Felix M. Warburg

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

(1871-01-14)January 14, 1871
Hamburg, Germany
DiedOctober 20, 1937(1937-10-20) (aged 66)
New York City, United States
EmployerM. M. Warburg
Frieda Schiff
(m. 1895)
Signature of Felix Moritz Warburg (1871–1937).png

Felix Moritz Warburg (January 14, 1871 – October 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 a presidential elector in the 1908 presidential election.[4]

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.[5]

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.[6][7][8]

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.[9][10] 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.[11]

John L. Spivak claimed General Smedley Butler had named him before Congress as part of the Business Plot.[12][13]

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 March 19, 1895, in New York.[14] They had four sons and one daughter:

All of their children were active in community service.[19]

He died on October 20, 1937 in New York City.[1][20] He was buried in Salem Fields Cemetery in Brooklyn.[21]


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.[22][23]

The Felix M. Warburg House, in New York's Upper East side was donated by his widow and today houses the Jewish Museum.[24]


  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. p. 1. Retrieved February 23, 2015. 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. October 21, 1937. p. 22. Retrieved September 15, 2019.
  4. ^ "New York Electors Meet". The Sun. Vol. LXXVI, no. 134. New York, N.Y. January 12, 1909. p. 5 – via Chronicling America.
  5. ^ "Tells Sad Plight of Jews". The New York Times. November 12, 1919. p. 7. Retrieved February 17, 2022 – via Newspapers.com.
  6. ^ "A Visual History of AFHU". American Friends of the Hebrew University. Archived from the original on June 30, 2016. Retrieved August 29, 2016.
  7. ^ "Felix Warburg Reaches Jerusalem". The New York Times. January 28, 1927. p. 4. Retrieved April 15, 2017.
  8. ^ "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. April 25, 1928. p. 16. Retrieved April 15, 2017.
  9. ^ "Felix Warburg Arrives in London". The New York Times. May 26, 1929. p. 21. Retrieved April 15, 2017.
  10. ^ "MRS. F. M. WARBURG GETS JEWISH POST; She Succeeds Late Husband as Honorary Chairman of Distribution Committee". The New York Times. December 21, 1937. p. 48. Retrieved April 15, 2017.
  11. ^ "Business & Finance: Death of Warburg". Time. November 1, 1937. Retrieved February 17, 2022.
  12. ^ Archer, p. x (Foreword)
  13. ^ Schmidt, p. 229
  14. ^ Times, Special To The New York (September 23, 1958). "Warburg Estate Put at 9 Million; $2,970,000 in Gifts Left to Charitable Institutions by Widow of Banker". The New York Times. p. 30. Retrieved April 15, 2017.
  15. ^ Whitman, Alden (July 11, 1973). "Frederick M. Warburg, 75, Dies; Investment Banker, Sportsman". The New York Times. p. 44. Retrieved February 17, 2022.
  16. ^ "Gerald F. Warburg, 69, Is Dead; Cellist and a Patron of the Arts". The New York Times. February 15, 1971. p. 26. Retrieved February 17, 2022.
  17. ^ "Paul Felix Warburg Dead; Was 61; Funeral Services Tomorrow". Jewish Telegraph Agency. October 11, 1965. Retrieved February 17, 2022.
  18. ^ "Carola W. Rothschild, Ex-Girl Scout Official". The New York Times. September 1, 1987. p. B6. Retrieved February 17, 2022.
  19. ^ "Frieda Schiff"
  20. ^ "Felix Warburg, Banker, Dies". Lancaster New Era. New York. AP. October 20, 1937. p. 2. Retrieved February 17, 2022 – via Newspapers.com.
  21. ^ "Felix Warburg". The New York Times. October 21, 1937. p. 22. Retrieved April 15, 2017.
  22. ^ Warburg
  23. ^ "Raise $500,000 for Nurses.; Mr. and Mrs. Felix M. Warburg Give $100,000 to Jewish Charity". The New York Times. March 21, 1920. p. 14. Retrieved February 17, 2022 – via Newspapers.com.
  24. ^ Times, Special To The New York (January 14, 1950). "Felix M. Warburg Honored". The New York Times. p. 14. Retrieved April 15, 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]