Waldemar Gurian (1902–1954) was born into a Jewish family in Russia. From an early date, he grew into German Catholicism and took a leading position in its intellectual debates during the Weimar
Republic. After his emigration to Switzerland he found a position in the United States, where, as a college professor and founder of the Review of Politics, he soon acquired an outstanding reputation.
Gurian’s life’s work, which reveals a great diversity of interests and theoretical standpoints, was guided by a central question, that of the church’s position in modern society. He was
one of the first to take a critical scholarly and journalistic stand against the anti-parliamentarian forces of his time, from the Action Francaise and the authoritarian state of Chancellor von Papen, to
totalitarian Bolshevism and National Socialism. His many respected publications were not only helpful for his contemporaries’ political orientation, they were equally decisive in determining the
Catholic Church’s place in the world of the political.
The German Letters (Deutsche Briefe) which Gurian co-authored and published with Otto Knab, represent the high point of Gurian’s effectiveness as a journalist. From his
position as an exile in Switzerland, Gurian astutely analyzed the National Socialist dictatorship in Germany, which he fought against uncompromisingly.