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She was the daughter of the Elberfeld merchant Leo Tisch and his wife Adele. She first went to school at Lyzeum West in Elberfeld, later to the "Realgymnasiale Studienanstalt in Unterbarmen." From 1926 she studied economics in Bonn, Genf, Berlin and finally again in Bonn. In Bonn, her teachers were Arthur Spiethoff, Herbert von Beckerath and Joseph Schumpeter, under whose guidance she received her Ph.D. with a thesis on the Socialist calculation debate which got much attention in the scientific community. Schumpeter supported her later when he was professor in Harvard and exchanged letters with her until her deportation. The thesis of the 24 year old is considered as an "influential" (McCraw) and "remarcable achievement" (Hagemann) and makes her a forerunner of the "neoclassical socialists" like Henry D. Dickinson, Oskar Lange and Abba Lerner. Friedrich August Hayek would cite her work as well as Schumpeter in his book „Capitalism, Socialism and Democracy“ (1942). Up to 1933 Cläre Tisch worked as a scientist; in addition she was assistant to Arthur Spiethoff.
Because she was Jewish she had to leave the university and took on various jobs in the private sector.
In 1936 she became the principal of the adoption organization for the Jewish Women Organization in Wuppertal-Elberfeld. She turned down various opportunities to leave Germany probably because of her desire to help the children. Schumpeter had provided an affidavit for her in order to facilitate her emigration to the United States.
On November 10, 1941, Cläre Tisch was deported together with her sisters Marie and Gerda, her brother-in-law Leo Marcus, and her niece Arnhild Marcus in a group of 992 Jewish co-citizens from Wuppertal, Düsseldorf, and Essen to the ghetto in Minsk, where she was murdered very likely in 1942 or 1943.
In front of the house in Wuppertal's Neumarktstraße 46, where she used to live, a so-called "stumbling block" is a memorial to her. She is also featured in the permanent exhibition of the Old Synagogue Center in Wuppertal.
- Wirtschaftsrechnung und Verteilung im zentralistisch organisierten sozialistischen Gemeinwesen, (Bonner Dissertation), Wuppertal-Elberfeld 1932
- Der wirtschaftliche Sinn der bisherigen Rechtsprechung des deutschen Kartellgerichts. Vittorio Klostermann, Frankfurt a.M. 1934
- Organisationsformen der Deutschen Mittelindustrie (Industriewirtschaftliche Untersuchungen - hrsg. v. Herbert von Beckerath; Heft 3, Vittorio Klostermann, Frankfurt/Main 1934
- Harald Hagemann, article „Cläre Tisch“, in: Biographisches Handbuch der deutschsprachigen wirtschaftswissenschaftlichen Emigration nach 1933, hg. von Harald Hagemann und Claus-Dieter Krohn, K. G. Saur München 1999, ISBN 3-598-11284-X, Band 2, S. 714ff.
- H. Hagemann, article „Cläre Tisch“, in: Robert W. Dimand, Mary Ann Dimand, Evelyn L. Forget (Hg.), A Biographical Dictionary Of Women Economists, Cheltenham 2000, S. 426-429.
- According to Hans Singer, his close circle of student-colleagues at Bonn included Klara Tisch, August Lösch, Wolfgang Stolper, and Herbert Zassenhaus: "Transcript of Interview of Hans W. Singer by Richard Jolly, Sussex, 2 January 2000," United Nations Intellectual History Project, p. 42.
- According to Allen, she was one of Schumpeter's "favorite students": Robert Loring Allen, Opening doors. The Life and Work of Joseph Schumpeter, New Brunswick 1991, Bd. 1, S. 282; S.109; similar: Thomas K. McCraw, Joseph A. Schumpeter. Eine Biographie, Hamburg 2008, S. 228 u.662.
- C. Nishiyama/K. R. Leube (ed.), The Essence of Hayek, Stanford 1984, S. 60 (The Impossibility of Socialist Calculation)
- Tübingen 2005, S. 277, in the 16. chapter ("Der sozialistische Grundplan").