Samuel (Schmuel) Hugo Bergman (occasionally Bergmann), or Samuel Bergman (Hebrew: שמואל הוגו ברגמן; December 25, 1883 – June 18, 1975) was an Israeli philosopher.

Hugo Bergman
Samuel Hugo Bergman.jpg
Bergman, 1939
Samuel Hugo Bergman

(1883-12-25)December 25, 1883
DiedJune 18, 1975(1975-06-18) (aged 90)
ChildrenMartin S. Bergmann
RelativesMichael Bergmann (grandson)



Born and raised in Austria-Hungary, Bergmann was a keen member of the Prague intelligentsia visiting the salon group that met at the house of Berta Fanta. Bergmann was to marry her daughter Else Fanta.[1]

He and Else emigrated to Palestine in 1920,[2] and founded, together with Martin Buber, the movement Brit Shalom which promoted a "dual-national" area where Jews and Arabs could live under equal conditions.

He translated several of Rudolf Steiner's books about Threefold Social Order into Hebrew.

He became a Professor at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and later on the dean of the university. His best friends from Prague to Israel were Franz Kafka, who was a schoolmate of his, the philosopher Felix Weltsch, who later also worked in the University Library of Jerusalem, and Max Brod, who was introduced by Bergman into Zionism as early as before 1910.

He wrote on the nature of quantum mechanics and causality where he interpreted spontaneity in nature with the psychological idea that the closer we come to elements in nature or components in the individual, the less tenable is strict causal determinism and the more freedom we must grant to decisive personal elements.

"In corresponding areas of physics, the statistical law of averages takes on the same functions in determining temporal position and in prediction and reconstruction that the strict law of causality previously covered, but with the distinction that the individual case could be temporally located and predicted or reconstructed before, whereas now we deal only with the average." (1929)

He is the father of Martin S. Bergmann, professor of psychology at New York University, and the uncle of the Czech philosopher and historian Pavel Bergmann.


  • Bergmann was twice a recipient of the Israel Prize:
    • in 1954, for the humanities[3]
    • in 1974 for his special contribution to society and the State of Israel.[4]
  • He was a recipient of the Yakir Yerushalayim (Worthy Citizen of Jerusalem) award in 1967, the year of the award's inauguration.[5]
  • He is also a recipient of the Tchernichovsky Prize for exemplary translation.


Hugo Bergmann's name is used in The Postcard Killers as Dessie's date in chapters 26 and 27.


  • Hugo Bergmann: Das philosophische Werk Bernard Bolzanos, Halle s. S.: Max Niemeyer, 1909 (reprint: Hildesheim: Georg Olms, 1970).
  • Miriam Sambursky: Zionist und Philosoph. Das Habilitierungsproblem des jungen Hugo Bergmann. Bulletin des Leo Baeck Instituts 58
  • Miriam Sambursky (Hrsg.): Schmuel Hugo Bergmann: Tagebücher und Briefe. Band 1: 1901-1948.
  • Dietmar Wiechmann: Der Traum vom Frieden: das bi-nationale Konzept des Brith-Schalom zur Lösung des jüdisch-arabischen Konfliktes in der Zeit von 1925-1933, 1998, ISBN 3-87920-416-0

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "YIVO | Fanta, Berta". Retrieved 2014-02-02.
  2. ^ Spector, Scott. "Bergmann, Hugo." YIVO Encyclopedia of Jews in Eastern Europe 27 July 2010. 2 February 2014 link
  3. ^ "Israel Prize recipients in 1954 (in Hebrew)". Israel Prize Official Site. Archived from the original on February 11, 2010.
  4. ^ "Israel Prize recipients in 1974 (in Hebrew)". Israel Prize Official Site. Archived from the original on February 18, 2010.
  5. ^ "Recipients of Yakir Yerushalayim award (in Hebrew)". Archived from the original on 2011-06-17. City of Jerusalem official web site

External linksEdit