Dagobert D. Runes

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Dagobert David Runes
Born (1902-01-06)January 6, 1902
Zastavna, Bukovina, Austro-Hungary (now Ukraine)
Died September 24, 1982(1982-09-24) (aged 80)
New York City, New York, U.S.
Known for Founder of the Philosophical Library

Dagobert David Runes (January 6, 1902 – September 24, 1982) was a philosopher and author. Born in Zastavna, Bukovina, Austro-Hungary (now in Ukraine), he emigrated to the United States in 1926. He had received a doctorate in philosophy from the University of Vienna in 1924. In the U.S. he became editor of The Modern Thinker and later Current Digest. From 1931 to 1934 he was Director of the Institute for Advanced Education in New York City. He had an encyclopedic level fluency in Latin and Biblical Hebrew; he fluently spoke and wrote in Austrian German, German, Yiddish, French, Hebrew, Russian, Polish, Czechoslovakian, and English. In 1941 he founded the Philosophical Library,[1] a spiritual organization and publishing house. Runes was a colleague and friend to Albert Einstein.[2]

Runes published an English translation of Marx's On the Jewish Question under the title A World without Jews. Though this has often been considered the first translation of the work, a Soviet anti-zionist, propaganda version had existed a few years earlier, which was likely unknown to Runes. As the title of Rune's book sounded antisemitic, it had extremely limited circulation in the English-speaking world. Runes wrote an introduction to the translation that was clearly antagonistic to extreme Marxism, and 'its materialism,' as he would later often put it, yet he did not entirely negate Marxism. He also edited several works presenting the ideas and history of philosophy to a general audience, especially his Dictionary of Philosophy.

He spoke and wrote unpublished letters about his extensive research into the censorship by the Vatican and other Christian organizations of Jewish history, which as he studied he realized was far more prolific than almost anyone realized.[citation needed] Early versions of the Nicene Creed, for example, instituted laws such as "You shall apply all negative to that pernicious race [Jews], and all positive will be applied to the poor of the Roman Christians";[citation needed] and Justinian I banned any Jewish language, which is rarely noted.[citation needed] The extensive antisemitism in the Theodosian Code was later censored in some works.[citation needed] Jews were barred from many fields which did not fit into the stereotypes portrayed in annual Good Friday passion plays, such as being tax collectors or money traders.[citation needed] (Another minor example was that in medieval Sweden, Jews were only allowed to trade used clothes, so that their social status would remain beneath the Christians).[citation needed] He also listed holidays where young energetic parishioners were directed to strike the first elderly Jews they saw upon leaving the Church, specifically in the nose, where blood would be readily observed.[citation needed] Runes' love for the Latin language greatly facilitated this research.

Dagobert Runes moved to the United States with his wife Mary Gronich-Runes. They remarried in NYC in 1929 and remained married until Mary's death. They had two children, Regeen and Richard.[citation needed] His mother was murdered in an anti-Semitic riot following the Holocaust;[citation needed] almost his entire family and their circle of friends were killed in the Holocaust.[citation needed]

Selected works

  • Dictionary of Philosophy (editor) Philosophical Library, 1942.
  • Jordan Lieder: Frühe Gedichte (in German) The Philosophical Library, 1948.
  • Letters to My Son The Philosophical Library, 1949.
  • Letters to My Daughter The Philosophical Library, 1954.
  • The Hebrew Impact on Western Civilization The Philosophical Library, 1951.
  • Spinoza Dictionary The Philosophical Library, 1951.
  • On the Nature of Man The Philosophical Library, 1956.
  • Treasury of Philosophy (editor) The Philosophical Library, 1955.
  • Pictorial History of Philosophy (editor) The Philosophical Library, 1959.
  • A Dictionary of Thought (editor) Philosophical Library, 1959.
  • A World without Jews (translator) The Philosophical Library, 1959.
  • The Art of Thinking The Philosophical Library, 1961.
  • A Treasury of World Science (editor) The Philosophical Library, 1962.
  • "Despotism: A Pictorial History of Tyranny" (author) The Philosophical Library, 1963 Library of Congress Card catalog #62-22269
  • The Disinterested and the Law The Philosophical Library, 1964.


  • Ulrich E Bach. “Dagobert D. Runes: Ein streitbarer Verleger in New York.” [1] In: Deutschsprachige Exilliteratur seit 1933 3/I USA Supplement. Ed. John M. Spalek, Konrad Feilchenfeldt and Sandra H. Hawrylchak. Berlin: De Gruyter, 2010: 278-295.
  • Pictorial History of Philosophy by Dagobert D. Runes, 1959.


  1. "Dr. Dagobert Runes, Founder Of the Philosophical Library". New York Times. 27 September 1982. p. D-9. Retrieved 15 December 2011.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. Einstein wrote quotes for the covers of many of his works, including one on his book The War Against The Jews front inner flap "His views are the closest to mine... the historical treatment of Jews by Christians is the most egregious example of man's inhumanity to their fellow man..."

External links