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Friedlander, Walter


FRIEDLANDER, WALTER (1891–1984), U.S. social welfare expert and educator, born in Berlin. Friedlander was trained in law, began his career as a welfare worker among children, and later served as a juvenile court judge in Berlin. From 1931 to 1933 he was president of the German Child Welfare League. Moving to Paris in 1933, he served three years as the director of the Legal and Social Services for Refugees. Immigrating to the U.S., he lectured at the University of Chicago from 1936 to 1943 and then went to the University of California, Berkeley. Starting off at Berkeley as a lecturer in social welfare, he became an associate professor in 1948, then professor (1955) and professor emeritus (1959). After his retirement, he continued to teach as a visiting professor, first at Michigan State University (1959–60) and then at the University of Minnesota (1963–64).

Friedlander wrote a number of textbooks on social welfare, including Youth in Distress (1922) and Introduction to Social Welfare (1955). The latter has been republished in five editions, the last in 1980 (with Dr. Robert Apte as co-author). It has been translated into 10 languages and is considered to be the most widely used introductory text in undergraduate colleges and professional schools in the U.S. and abroad. Friedlander also wrote Individualism and Social Welfare (1962) and International Social Welfare (1975), and edited Concepts and Methods of Social Work (1958).

Friedlander was a founder of the International Conference of Social Welfare and was a member of the International Association of Schools of Social Work. He also served as chair of the Commission on International Social Work of the local chapter of the National Association of Social Workers.

Among his many honors, he received a Fullbright Teaching Fellowship at the Free University of West Berlin (1956); he won the Social Worker of the Year Award of the National Association of Social Workers, Golden Gate Chapter (1971); he was awarded the Great Cross of Merit, as well as the Marie Juchacz Medal (1976), from the German Federal Republic, for his contributions to the development of German social services; and he received the Outstanding Social Worker citation of the Oakland (California) City Council (1978). In 1984 Friedlander's friends and colleagues created the Walter Friedlander Fund to Promote Education in International Social Welfare.

[Joseph Neipris /

Ruth Beloff (2nd ed.)]

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