Prinz, Joachim, 1902-1988


Joachim Prinz was born in Burckhardtsdorf in Upper Silesia on May 10,1902. Invited to Berlin in January 1926, Prinz became the youngest ordained rabbi to serve the Jewish community of that city. During Hitler's rise to power in the 1920s and until his departure from Germany in 1937, Prinz was a vocal and public critic of Nazism. Through his writings and speeches Prinz made numerous attacks on the Nazis, resulting in his being repeatedly arrested by the Gestapo. In 1937 Prinz came to the United States at the invitation of Rabbi Stephen S. Wise and, once there, decided to immigrate to America with his family. After returning to Germany to gather his family and belongings, a farewell meeting was held in his honor in Berlin where he addressed 2,000 persons – one of whom was Adolf Eichmann, who was monitoring the meeting in his role as a Gestapo official. Though having decided to emigrate, Prinz was formally ordered to leave Germany in 1937, a directive which came from the government in the form of a signed expulsion order. For the next two years Prinz toured the U.S. raising funds for the United Palestine Appeal while lecturing on European affairs. On September 9, 1939 Prinz was installed as rabbi of Temple B’nai Abraham in Newark (and later, Livingston), New Jersey upon the recommendation of Rabbi Wise, who called Prinz “one of the most gifted and brilliant young the rabbinate.” Prinz was active in social issues, including the civil rights movement throughout the 1960s, being one of ten founding chairman of the 1963 march on Washington for civil rights. Prinz spoke at the August rally, appearing on the podium just moments before the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King delivered his famous “I have a dream” speech. Earlier, in April 1960 , Prinz led a picket line in front of a Woolworth store in New York City, protesting discrimination against African Americans at lunch counters in Southern states. Joachim Prinz died on September 30, 1988 at the age of 86. -- An Inventory to the Joachim Prinz Papers, Manuscript Collection No. 673, American Jewish Archives WWW site.

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