the Nazi regime and its worsening anti-semitic agenda.1

Born in Munich on Feb. 6, 1910, Wallach grew up in the schwabian village of Laupheim (studying latin, Greek, and Hebrew from age six until he left to attend the Gymnasium in ulm on the Danube). He was a student at the university of Berlin and at the Hochschule der Wissenschaft des Judentums during 1929–30 and then at the University of tübingen from 1931–33, receiving his D. Phil. in november 1932, with a dissertation titled Studien zur Chronik Bertholds von Zwiefalten, directed by Prof. Dr. eric König.2 With no academic appointment open to him because he was Jewish, he undertook (1933–38) a two-fold pattern of research and publication that would define his career, i.e., dividing his time between medieval history and the history of Judaism. He also turned to the other profession for which he was trained and served as rabbi in ulm/laupheim (september 1933–March 1937) and then (1937–39) as the last Bezirksrabbiner (district rabbi) of Göppingen (Württemberg), until he was imprisoned there by the Nazis and sent to dachau concentration Camp (1938–39). Strenuous efforts by friends and his sister Sally, who was residing in New York, procured his release from Dachau, and he left Germany and crossed into France with little more than three papers that he was ready to publish. After the war, he would learn that his father, whom he had last seen in Dachau, had been killed at KZ Auschwitz, his younger sister Betti had died at KZ Stutthoff, but his mother had died in Laupheim, despite the efforts of neighbors who took the risk of trying to help her, and was buried there. [End Page 269]

Before leaving Germany (in August 1939), since publication by him in Germany was no longer an option with the nazis in power, Wallach had left his first reconstruction of the Zweifalten chronicles of Berthold and Ortlieb with König to be published when the times allowed. König died in 1940, however, and, in 1941, the chronicles appeared in Germany with the names of König and Karl otto Müller as editors. Subsequently, in 1957, Wallach published his own revised and enlarged edition of the Berthold chronicle with a statement from his former teacher Prof. Dr. Heinrich Dannenbauer (medievalist at tübingen) and d. dr. max miller (Director of the Württemberg state Archives) acknowledging his position as the original author.3

After arriving in the United States in 1939, Wallach served as a rabbi first, ironically enough, in the segregated south, first in Florence, AL, and then in Knoxville, TN, where he became a citizen of the United States (1947). He wanted to leave the rabbinate and pursue an academic career, but his German doctorate was in a sense a liability so soon after the war. His command of English was superb, but the slight German accent was still there. Further, academia was not free from the taint of anti-Semitism.4 Hence, between 1940–48, he served as a rabbi, first in Ithaca, NY, then in the Syracuse University Chapel, and finally in Hamilton, ON, until he earned his second doctorate, a PhD in classics from cor-nell University in 1947, with Harry Caplan as his dissertation director. Finding a permanent academic position was still not an easy task. His appointments as an assistant professor between 1951–1962 took him as far afield as the University of oregon, the University of Oklahoma, and then Harpur College (SUNY Endicott in Binghamton, NY). Through all of those years, he kept up his research, publishing two books, fourteen articles, and twenty-three book reviews, with most of his writing done at Cornell's libraries in the summers. He also was always finding time to work on what was intended to be the major achievement...


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