Friedrich Adler
Friedrich Adler in the 1930s
Born(1878-04-29)April 29, 1878
Diedc. 11 July 1942
Auschwitz, German-occupied Poland
Alma materAcademy of Fine Arts, Munich
Known forPrroduct design
MovementArt Nouveau, Art Deco
  • Bertha Haymann
  • Erika Fabisch
Birthplace of Friedrich Adler in Laupheim, Germany
Art deco lamp

Friedrich Adler (29 April 1878 – c. 11 July 1942)[1][2] was a Jewish-German artist, designer and academic.[3] He was renowned for his accomplishments in designing metalwork in the Art Nouveau and Art deco styles; he was also the first designer to use bakelite. He designed using a wide variety of objects and materials.[4]


Adler was born on 29 April 1878 in Laupheim, Germany to parents Karoline Frieda Sommer and pastry shop owner Isidor Adler.[5][4] His birthplace is now the Café Hermes, an Art nouveau building in the style of the late Italian Renaissance.[6] From 1894 to 1898 he studied at the Munich School of Applied Arts (now known as Academy of Fine Arts, Munich).[4] In 1902, Adler decided to undertake a second degree at the new teaching and research institute for applied and free art called Debschitz School studying under Wilhelm von Debschitz and the sculptor Hermann Obrist.[3][4] By 1903, he was teaching stucco technology at the same Debschitz School.[4]

From 1907 to 1914, and again from 1918 to 1933, he taught at the School for Applied Art in Hamburg (with a break in between for his military service during World War I).[5][7]

He drew closer to the Jewish religion as well as Jewish iconography and art, as Nazism grew.[4] He designed two stained glass windows for the synagogue in his hometown.[4] In 1914, for the Cologne Werkbund exhibition he designed the interior of a Jewish house of worship.[4]

After serving in World War I from 1914 until 1918, changes in Adler's design work occurred and he stopped working in the Art Nouveau style.[7] In his later life he focused on batik and fabric printing, opening the, Adler Textildruckgesellschaft Hamburg (Adler Textile Printing Company Hamburg).[7][8] In between, he also directed the mastery lessons in Nuremberg, and was busy designing pieces in applied art for over fifty clients.

Death and legacy

On 11 July 1942, Adler, who was Jewish, was deported to the extermination camp Auschwitz,[5][9] where, judged too old to work, he was murdered soon afterwards. There is a stolperstein in his memory at his last place of employment in Hamburg.

In 1994, he was honored with a retrospective exhibition at Munich Stadtmuseum (Munich City Museum).[4] Alder's work is included in the museum collection at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.[10]

Personal life

In 1907, Adler married Bertha Haymann, who died of Spanish flu in 1918.[11] With Bertha he had five children, one of which was artist Paul "Pollo" Wilhelm Adler (1915–1944) who was murdered at Auschwitz.[11]

In 1920, Adler married a former student, Erika Fabisch, and together they had two children.[11] In 1934, Erika Fabisch left with the children to Cyprus.[11]


  1. ^ ABM. Vol. 11. Santa Barbara, Calif. 1980. p. 7.
  2. ^ "Friedrich Adler". Deutsche Digitale Bibliothek. Retrieved 2021-02-09.((cite web)): CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  3. ^ a b Bayer, Udo. "Friedrich Adler". Gesellschaft für Geschichte und Gedenken e.V. Laupheim. Retrieved 2021-02-09.((cite web)): CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i "Adler, Friedrich - Detailseite". Landesarchiv Baden-Württemberg (State Archive Baden-Württemberg). Retrieved 2021-02-09.((cite web)): CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  5. ^ a b c "Friedrich Adler". Laupheimer Museum, Museum of the History of Christians and Jews (in German). Retrieved 2021-02-09.((cite web)): CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  6. ^ "The Jewish Past of Laupheim: The Adler Family". Retrieved 2010-03-28.
  7. ^ a b c "JÜDISCHE KÜNSTLER" [JEWISH ARTISTS]. Spurensuche - Jüdische Friedhöfe in Deutschland, Steinheim Institut. Retrieved 2021-02-09.((cite web)): CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  8. ^ Schiff, Hajo (1994-09-27). "Bis zur Plaste". Die Tageszeitung: taz (in German). p. 19. ISSN 0931-9085. Retrieved 2021-02-09.
  9. ^ "The German style of Jugendstil on exhibition at the Art Museum". The Philadelphia Inquirer from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. September 25, 1988. p. 82 (6F). Retrieved 2021-02-09. several-small pieces of jewelry by Friedrich Adler (1878-1942), a Jew who died in Auschwitz is generally exemplary.((cite web)): CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  10. ^ "Wine jug, ca. 1903". The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Retrieved 2021-02-09.((cite web)): CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  11. ^ a b c d "Paul W. Adler". Stolpersteine in Berlin | Orte & Biografien der Stolpersteine in Berlin. Retrieved 2021-02-09.((cite web)): CS1 maint: url-status (link)

Further reading