The Schmooze

Pioneering Social Worker Alice Salomon

Alice Salomon, born in 1872 in Berlin to an assimilated Jewish family, was one of the great pioneers of modern social work, called during her lifetime “The Jane Addams of Germany,” referring to the saintly American founder of Chicago’s Hull House. After writing a turn-of-the-century doctoral dissertation on why women are paid lower salaries than men for equivalent work, Salamon labored to open the field of social work to women and trained generations of workers, including many Jews.

Salomon’s parents sent her to a Protestant girls’ school although her mother told a young Alice who wanted to celebrate Christmas with classmates: “Jesus wasn’t born for you.” Still, during enforced exile in Ireland during World War I — she was trapped in that country when war broke out — Salomon converted to Protestantism, apparently in gratitude to her generous, if involuntary, hosts. As readers of “Character Is Destiny: The Autobiography of Alice Salomon” out from University of Michigan Press in 2004, and the new “The Concept of the Social in the Work of Alice Salomon”, published in July by Metropol Verlag realize, Salomon was always inspired by her Yiddishkeit.

Recommend this article

Pioneering Social Worker Alice Salomon

Thank you!

This article has been sent!

Close
Close