Papers of A.Z. Steinberg

Scope and Content

Personal papers and correspondence with family members, 1897-1972

Working papers and typescripts, 1923-77, including papers and publications on philosophy (largely in Russian), with works by Andrei Bely; copies of articles and chapters from works by Steinberg, especially his works on Dostoevsky, and the Aaron Steinberg memorial volume THE PHILOSOPHICAL ASPECTS OF HISTORY, UNIVERSAL AND JEWISH: SELECTED ESSAYS (1910-1970)

World Jewish Congress papers, 1943-69; Unesco papers, 1948-62; and papers of Mrs Assi Klausner, Steinberg's assistant.

Administrative / Biographical History

Aaron Zakharovich Steinberg (1891-1975) was born in Daugavpils (Dvinsk), Latvia. He graduated in law and philosophy from Heidelberg University at about the same time as his elder brother, Isaac, who had been expelled from Moscow University because of his revolutionary ideas. Isaac Steinberg was a member of the left wing Social Revolutionary Party and became Minister of Justice in Lenin's government, 1917-18. Aaron Steinberg returned to Moscow and became part of a group of philosophers and intellectuals who established a distinctive Russian philosophical school, the Free Philosophical Association. Steinberg was Professor of Philosophy at the St Petersburg Institute of Philosophy, 1918-23. He moved to Berlin in 1922 where he lived for ten years, continuing his literary work and translating Russian and Hebrew into German, notably works by Simon Dubnow (e.g. WELTGESCHICHTE DES JUDISCHEN VOLKES: VON SEINEM URANFANGEN BIS ZUR GEGENWART (10 vols., Berlin, 1925-30), with an abridged, three volume version published in Berlin in 1937; and GESCHICHTE DES CHASSIDISMUS (2 vols., Berlin, 1931)), before coming to England in 1934. There he continued his writing. Dr Steinberg then worked for the World Jewish Congress, acting as head of the Cultural Department from 1948 until his retirement in 1971. His work during World War II included the development of the concept of crimes against humanity, the case for reparations to the Jewish people and a cultural policy for the Jewish people. From 1945 onwards Dr Steinberg also acted as a representative of the World Jewish Congress at Unesco. His distinguished literary career included works on the Russian parliamentary system, on the idea of freedom in Dostoevsky, plays and translations, including editorial work on the Unesco THE HISTORY OF THE SCIENTIFIC AND CULTURAL DEVELOPMENT OF MANKIND.

Access Information

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Compiled by Gwennyth Anderson

Other Finding Aids



There are memorial tributes to Aaron Zakharovich Steinberg by N.Goldmann and G.M.Riegner in the journal which he conceived, the JEWISH JOURNAL OF SOCIOLOGY 17 (1975) pp. 113-19.