Skip to main content

Birnbaum, Uriel


BIRNBAUM, URIEL (1894–1956), poet and artist; son of Nathan *Birnbaum. Born in Vienna, he began his career as an artist and poet at a very early age as an autodidact. In 1911 the family moved to Berlin, where Uriel volunteered at the "Berliner Sezession." His graphic and literary output continued throughout World War i, even after he was severely wounded when fighting in the Austrian Army. His war experiences found expression in a volume of sonnets, In Gottes Krieg (1921). Like his father Nathan, Uriel returned to traditional Judaism in 1913 and his favorite subject in poetry became trust in God as the principle of human life. He chose to deal with biblical history in order to demonstrate God's relationship to man and published several portfolios and volumes of lithographs and paintings: Welkuntergang (1921), Das Buch Jona (1921), Das Kaiser und der Architekt (1924), Moses (1924). In addition, he illustrated the German version of Lewis Carroll's Through the Looking Glass (1923). For Birnbaum the breakup of multinational Austria-Hungary was a catastrophe, as he had pushed himself out of contemporary discourse as a result of his pro-monarchical ideas. When Austria was occupied by Nazi Germany he was granted entry to the Netherlands upon the intervention of leading Dutch artists. Here he continued to write but gave up his graphic work for lack of artists' materials. His selection from his poetical output (Gedichte, eine Auswahl), appeared in 1957. Because of his uncompromising opposition to fashionable modern ideologies he became an outsider again and died underappreciated in the Netherlands. Since then there has been a revival of interest in him. Die verschlossene Kassette. Die Legende vom gutherzigen Engel and Von der Seltsamkeit der Dinge, ed. C. Schneider (incl. bibl.) were published in 1978.


T. Biene, "Uriel Birnbaum – ignoriert, emigriert, vergessen. Stationen im Leben eines prophetischen Dichters, Denkers und Zeichners," in: H. Wuerzner (ed.), Österreichische Exilliteratur in den Niederlanden 193440 (1986), 127–143; G. Schirmers (ed.), Uriel Birnbaum 18941956. Dichter und Maler (1990); M. Neuwirth: "Die Hoffahrt des Architekten. Künstlerisches Selbstverständnis bei Uriel Birnbaum," in: Das jüdische Echo, 48 (1999), 252–260; K. Zijlmans: "Juedische Kuenstler im Exil. Uriel und Menachem Birnbaum," in: H. Wuerzner (ed.), Oesterreichische Exilliteratur in den Niederlanden 193440 (1986), 145–155.

[Sonja Beyer (2nd ed.)]

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Birnbaum, Uriel." Encyclopaedia Judaica. . 21 May. 2019 <>.

"Birnbaum, Uriel." Encyclopaedia Judaica. . (May 21, 2019).

"Birnbaum, Uriel." Encyclopaedia Judaica. . Retrieved May 21, 2019 from

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

The Chicago Manual of Style

American Psychological Association

  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.