Joachim Prinz, Rebellious Rabbi

Joachim Prinz, Rebellious Rabbi

An Autobiography--the German and Early American Years
Edited by Michael A. Meyer
Distribution: Global
Publication date: 11/20/2007
Format: Hardback 18 b&w photos
ISBN: 978-0-253-34939-2
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Joachim Prinz (1902–1988) was one of the most extraordinary and innovative figures in modern Jewish history. Never one for conformity, Prinz developed and modeled a new rabbinical role that set him apart from his colleagues in Weimar Germany. Provocative, strikingly informal and determinedly anti-establishment, he repeatedly stirred up controversy. During the Hitler years, Prinz strove to preserve the self-respect and dignity of a Jewish community that was vilified on a daily basis by Nazi propaganda. After immigrating to the United States in 1937, he soon became a prominent rabbi in New Jersey, drawing thousands to his unpredictable sermons. Prinz's autobiography, superbly introduced and annotated by Michael A. Meyer, offers a fascinating glimpse into the life and personality of this unconventional and influential rabbi.

Author Bio

Michael A. Meyer is Adolph S. Ochs Professor of Jewish History at the Hebrew Union College–Jewish Institute of Religion in Cincinnati, Ohio, and international president of the Leo Baeck Institute, devoted to the history and culture of German-speaking Jewry. He is author of Response to Modernity: A History of the Reform Movement in Judaism and co-editor (with Michael Brenner) of the four-volume German-Jewish History in Modern Times. He lives in Cincinnati, Ohio.


“Joachim Prinz was one of the most extraordinary and innovative figures in modern Jewish history. Never one for conformity, Prinz developed and modeled a new rabbinical role that set him apart from his colleagues in Weimar Germany and later in the United States. His autobiography provides a window into the fascinating life of an unusual rabbi who rebelled against the conventions of his calling—from style of sermon to lifestyle. ”

“Fascinating reading. . . a rare case where a public figure opens the doors widely to his private life . . . truly unique for the light it throws on the atmosphere among Jews in pre—Nazi and Nazi Germany.”
 — Michael Brenner, author of After the Holocaust: Rebuilding Jewish Lives in Postwar Germany

“A lucid and insightful introduction to the life of an influential and dynamic public figure. Recommended for libraries with Jewish studies collections.”
 — Library Journal

“Prinz's autobiography . . . enriches our understanding of the desperate but not yet hopeless life of German Jews in the German 1930s.”
 — Forward

“This is a work that should be in every large pubic, seminary, synagogue, and university collection.septermber/october 2008”
 — Morton J. Merowitz, Association of Jewish Libraries Newsletter

“[This] well-written and absorbing autobiography surpasses many scholarly monographs in providing an insightful portrayal of Jewish life in Germany between World War I and the early years of Nazi rule. Vol. LXI, no. 1 (2009)”
 — American Jewish Archives Journal

“Students of the German Jewish experience, the Holocaust, and American Jewish history, as well as rabbis and rabbinic students will all find Joachim Prinz, Rebellious Rabbi engaging and worthy of their consideration for many different reasons. October 2009”
 — H-Net Reviews H-Judaic

“Rabbi Dr. Joachim Prinz was a gifted raconteur, confident though not confessional, positive though not triumphant, engaging but serious. . . This is the first book on the life and career of Joachim Prinz. It is a great read.72 Winter/Spring 2010”
 — Menorah Review

“The recently published Joachim Prinz, Rebellious Rabbi, edited and superby introduced by noted historian Michael A. Meyer, is a remarkable historical document with literary merit. . . . Written by a successful, confident senior rabbi in his "anecdotage", it illuminates the public life and private world of a leading Jewish figure of the twentieth century with refreshing clarity and honesty.October 2009”
 — H-Net Reviews

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Table of Contents

Editor's Introduction

1. Childhood and Youth
Studies in Breslau and Berlin
2. Rabbi in Berlin
The Weimar Years
The Nazi Years
3. Newark, New Jersey

Appendix A. Chronology
Appendix B. Prinz's Speech at the Lincoln Memorial, August 28, 1963
Appendix C. Books by Joachim Prinz