Selma Stern-Taeubler

Both as a historian and a novelist, Selma Stern-Taeubler traced the experience of German Jewry from the tolerant era of eighteenth century Prussia to her own experience of living in Nazi Germany. The first girl ever admitted to the Baden-Baden humanities gymnasium, Stern-Taeubler went on to study history at the University of Heidelberg in 1908. As a research fellow at the Berlin Akademie für die Wissenschaft des Judentums, she began work on The Prussian State and the Jews and fell in love with the director, Eugen Taeubler, marrying him in 1927. By 1938, working on the third volume of her study, she was forbidden access to libraries and archives and had to seek help to save her manuscripts from destruction. In 1941, she and her husband fled to the US on the last ship from Germany. Once there, she became firts archivist of the American Jewish Archives at Hebrew Union College in Cincinnati. She wrote a novel set during the Black Death, The Spirit Returneth, in 1946, and in a later book discussed the parallels between the accusations against Jews in that period and the Holocaust. She continued her scholarship of Jewish history until her death.


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Selma Stern-Taeubler, pioneering archivist, 1950.

Photo by Jack Warner

Courtesy of the Leo Baeck Institute

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How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Selma Stern-Taeubler." (Viewed on May 10, 2021) <>.


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