Saturday, June 26, 2010

Felix José Weil

 George Grosz, Portrait of Felix. J. Weil, 1926

Felix José Weil (1898-1975) was the original financial provider for the Institute for Social Research in Frankfurt am Main, Germany. The Institut later earned worldwide recognition by the works of, among others,  Theodor W. Adorno, Max Horkheimer and Jürgen Habermas. Weil was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina and was the son of the wealthy German-Jewish merchant Hermann Weil and his wife Rosa Weil. At the age of 9 he was sent to attend school in Frankfurt. He went on to attend the universities in Tübingen and Frankfurt, where he graduated with a doctoral degree in political science. While at these universities he became increasingly interested in Marxism. 

Participants of the 1923 Marxist Work Week: Friedrich Pollock (above, 2. from left), Georg Lukács (above, 4. from left), Felix Weil (above, 2. from right).

In 1923 Felix Weil financed the First Marxist Work Week (Erste Marxistische Arbeitswoche) in the German town of Ilmenau. The event was attended by figures such as Georg Lukács, Karl Korsch and Friedrich Pollock. Based on the success of this event he went on, along with his friend Friedrich Pollock, to found the Institute for Social Research in 1924 which he financed with a large part of his heritage. Describing himself later as a "Salon Bolshevik", Weil also supported left-wing artists like George Grosz whom he financed a trip to Italy. Since 1945 Weil permanently lived in California.  

 You can read more about Felix Weil here (page 11 ff).

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