Felix M. Warburg

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Felix M. Warburg
Felix Moritz Warburg.jpg
Warburg circa 1920
Born Felix Moritz Warburg
(1871-01-14)14 January 1871
Hamburg, Germany
Died 20 September 1937(1937-09-20) (aged 66)
New York City, New York
Nationality American
Occupation Banker
Employer M. M. Warburg
Spouse(s) Frieda Schiff
Children 5

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

Early life[edit]

He was a grandson of Moses Marcus Warburg, one of the founders of the bank, M. M. Warburg (in 1798). Felix Warburg was a partner in Kuhn, Loeb & Co..


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.[2]

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, Israel, in 1925.[3]

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.

John L. Spivak claimed General Smedley Butler had named him before Congress as part of the Business Plot.[4][5]

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 (see Warburg Family page) (3 February 1876 – 14 September 1958), daughter of Jacob Henry Schiff (1847–1920) and Therese Loeb Schiff, on 19 March 1895, in New York. They had four sons and one daughter:

  • Frederick Marcus Warburg
  • Gerald Felix Warburg
  • Paul Felix Warburg
  • Edward Mortimer Morris Warburg
  • Carola Warburg

All of their children were active in community service.[6]

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


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.[7]

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


  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". 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. ^ "Tells sad plight of Jews" New York Times, 12 November 1919
  3. ^ "A VISUAL HISTORY OF AFHU". American Friends of the Hebrew University. Retrieved August 29, 2016. 
  4. ^ Archer, p. x (Foreword)
  5. ^ Schmidt, p. 229
  6. ^ "Frieda Schiff"
  7. ^ Warburg

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