Felix M. Warburg

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Felix M. Warburg
Felix Moritz Warburg.jpg
Warburg circa 1920
Felix Moritz Warburg

(1871-01-14)14 January 1871
Hamburg, Germany
Died21 October 1937(1937-10-21) (aged 66)
New York City, United States
EmployerM. M. Warburg
Spouse(s)Frieda Schiff

Felix Moritz Warburg (January 14, 1871 – September 20, 1937) was a German-born American banker. He was a member of the Warburg banking family of Hamburg, Germany.[1]

Early life[edit]

Warburg was born in Hamburg, Germany on January 14, 1871.[2] He was a grandson of Moses Marcus Warburg, one of the founders of the bank, M. M. Warburg (in 1798) and son of Moritz and Charlotte Esther Oppenheim Warburg. Felix's first job at age 16 was in Hamburg, Germany with N.M. Oppenheim & Co. Felix Warburg was a partner in Kuhn, Loeb & Co. [3]


Warburg was an important leader of the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, established to help the Jews in Europe in the period leading up to, and especially during, the Great Depression. Warburg actively raised funds in the United States on behalf of European Jews who faced hunger following World War I. As early as 1919, he was quoted in The New York Times discussing the dire situation of Jewish war sufferers.[4]

Warburg served as the founder and first president of the American Friends of the Hebrew University, which supports the Hebrew University of Jerusalem in Jerusalem, Mandate Palestine, in 1925.[5][6][7]

Warburg and the Joint Distribution Committee were also instrumental in the 1930s after the global Great Depression following the crash of the New York stock exchange in 1929.[8][9] More interested in his charitable work than banking, after Hitler seized power, Felix gave money to help aid Jews flee Germany. Before he died, Warburg gave $10,000,000 to Jewish causes around the world.[10]

John L. Spivak claimed General Smedley Butler had named him before Congress as part of the Business Plot.[11][12]

Personal life[edit]

Portrait of his wife, Frieda Schiff, by Anders Zorn, 1894, at the Metropolitan Museum of Art
Warburg mansion in New York, today the Jewish Museum

He married Frieda Schiff (1876–1958), daughter of Jacob Henry Schiff (1847–1920) and Therese Loeb Schiff, on 19 March 1895, in New York.[13] They had four sons and one daughter:

All of their children were active in community service.[18]

He died on 20 September 1937 in New York City.[1] He was buried in Salem Fields Cemetery in Brooklyn, New York City.[19]


As a result of his philanthropic activities, a new Jewish village established in Mandate Palestine in 1939, Kfar Warburg, was named after him. He was a trustee of the Jewish Theological Seminary in New York.[20][21]

The Felix M. Warburg House, in New York's Upper East side was donated by his widow and today houses the Jewish Museum.[22]


  1. ^ a b "F. M. Warburg Dies At 66 In Home Here. Senior Partner in Kuhn, Loeb Is Victim of Heart Attack. Ill Only Three Days". The New York Times. October 21, 1937. Retrieved 2015-02-23. Felix M. Warburg, financier, and champion of many philanthropic causes, died yesterday of a heart attack at the age of 66. He was stricken at 4 A. M. last Monday in his home at 1,109 Fifth Avenue, but his illness at first was not regarded as serious.
  2. ^ Pfeffer, Jacob (September 12, 1932). "Felix M. Warburg". Distinguished Jews of America: A Collection of Biographical Sketchs of Jew Who Have Made Their Mark in Business, the Professions, Politics, Science, Etc.Volume 1: 469.
  3. ^ "FELIX WARBURG". The New York Times. 21 October 1937. Retrieved 15 September 2019.
  4. ^ "Tells sad plight of Jews" The New York Times, 12 November 1919
  5. ^ "A VISUAL HISTORY OF AFHU". American Friends of the Hebrew University. Archived from the original on June 30, 2016. Retrieved August 29, 2016.
  6. ^ "Felix Warburg Reaches Jerusalem". The New York Times. 28 January 1927. Retrieved 15 April 2017.
  7. ^ "WARBURG PLEDGES $1,000,000 TO FUND; Will Be Used to Establish Jews on Agricultural Colonies in Russia. TOTAL NOW IS $6,500,000 Subscription, Conditional on Raising of $10,000,000, Expected to Be Returned Eventually". The New York Times. 25 April 1928. Retrieved 15 April 2017.
  8. ^ "Felix Warburg Arrives in London". The New York Times. 26 May 1929. Retrieved 15 April 2017.
  9. ^ "MRS. F. M. WARBURG GETS JEWISH POST; She Succeeds Late Husband as Honorary Chairman of Distribution Committee". The New York Times. 21 December 1937. Retrieved 15 April 2017.
  10. ^ Magazine/1937/11/1/archives/Business-and-FInance:-Death-of-Warburg
  11. ^ Archer, p. x (Foreword)
  12. ^ Schmidt, p. 229
  13. ^ Times, Special To The New York (23 September 1958). "WARBURG ESTATE PUT AT 9 MILLION; $2,970,000 in Gifts Left to Charitable Institutions by Widow of Banker". The New York Times. Retrieved 15 April 2017.
  14. ^ Whitman, Alden (July 11, 1973). "Frederick M. Warburg, 75, Dies; Investment Banker, Sportsman". The New York Times.
  15. ^ "Gerald F. Warburg, 69, Is Dead; Cellist and a Patron of the Arts". The New York Times. February 15, 1971.
  16. ^ "Paul Felix Warburg Dead; Was 61; Funeral Services Tomorrow". Jewish Telegraph Agency. October 11, 1965.
  17. ^ "Carola W. Rothschild, Ex-Girl Scout Official". The New York Times. September 1, 1987.
  18. ^ "Frieda Schiff"
  19. ^ "FELIX WARBURG". The New York Times. 21 October 1937. Retrieved 15 April 2017.
  20. ^ Warburg
  21. ^ "RAISE $500,000 FOR NURSES.; Mr. and Mrs. Felix M. Warburg Give $100,000 to Jewish Charity". The New York Times. 21 March 1920. Retrieved 15 April 2017.
  22. ^ Times, Special To The New York (14 January 1950). "Felix M. Warburg Honored". The New York Times. Retrieved 15 April 2017.

Further reading[edit]

  • Yehuda Bauer (1974) My Brother's Keeper. A History of the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee 1929-1939 Jewish Publication Society of America, Philadelphia, ISBN 0-8276-0048-8

External links[edit]

Media related to Felix M. Warburg at Wikimedia Commons

Archives and records[edit]