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PHILIPPSON , German-Jewish family of prominent rabbis, scholars, educators, journalists, doctors, bankers, and scientists. Their family tree goes back to 16th-century Poland, where *Joshua Hoeschel ben Joseph (c. 1578–1648) had been chief rabbi of Cracow. His great-grandson was the Talmud scholar Jacob Joshua *Falk (1680/81–1756), chief rabbi of Berlin, Metz, and Frankfurt/Main, who strongly opposed the Shabbatean movement. After 1750, the family settled in Arnswalde (Neumark, Prussia). Falk's grandson, the Talmud scholar Reb Phoebus (Philipp) Moses Arnswald (d. 1794), moved to Sanderslebens (Anhalt-Dessau) upon his marriage, earning his living as a peddler. His children were the first to change "Phoebus" into the German "Philipp" and called themselves Philippson.

Arnswald's son moses (ben Uri Phoebus) Philippson (1775–1814) received an Orthodox upbringing in Halberstadt, Brunswick, and Frankfurt/Main and, from 1790, became a tutor in Bayreuth and later Burgkunstadt. He was attracted to the works of Moses *Mendelssohn and German literature. In 1799, he was appointed teacher at the newly founded Freischule at Dessau. In order to supplement his meager income he began printing books and selling them at fairs; among them were various sermons and translations from the Bible, a Hebrew reader "Kinderfreund" (1808), the renewed *Me'assef (1808–12), then edited by Shalom *Cohen, and other ventures. He died of typhus, aged 39, before completion of his Hebrew-German and German-Hebrew dictionary, leaving behind four small children: Phoebus (1), Johanna, Ludwig (2), and Julius (3).

[Johannes Valentin Schwarz (2nd ed.)]

(1) Moses Philippson's eldest son, phoebus moritz (1807–1870), was educated at the Franzschule and Gymnasium in Dessau, took his doctor's degree at Halle University, and practiced medicine at Magdeburg, from 1835 as a country doctor at Kloetze (Altmark). He published the first medical study on cholera (1831) and literary works, which he partly contributed to the periodicals of his brother Ludwig from 1834. His novel Die Marannen (1855) and his Biographische Skizzen (1864/66) are particularly worth mentioning. moritz Philippson (1833–1877) continued the medical career of his father Phoebus as an army-doctor, settling down in Berlin. Phoebus' granddaughter paula (1874–1949) became one of the first woman doctors in Germany but, from 1921, applied herself to classical studies where, from 1936, she made her mark in Greek mythology. In 1933, she moved to Basel where she died at the age of 75.

[Max Gottschalk /

Johannes Valentin Schwarz (2nd ed.)]

(2) ludwig philippson (1811–1889), the second son of Moses, achieved renown as the founder of the *Allgemeine Zeitung des Judenthums (azj, 1837–1922), which he edited until his death. Ludwig was an avid student of both Hebrew and classical literature in Dessau and Halle. After graduation from Berlin University (1829–33), aged 22, he took up the position of a preacher and teacher in the *Magdeburg Jewish community. Though following the practice of *Reform Judaism – he preached in German and introduced the organ and the rite of confirmation – he tried to steer a middle course between Reform and *Orthodoxy. He was among the initiators of the *Rabbinical Conferences of Brunswick (1844), Frankfurt/Main (1845), and Breslau (1846), but was critical of their decisions. One of his projects was the establishment of a modern institution for training scholars, rabbis, and teachers. From 1834 Philippson started editing several periodicals, first the monthly Israelitisches Predigt- und Schulmagazin (1834–36), followed by his famous azj, the most important Jewish weekly of the 19th century, which was also dedicated to the struggle for emancipation in all parts of Germany and Europe and fought discrimination and antisemitism. From 1839–53, he published a popular translation and commentary of the Bible, which went through three editions (18582, 18783), together with a revised edition illustrated by Gustav Doré (1875). Along with I.M. *Jost, A. *Jellinek, and others he founded the Institut zur Foerderung der Israelitischen Literatur (1854–73), whose main achievement was the publication of H. *Graetz's Geschichte der Juden (1853–76). In 1862, he had to resign as rabbi of Magdeburg because he had become almost blind. He moved to Bonn, where he continued his journalistic and literary work until his death. He was among the founders of the Israelitische Bibelanstalt (1862), the *Deutsch-Israelitischer Gemeindebund (1869), and the *Hochschule fuer die Wissenschaft des Judentums (1872). Ludwig Philippson had nine children. Three of his sons attained fame in their respective fields:

[Johannes Valentin Schwarz (2nd ed.)]

(2a) martin emanuel philippson (1846–1916) was a historian and a communal leader in Berlin. Born at Magdeburg, he studied in Bonn and Berlin, where he later worked as a teacher, volunteered in the Franco-Prussian War (1870/71), and was finally appointed assistant professor at Bonn in 1875. However, when Emperor William i would not sanction the appointment of a Jew, he took a professorship at the Free University of Brussels (1878), and eventually became rector there. In 1890, he was forced to resign this post in the face of agitation by anti-German and radical students, and returned to Berlin as a private scholar. From 1891, he devoted his energies to Jewish communal affairs and to his writing. He was chairman of the *Deutsch-Israelitischer Gemeindebund (1896–1912) which, in 1906, initiated the Gesamtarchiv der deutschen Juden; chairman of the *Gesellschaft zur Foerderung der Wissenschaft des Judentums (1902), which commissioned his three-volume Neueste Geschichte des juedischen Volkes (1907–11, 19302); and chairman of the *Verband der deutschen Juden (1904). He also headed the *Hochschule (Lehranstalt) fuer die Wissenschaft des Judentums. In all, he published some 12 studies in modern history, especially on Prussia, but their scholarship has been sharply questioned by fellow historians.

[Herbert A. Strauss /

Johannes Valentin Schwarz (2nd ed.)]

(2b) franz moses philippson (1851–1929), the seventh child of Ludwig, was a Belgian banker, financier, and communal leader. Born in Magdeburg, he was sent to Brussels in 1865 to work as a clerk in the *Errera banking house. In 1871, he established his own bank in Belgium and directed it for over 50 years until his death. Involved from the beginning in the Belgian colonization of Africa, he was an administrator of the Belgian Congo railways in 1889, becoming its president in 1924, and was founder of the Banque du Congo Belge (1909) and its vice president from 1911 to 1919. Philippson was president of the Brussels Jewish community and a leader of Belgian Jewry, from 1918 as president of the *Consistoire Central Israélite de Belgique. He represented the Brussels community on the administrative council of the *Jewish Colonization Association (ica) from 1896, becoming vice president in 1901 and president in 1919. He made an important contribution to Jewish colonization efforts in Argentina and Brazil. He died in 1929 in Paris. Franz's first son, maurice (1877–1938), was professor of zoology and physiology at Brussels University; his second son, jules (1881–1961), became head of the firm F.M. Philippson & Co. after the death of his father. paul philippson (1910–1978), son of Maurice, was also a banker and Jewish leader in Belgium. Born in Brussels, he was an officer in the Belgian Forces (1940–45); president and founding member of the Service Social Juif (from 1945); president of the Jewish community of Brussels (1945–63); chairman of the Consistoire Central Israélite de Belgique (from 1963); and chairman of the Social Service Commission of the European Council of Jewish Communities.

[Max Gottschalk /

Johannes Valentin Schwarz (2nd ed.)]

(2c) alfred philippson (1864–1953), the youngest son of Ludwig, born at Bonn, became a geographer and geologist. As a student of Ferdinand von Richthofen (1833–1905), the founder of modern geography, he followed his teacher from Bonn to Leipzig University, where he took his doctor's degree (Studien ueber Wasserscheiden) in 1886, aged 22. In the course of a distinguished career he specialized in the east Mediterranean region, particularly Greece and Asia Minor. In 1891, he was appointed university lecturer at Bonn, 1899 assistant professor. Since a full professorship was denied to him as a Jew, he accepted a chair at Basel University in 1904, finally becoming head of the department of geography. In 1906, he was called back to Halle, and in 1911 to Bonn. In 1929, upon his retirement, his pupils and admirers published a volume of geographical essays in his honor. Several of his many books have become classics of regional geography, among them: Der Peloponnes (1892), Zur Morphologie des rheinischen Schiefergebirges (1903), Das Mittelmeergebiet (1904, 19224), Europa (1905, 19283), Grundzüge der allgemeinen Geographie (1921/24, 1930/33), Das fernste Italien (1925), and Das byzantinische Reich als geographische Erscheinung (1939). In 1933, he was awarded the Great Gold Richthofen Medal by the German Geographical Society. He continued to play a leading role in German geographical research until he was banned from the university and all other scientific bodies by the Nazi regime. In 1942, at the age of 78, he was deported to *Theresienstadt but managed to survive. In 1945, despite terrible suffering, he returned to his scientific activities, which he continued to his death in Bonn, aged 89. In this last period he produced two of his best works: Die Stadt Bonn. Ihre Lage und raeumliche Entwicklung (1947, 195112), an outstanding work on urban geography, and Die griechischen Landschaften (1950–59).

[Mordechai Breuer /

Johannes Valentin Schwarz (2nd ed.)]

(3) julius philippson (1814–1871), the younger brother of Ludwig, who was only three months old when their father Moses died, became a businessman at Magdeburg. Of his six children, heinrich (1849–1908) became a businessman at Magdeburg, too. emil (1851–1906) studied modern languages and comparative philology in Bonn, Berlin, and Leipzig, where he took his doctor's degree. Since he was barred from an academic career, he accepted an offer from the Philanthropin in Frankfurt/Main in 1874, till he became headmaster of the Jacobsonschule at Seesen in 1886. robert (1858–1942) studied philosophy and classics in Bonn, Leipzig, and Berlin, where he took his degree in 1881. He followed his brother Emil to the Frankfurt Philanthropin, till he was admitted to the Wilhelmsgymnasium at Magdeburg as the first Jewish teacher in the Prussian province of Saxony. He retired in 1923. In 1942, aged 84, he was deported to Theresienstadt, where he died a week after his arrival. Robert's oldest son julius (1894–1944), who was dismissed as a teacher in 1933, joined the Socialist underground movement Internationaler Sozialistischer Kampfbund (isk), until he was caught by the Gestapo in 1937. He was later deported to Auschwitz, where he died from exhaustion. johanna philippson (1887–1977), a daughter of Heinrich, chose a career as a teacher, from 1930 holding a senior position at the Elisabethschule in Berlin until she was dismissed in 1933. Thereafter, she taught at the schools of the Jewish community. In 1939, she immigrated to London, where she engaged in adult education and contributed to various periodicals. In 1962, she published a detailed study in the Leo Baeck Institute Year Book on "The Philippsons, a German-Jewish Family 1775–1933." Their history, as she wrote, "seems typical of many German Jewish families: the very rapid inhaling of German civilization, the high degree of assimilation, and the abrupt ending."

[Johannes Valentin Schwarz (2nd ed.)]


G. Salomon, Lebensgeschichte des Herrn Moses Philippsohn (1814); Ph. Philippson, Biographische Skizzen, 1 (1864); M. Kayserling, Ludwig Philippson (1898); M. Philippson, in: jjgl, 14 (1911), 84–108; J.C. Dornfeld, in: ccary, 21 (1911); J. Feiner, Ludwig Philippson (1912); Wininger, 5 (1930), 17–25; Festschrift… A. Philippson (1930); Biographie Coloniale Belge, 3 (1952); J. Rosenthal, in: S. Federbush (ed.), Hokhmat Yisrael be-Ma'arav Eiropah, 1 (1958), 399–408; J. Philippson, in: lbiyb, 7 (1962), 95–118; E.G. Lowenthal, in: lbi Bulletin, 8 (1965), 89–106. add. bibliography: J. Philippson, in: H. Liebeschütz and A. Paucker (eds.), Das Judentum in der Deutschen Umwelt, 1800–1850 (1977), 243–91; E. Friesel, in: lbiyb, 31 (1986), 121–46; H.O. Horch, in: lbi Bulletin, No. 86 (1990), 5–21; G. von Glasenapp, in: A.B. Kilcher (ed.), Metzler Lexikon der deutsch-jüdischen Literatur (2000), 459–61; A. Mehmel, A. Brämer, I. Fischer, in: ndb, 20 (2001), 395–401.

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