Page 111 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 22

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SALO W I T T M A Y E R BARON
On the Occasion of His 70th Birthday
B
y
A r t h u r H e r t z b e r g
S
a lo
W
i t t m a y e r
B
aron
was born in Tarnow, which was then
part of Austria, on May 26, 1895. He is, therefore, now in his
seventieth year. That birthday in 1965 will undoubtedly be
an occasion for celebration both for the Jewish community and
within the academic world.
Baron’s career has spanned more than the geographical distance
from Eastern Europe to America. He has absorbed and made his
own the content and outlook of the place of his birth, and of the
differing surroundings within which he has lived most of his
adult life. Baron took his higher academic degrees in Vienna,
where he earned three doctorates between 1917 and 1923, as well
as a rabbinic degree. This academic tour de force gave birth to
dissertations (in German) on subjects as various as:
The Jewish
Question at the Congress of Vienna,
and
Th e Political Theory
of Ferdinand Lasalle.
From 1919 to 1925 he taught history at the
Jewish Teacher's College in Vienna. Baron began his literary
career as a teenager in Hebrew, on the basis of an education which
combined the classic talmudic disciplines and modern Hebrew
letters. Concurrently, he received his preliminary general educa­
tion in Polish, and was even for a short while a convinced
Polish nationalist. By his mid-twenties he, like many a Jewish
scholar and intellectual of the preceding century, had entered
the wider world of Western scholarship through German culture
and the German university.
Baron was called to America in 1926, to teach history at the
then recently founded (1922) rabbinical seminary, The Jewish
Institute of Religion. He remained there until 1930, having
acquired the duties of professor of history, acting librarian, and
director of the Department of Advanced Studies. In 1930 the
Miller Foundation created a chair in Jewish history, literature,
and institutions at Columbia University, and Baron was called
to occupy it with the rank of full professor. His academic career,
until his formal retirement in 1963, has been spent primarily at
that institution, where he continues to direct the Center of Israel
and Jewish Studies, which was founded there in 1950. Baron
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