The Jewish Encyclopedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jewish_Encyclopedia) contains a sizeable entry on one 'Adolph Klein', allegedly born on 1829-05-29 in ther German city of Halle (Saale).

Puzzlingly, hardly anything seems to have survived of his writings (or at least: to have found its way to the internet).

Question.

For a historical research project, I need to know:

  1. Are there indications (over and above the few that I'll list below) that this 'Adolph Klein' actually lived? If so, was this 'Adolph Klein' Jewish in any meaningful way?
  2. Has anything survived of his writings (or of the journals he is said to have edited) and if so, where can those be read? (There seems to be nothing on the internet.)

Remarks.

The above-mentioned encyclopedia-entry lists the following titles of texts Klein allegedly wrote (none of them returned any result in the currently largest internet search engine, except for one hit only: above-mentioned encyclopedia-entry, which is why one may get the idea that this character might be entirely fictional)

i. "Anthropologie und Makrobiotik" (i.e. 'anthropology and macrobiotics')

ii. "Der Chemisch-Mechanische Theil des Menschlichen Organismus und Seine Lebenskraft" (i.e. 'the chemico-mechanical part of the human organism and its vis vitalis')

iii. "Die Geistbewusste Persönlichkeit und Ihre Unvergänglichkeit als Weltprinzip" (i.e. 'the mind-conscious personality and its imperishability as a world-principle')

iv. "Die Magnetischen Funktionen des Eisengehaltes im Blute" (i.e. the magnetic functions of the iron-content in the bloodstream')

v. "Geheimnissvolle Funktionen der Sympathischen Ganglien" (i.e. 'mysterious functions of the sympathetic ganglia'; cf. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sympathetic_nervous_system)

vi. "Philosophie und Anthropologie" (i.e. 'philosophy and anthropology')

vii. "Religions-Einigung" (i.e. 'unification of religion(s)')

viii. "Sozialpolitische Beiträge zur Judenfrage." (i.e. 'socio-political contributions to the Jewish question')

ix. "Ueberwindung des Wissenschaftlichen Materialismus" (i.e. 'the overcoming of scientific materialism')

x. "Weshalb Theologie, Materialismus und Spiritualismus in Bezug auf das Menschenräthsel zu Falschen Schlüssen Gelangen?" (i.e. 'why theology, materialism and spiritualism arrive at wrong conclusions in regard to the puzzles of humanities')

xi. "Wissenschaftliche Beiträge zum Hypnotismus" (i.e. 'scientific contributions to hypnotism')

It is also said that this Adolph Klein worked as an editor of the following journals:

  • "Berliner Eisenbahn-Zeitung" (i.e. 'Berlin railroad newspaper)

  • "Das Rothe Kreuz" (i.e. 'the red cross')

  • "Deutsche Frauenblätter" (i.e. 'German women letters')

  • "Gross-Lichterfelder Wegweiser" (i.e. 'guidepost for gross-lichterfeld')

I could not find any scans of these journals (or even of libraries where they might have been preserved).

  • 1
    It is true that most things written before the Internet existed have never been digitized and placed on the Internet. So it seems you will have to act the way scholars did in the past: go in person to relevant libraries and archives to search by hand. – Gerald Edgar Nov 2 at 15:06

Following the link given in Francois Ziegler's answer I found a Dr. Klein among the signers of a parliamentary petition calling for the modification of section 175 of the German Criminal Code:

Petition an die gesetzgebenden Körperschaften des deutschen Reiches behufs Abänderung des § 175 des R.-Str.-G.-B. und die sich daran anschliessenden Reichstags-Verhandlungen.

The main purpose of this section, which was carried forward in various versions of the German Criminal Code until it was eliminated in 1994, was the criminalization of homosexual acts between men. The petition calls for changing this section such that it applies equally to homosexual and heterosexual acts and applies only to cases involving physical violence, persons under 16 years of age, or indecent exposure. The petition's author is listed as a Dr. med. Hirschfeld. This is the German Jewish physician and pioneering sexologist Magnus Hirschfeld, as I confirmed via this book, which also states:

When Hirschfeld and his allies went looking for signatures, lists of which were regularly published in the yearbook, they did not seek volume. Instead, they took pains to solicit exclusively well-respected, impeccable figures of Wilhelmine society.

Among the petition's signers, Dr. Klein is listed as follows:

Dr. Adolf Klein, Chefredakteur des deutschen Frauenblattes, Gross-Lichterfelde

The Berlin Central and Regional Library makes various historic address directories available online, among them the "Adreßbuch für Berlin und seine Vororte" for 1897. In the section for the suburb of Groß-Lichterfelde, one finds the following entry under the heading "Buchhandlungen" (book sellers):

Dr. Klein, Ad., Berlinerstr. 142

Around 1900, Groß-Lichterfelde was an upscale neighborhood consisting mostly of "Villen" (i.e. small mansions). This jibes with Dr. Klein's residence being listed as "Villa Klein" in the autobiographical notes. The street has since been renamed to Ostpreußendamm, according to the German Wikipedia:

Ostpreußendamm. Der vorherige Name der vor 1878 angelegten Straße war Berliner Straße.

Google Maps's street view shows modern buildings at 142 Ostpreußendamm. The address directory also lists the inhabitants of Groß-Lichterfelde by street, and there we find Dr. Klein again under the heading "Berlinerstr.":

142 E. Klein, A., Dr., Verlagsbuchhdl.

The word "Verlagsbuchhändler" (here abbreviated) indicates that Dr. Klein was a publisher in addition to being a bookseller. I am reasonably sure the "E." indicates that Dr. Klein was the "Eigentümer" of this house, that is, he owned this property. The 1902 and 1904 editions of the address directory show Dr. Klein still residing at this address. The 1905 member directory of the Association of German Engineers (VDI = "Verein Deutscher Ingenieure") shows someone else residing at this address:

Otto Bernhardt, Ingenieur bei Bechem & Post, Gr.-Lichterfelde, Berliner Str. 142

Considering the lead time for the creation of printed directories, one might reasonably assume that Dr. Klein died between late 1903 and late 1904. Berlin death records ("Sterberegister") are accessible via ancestry.com, which requires membership for access to records. A search indicates that they have a death record for an Adolf Klein from 1903. This seems like a promising lead for establishing a definite date of death, as well as confirmation of the day of birth.

The autobiographical notes quoted in Francois Ziegler's answer seem to be partially in error or possibly fictitious. Dr. Klein's wife is said to hail from "Thorn an der Weser", but best I can determine, there has never been such a town. There was however a "Thorn an der Weichsel" (modern-day Toruń in Poland) in the relevant time frame. A publication "Deutsches Frauenblatt" seems to have existed, based on a single relevant reference I was able to locate online:

Engelken, H., Deutsche Lungenheilstätten. Deutsches Frauenblatt. 1898. No. 1 ff

If there is an archive of this publication somewhere, it should be straightforward to establish whether Dr. Klein was indeed its editor-in-chief, as the information in the petition claims. I have not been able to establish anything else about "Deutsches Frauenblatt" other than a presumably unrelated publication of the same name was published from 1926 on.

According to the Jewish Encyclopedia Dr. Klein received his medical degree from the University of Leipzig in 1851. The university's archive provides a list of all doctorates (across all faculties) it has awarded since 1810. I cannot find an Adolf Klein or Adolph Klein on that list.

According to the encyclopedia article, Dr. Klein practiced medicine in Königsberg between 1859 to 1870. Checking an 1865 address directory of Königsberg, I see several people called A. Klein listed, none of whom works in a medical profession.

From what I have been able to piece together, the "Allwohlsbund" mentioned in the autobiographical portrait quoted in Francois Ziegler's answer was an organization advocating for land reform. Founded by Theodor Stamm, it existed between 1888 and 1893. For a while it was led by the progressive Berlin industrialist Heinrich Freese. I have been unable to find any information about other board members or directors. I am therefore unable to verify Dr. Klein's claimed involvement with this organization at this time.

I found a reference to one of Dr. Klein's books in a publication of The New York Public Library, "List of Works Relating to the History and Condition of the Jews in Various Countries," (New York 1914), p. 86:

Socialpolitische Beiträge zur Judenfrage in Deutschland. Aus dem praktischen Leben der Provinz und Grossstadt geschildert, Berlin O.: Adolf Klein [188-?]. 44 p. 8°

A PDF file containing a scan of the entire book can be downloaded from the Saxon State and University Library Dresden. Reading the foreword, I found that the author expresses strong antisemitic sentiments.

I found a summary of a 1897 talk given by a Dr. med. Ad. Klein in a publication dealing with the occult. "Die Übersinnliche Welt." Vol. 5, No. 4, April 1897:

Am 10. d. M. hielt in der Wissenschaftlichen Vereinigung "Sphinx" zu Berlin, Unter den Linden 27 ("Hopfenblüthe"), Dr. med. Ad. Klein einen Vortrag über das Thema: "Mystik und Naturwissenschaft" als Einführung in das Gebiet der Physiologie des Magischen.

I cannot tell whether this would be the same Adolf Klein the asker is researching. The same goes for a reference to an article published in a spiritistic publication:

Adolf Klein: "Über Lebensentstehung". Zeitschrift für Spiritismus und verwandte Gebiete. Vol. 3, Leipzig 1899.

  • 1
    Note that editions Adolf Klein (then resident at Frankfurter Allee 16, which I had missed in the Deutscher Litteratur-Kalender for 1884 to 1887) advertised the book you found (viii in the OP’s list) as authored by one Dr. (Werner) Adolf Frantz. A likely Doppelgänger. – Francois Ziegler Nov 6 at 7:30
  • 1
    I found "Die Überwindung des wissenschaftlichen Materialismus" is the printed version of a talk given by one Wilhelm Ostwald, professor of chemistry at the university of Leipzig. Veit & Comp., Leipzig 1895. I wonder whether this could be identical with no. ix on the list of Klein's publications? – njuffa Nov 6 at 7:37
  • 1
    Other elusive publications: Wissenschaftliche Prüfung der okkulten Ursachen zu den Phänomenen des Seelebens (same Zeitschrift für Spiritismus, Nº 56); Missgriffe beim Wassergebrauch als Naturheilmittel (Der Naturarzt, vol. 26–28, 1898–1900). – Francois Ziegler Nov 9 at 14:01

The entry is wholly drawn from an ostensibly autobiographical portrait inserted in the “humorvoll” who’s who Das geistige Berlin (1897, p. 245; reprint):

Klein, Ad., Dr. med. und phil., geboren zu Merseburg an der Saale am 18. Mai 1829, studirte in Leipzig 1848–51, praktizirte in Königsberg in Ostpreussen 1859–70. Vermählte sich 1860 mit Fräulein Marie Josephine geborene Binder aus Thorn an der Weser. Widmete sich seit 1870 der Schriftstellerei und redigirte eine Anzahl von Blättern: Das Rothe Kreuz, Deutsche Frauenblätter, Berliner Eisenbahn-Zeitung, Gross-Lichterfelder Wegweiser und Andere. Hauptwerke sind: (i,  ix, vi, ii, v, iv, iii, xi, vii, x, viii). Ausserdem noch eine Anzahl Schriften humanitären, sozialökonomischen und sozialhygienischen Inhalts. Studien über Uranographie und Allwohlsschriften auch philosophischen Inhalts. Mehrere meiner Schriften sind ihrer Freimüthigkeit halber in New York verlegt. Pseudonym: Dr. Nielk Floda. Ohne Preise, Titel, Orden und Ehrenzeichen (die ich übrigens ablehnen würde). Vorstandsmitglied verschiedener Vereine, insbesondere des „Allwohlsbundes“. Jetziger Wohnort: Gross-Lichterfelde, Villa Klein.

(iv has Funktion and xi reads in full „Wissenschaftliche Beiträge zum Hypnotismus, thierischen Magnetismus, Freiheit des Willens und die Degeneration in der Kulturwelt“.)

Shorter notes appear in Kürschner’s Deutscher Litteratur-Kalender, years 1887 to 1903.

More crumbs (and one surviving work):

  1. Antwort von Dr. Adolf Klein. In: Ferdinand Maack (ed.), Okkultismus: Was ist er? Was will er? Wie erreicht er sein Ziel? Verlag von Paul Zillmann, Zehlendorf b. Berlin, 1898, pp. 123–131.

  2. Bericht über die Verhandlungen auf dem zweiten Kongress des „Verbandes Deutscher Okkultisten“ am 7. u. 8. Juni (Pfingsten) 1897 in Dresden. (Berlin–Gross-Lichterfelde, Berlinerstr. 142, Adolf Klein’s Verlagsbuchhandlung, 1897.) (Publishing house listed as established in 1880, disbanded by 1905. This confirms the address found by @njuffa.)

  3. The above 1897 proceedings also appear in oclc notes on proceedings of a 1896 congress. The latter mention Klein’s election as second chairman of the Bureau (partial pdf, p. 6).

  • Potentially relevant: There is a town that was called Thorn in the relevant time frame (modern-day Toruń in Poland), but it is located on the river Weichsel, not the river Weser, as the text states. It is difficult to imagine that the writer of an autobiographical portrait would get that detail wrong. – njuffa Nov 5 at 17:48
  • @njuffa I don’t think any of it is serious! – Francois Ziegler Nov 5 at 17:54
  • The Berlin archives have scans of address books online, including the address book "Berlin and Surrounds" for 1897. I can find only one entry for an Adolph Klein: Adolph Klein, Agent, Vertr. ausw. Häuser, SW Kommandantenstr. 85 L Tel. I 349) 4-8. Wohn. N Lothringerstr. 60 III. So this person was a (business?) representative of some sort. The entry says his private residence was in Lothringerstr. The German Wikipedia states this is part of modern-day Torstraße. Not in Lichterfelde. – njuffa Nov 5 at 18:15
  • 1
    I noticed belatedly that the Berlin address book for 1897 has a seperate section for suburbs. In it, under Gross-Lichterfelde, I find Dr. Klein, Ad., Berlinerstr. 142. under the heading "Buchhandlungen" (that is, booksellers). – njuffa Nov 5 at 19:49
  • 1
    ^^ The signed petition reached the Reichstag on 4 May 1904 (proceedings, see p. 2316). – Francois Ziegler Nov 6 at 5:43

Your Answer

 

By clicking "Post Your Answer", you acknowledge that you have read our updated terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy, and that your continued use of the website is subject to these policies.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.