Margarete Turnowsky-Pinner

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Margarete Turnowsky-Pinner (also Grete, Heb

מרגרטה טורנובסקי-פינר; * February 27, 1894 in Kosten, Posen Province; † January 1982 in Tel Aviv) was a German-Israeli social worker and social scientist.


Margarete Pinner came from a Jewish academic family. The father, Sigismund Pinner, was a lawyer and the mother, Elisabeth, née Bernstein, a teacher. The couple had three children: Walter, Ernst and Margarete. The family had moved from Posen to Berlin before the First World War. Margarete Pinner attended a teacher training seminar in Berlin, studied social sciences and completed her studies with a doctorate.[1] From 1917/18 she studied for one semester as a guest student at the University of Heidelberg. There her paths crossed with Käthe Markus, Elli Harnasch and the writer and later politician Ernst Toller.[2]

From 1919 Margarete looked after East Jewish immigrants (Jewish People’s Home, Berlin), from 1923 she was active in the leadership of the Federation of Zionist Women (BZF) and published articles on social science issues. From 1928 to 1930 she was an employee of the Association of Jewish Women for Cultural Work in Palestine, and from 1930 to 1933 she held a leading position for the endowed scholarship and welfare fund of the Schocken department store.

In 1933, Margarete emigrated to Tel Aviv with her daughters Miriam and Rachel. Her divorced husband Walter Turnowsky, with whom she had already lived and worked in Palestine from 1925 to 1927, procured an entry permit for them. In 1939, Margaret’s brother, the lawyer Ernst Pinner (1889-1947), followed them with his second wife Rozalia Rozka (née Fischer, 1906-1967) and their two children Magdalena and Stefan.[3] The family settled in the moshav Bejt Yizchak, built a small house there and ran chicken and fattening farms with 59 other settler families. Stefan Pinner lives there to this day with his wife Chann and their three children. After his emigration, the son Hananja had obtained an apprenticeship, which came about due to the intercession of his uncle Walter, in the ceramicwerden Stoke-on-Trent in Great Britain, but had been interned in a British camp after the outbreak of war with the Hitler regime. In 1943 he too was allowed to leave for Palestine via Australia. From 1943 to 1946 he fought as a soldier in a Jewish unit of the British army in Cyprus and Egypt, returning to Palestine in 1946 and becoming a member of Kibbutz Ein Grev. He was seriously wounded in the 1948 War of Independence, spent two years in hospitals due to partial paralysis, and then began training in an art school in Jerusalem in 1950. After completing his education, he worked again as an art teacher and artist on the kibbutz.

Walter Pinner, the brother of Ernst and Margarete, had already gone into exile in England after 1933. He succeeded in obtaining an entry permit for his father, the Minister of Justice Sigismund Pinner, to England. Sigismund Pinner died in Birmingham on 25 March 1941. The youngest sister of the father, named Recha Cohn, her daughter and her husband perished in Theresienstadt.

Ernst Pinner died on August 20, 1947 in the settlement of Bejt-Jizchak, his wife Rozalia 20 years later.[4]

Magdalena Pinner immigrated to Canada and married Edgar Waniuk. She became a well-known painter and took the pen name Silvana Waniuk.[5]

In Tel Aviv, Margarete Turnowsky-Pinner continued to work as a social worker and worked for the integration of refugees coming to Palestine (Israel). When she died in 1982, she was a highly respected publicist and mediator in the social sciences of her country. In a newspaper article, she is described as a “guardian of Jewish tradition and social conscience.”


  • Wizo’s care for immigrants & refugees: historical survey 1933-1946, compiled on the basis of documents by Grete Turnowsky-Pinner, Tel Aviv: Wizo, Palestine Executive Publicity Department, 1946
  • Jewish Women of Palestine in Trades and Professions, Tel Aviv: Women International Zionist Organisation, Instruction and Information Centre, 1948On theOccupational Classification of New Immigrants in the State of Israel, Tel Aviv: Israel WIZO Executive Instruction and Information Centre, 1948 (?)
  • Vocational rehabilitation of immigrants in the State of Israel, Tel Aviv: Sepher Press, 1948, (=Women’s International Zionist Organization. Instruction and Information Centre).
  • A Year of Unrestricted Immigration, Miriam Scheuer and Wera Lewin (eds.), Tel Aviv: Israel WIZO Executive, Instruction and Information Centre, 1949
  • Reception of immigrants in Israel: new methods, Tel Aviv: WIZO Executive, Department for Zionist Education, 1950 (?)
  • The Second Generation of Central European Settlers in Israel, Tübingen: Mohr (Siebeck), 1962, (=Schriftenreihe wissenschaftlicher Abhandlungen des Leo Baeck Institute of Jews from Germany; Vol. 5)
  • Nevertheless: from the life of Dr. Ludwig Eliezer Bregmann: on the first anniversary of his death 5 March 1964, Tel Aviv-Jaffa: typescript, 1964
  • Margarete Turnowsky-Pinner: A student’s friendship with Ernst Toller, Year-book 15, Leo Beack Institute, p. 211-222. (s. Oliver Schlaudt: Literature)
  • From the letters of Ernst Pinner to his sister Margarete Turnowsky-Pinner in Palestine 1933-1938, Leo Baeck Institute Jerusalem for the Study of German and Central European Jewry, Archive, File 56.


  • Jutta Dick, Marina Sassenberg (eds.): Jüdische Frauen im 19. und 20. Jahrhundert. Rowohlt, Reinbek 1993, ISBN 3-499-16344-6.
  • Dieter Oelschlägel: Turnowsky-Pinner, Margarete, in: Hugo Maier (ed.): Who is who der Sozialen Arbeit. Freiburg : Lambertus, 1998 ISBN 3-7841-1036-3, p. 596.
  • Tamara Or: Vorämpferinnen und Mütter des Zionismus. Die deutsch-zionistischen Frauenorganisationen (1897-1938), Frankfurt am Main 2009, Peter Lang Verlag, ISBN 978-3-631-59150-5.
  • Oliver Schlaudt: Margarete Turnowsky-Pinner: “Eine Studienfreundschaft mit Ernst Toller” in: Markus Bitterolf, Oliver Schlaudt, Stefan Schöbel (eds.): Intellektuelle in Heidelberg 1910-1933. Ein Lesebuch, Heidelberg 2014, pp. 359-376. ISBN 978-3-9816366-2-8.
  • Dagmar Schneider: Juden in Lichtenrade, in: Geschichtswerkstatt Berlin-Lichtenrade. Right on the doorstep. Berlin-Lichtenrade under National Socialism. Aktion Sühnezeichen/Friedensdienste, Göttingen 1990, pp. 167-218, ISBN 3-89246-017-5.
  • Walter Tetzlaff: 2000 Short Biographies of Important German Jews of the 20th Century. Askania, Lindhorst 1982, ISBN 3-921730-10-4, p. 339.
  • Joseph Walk (ed.): Kurzbiographien zur Geschichte der Juden 1918-1945. ed. by the Leo Baeck Institute, Jerusalem. Saur, Munich 1988, ISBN 3-598-10477-4, p. 369 (further lit. given there).

Web links

Individual references

  1. Jutta Dick, Marina Sassenberg: Jüdische Frauen im 19. und 20. Jahrhundert. Encyclopedia of life and work. Edited by: Jutta Dick, Marina Sassenberg. Rowohlt, Reinbek bei Hamburg 1993, ISBN 3-499-16344-6.
  2. Margarete Turnowsky-Pinner: “A Study Friendship with Ernst Toller.” Edited by Markus Bitterolf, Oliver Schlaudt and Stefan Schöbel. Edition Schöbel, Heidelberg 2014, ISBN 978-3-9816366-2-8.
  3. Ernst Pinner: From the letters of Ernst Pinner to his sister Margarete Turnowsky-Pinner in Palestine. Edited by the Leo Baeck Archive. Leo Baeck Archive , File 56, Jerusalem 2013.
  4. Matthias Springborn:Between Assimilation and Emancipation. Emancipated German Jews in Conflict with Anti-Semitism in the First Half of the Twentieth Century, Using the Example of Constantin Brunner’s Correspondence with George Goetz and Ernst Ludwig Pinner.In: Georg-August-UniversitätGöttingen., 2011, retrieved on 14 March 2021 (German).
  5. Dagmar Schneider: Jews in Lichtenrade (Right on the doorstep). Ed.: Geschichtswerkstatt Berlin-Lichtenrade. Aktion Sühnezeichen/Friedensdienste, Göttingen 1990, ISBN 3-89246-017-5.