Harriet Freidenreich

Harriet Freidenreich is professor emerita of history at Temple University in Philadelphia, where she taught a wide range of courses in Jewish history, European women’s history and gender history. Her publications include The Jews of Yugoslavia and Jewish Politics in Vienna. Her most recent book is Female, Jewish and Educated: The Lives of Central European University Women. She is a member of the editorial board of Jewish Women: A Comprehensive Historical Encyclopedia.

Articles by this author


The Jewish community of Yugoslavia was small, vibrant, and diverse, with waves of immigrants arriving from the 16th through the 19th centuries. Like many Jewish communities in Europe, the Yugoslav community was decimated by the Nazis, and only a few Jews remain in Yugoslavia today.

Frieda Wunderlich

Frieda Wunderlich was a prominent economist and politician in Germany, serving in local government, writing books and articles, and lecturing when she was forced from her positions as a woman and a Jew in 1933. After leaving Germany, she became the only woman faculty member of the New School for Social Research in New York and went on to be the first woman dean of an American graduate school in 1939. She achieved international recognition for her research and publications on labor and social policy, including women’s work.

Charlotte Wolff

A pioneering German-Jewish lesbian and feminist physician, Charlotte Wolff became interested in sexology, psychotherapy, and chirology while working as a physician in Berlin’s working-class neighborhoods. Soon after the Nazis came to power she fled to France and then to England, where she began researching and writing books on chirology. In the 1960s she turned her research to homosexuality and published a landmark study on lesbianism.

Rahel Straus

Rahel Goitein Straus, a pioneering woman medical doctor trained in Germany, was a model “New Jewish Woman” of the early-20th century. Successfully combining a career as a physician with marriage and motherhood, she committed herself to Jewish and feminist causes and organizations throughout her life, while also embracing Zionist ideals.

Elise Richter

Elise Richter could not pursue a university degree until she was in her 30s, when she became part of the first group of women to study at the University of Vienna. She received doctoral and post-doctoral degrees and subsequently taught classes on various Romance languages while publishing extensively, making important contributions to the field of historical and comparative linguistics.

Margaret Mahler

Margaret Schönberger Mahler was a pioneering child analyst in the early twentieth century. She became a leading authority on the mother-child relationship and the separation-individuation process, which she examined in her best-known work, The Psychological Birth of the Human Infant.

Käthe Leichter

A socialist feminist with a doctorate in political economy, Käthe Leichter was a prominent figure in “Red Vienna” during the interwar years. As a politician, labor organizer, and author, she dedicated her life to benefitting working-class women through social and political reform, and to the struggle against fascism.

Lawyers in Germany and Austria

German and Austrian women were first allowed to enter careers in law in the mid-1920s, following rules permitting their admittance to universities at the turn of the century. Although women were a small proportion of all lawyers, judges, and prosecutors in Germany and Austria, Jewish women were a significant group among those women, and they often faced both religious and gender-based discrimination.

Higher Education in Central Europe

Jewish women were disproportionally represented at Central European universities before WWI and during the interwar years. Acculturated Jewish society saw higher education as a way of integrating itself into the educated bourgeoisie. Attending university offered women greater personal independence, even as they faced antisemitism and ridicule.

Hilda Geiringer

A brilliant mathematician who did groundbreaking work in Europe, Hilda Geiringer had to leave her teaching position at the University of Berlin because of Nazi anti-Jewish legislation. She later worked in Turkey, but in the United States, she could only find jobs at women’s colleges despite her many accomplishments.


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How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Harriet Freidenreich." (Viewed on May 20, 2024) <http://jwa.org/encyclopedia/author/freidenreich-harriet>.