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Ernst Borinski

Birthplace: Kattowitz, Silesia, Germany
Death: May 26, 1983 (81)
Hinds County, Mississippi, United States
Immediate Family:

Son of Max Borinski and Gertrud Borinski
Brother of Herbert Borinski and Ilse Wolf

Managed by: Simon Goodman
Last Updated:
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Immediate Family

About Ernst Borinski

Born in 1901 to a relatively prosperous secular Jewish family in Upper Silesia along the German- Polish border, he received a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Halle Muenchen in 1924 and studied law in Halle, Saale, Hamburg, and Berlin, Germany from 1925 to 1928. He received the Doctor of Philosophy degree from the University of Berlin in 1928 and an International Law degree from the Academy of International Law at the Hague, Netherlands, in 1930. He then taught legal rights to workers at the Zeiss Optical Works, served as a judge in the General Court of Kelbra, and practiced law in Erfurt, Germany, with a Jewish fraternity brother from 1929 to 1932. Forecasting the development of Nazi Germany, he escaped to America in 1938 and served overseas in the United States Army during World War II as a translator. Starting a new life in America after the war, Borinski received a Master of Arts degree in education in 1946 from the University of Chicago. It was during his Chicago study that he became familiar 6 |

Tougaloo College - Borinski Endowed Chair Proposal Draft.  

with the American Missionary Association schools, such as Tougaloo College. Through those contacts, he learned about and accepted a position as a sociology professor at Tougaloo in 1947, where he played a pivotal role in reshaping a fledgling sociology program. Tougaloo had offered its first sociology course as early as 1899-1900. Until Borinski’s arrival, however, the sociology program lacked clear focus and direction. With his leadership and commitment, it developed into a strong academic department within the new Division of Social Sciences. During his tenure at Tougaloo, he received a Doctor of Philosophy degree in sociology from the University of Pittsburgh in 1954. Despite the demands of his teaching responsibilities, he found time to publish articles, including articles on civil rights law and segregation derived from his dissertation research. As a German Jewish émigré, Borinski understood the power of ideas and their potential to liberate a people. He came to Tougaloo with a message that freedom is not just an issue of laws but also a state of mind. Borinski’s classroom discussions on sociological issues forced students to debate ideas. As a Tougaloo faculty member, he felt his mission was to find and develop students capable of thinking critically about the world in which they lived. According to sociologist Maria Lowe, his teaching philosophy emphasized the symbiotic relationship between academic work, activism, and civic responsibility.

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Ernst Borinski's Timeline

November 26, 1901
Kattowitz, Silesia, Germany
May 26, 1983
Age 81
Hinds County, Mississippi, United States