Erna Magnus was born in Hamburg in 1896, received her Ph.D. from Heidelberg University and worked in social work in Berlin. From 1928-1933 she was a faculty member of the School of Social Work of the Arbeiter Wohlfahrt in Berlin and its chief instructor.
From 1933-1938 Erna Magnus conducted social work and research with the Jewish community of Hamburg. At that time she undertook a study of the contribution of the Jews of Hamburg to the cultural, economic and social life of their city. This study was undertaken at the suggestion and with the support of Fritz Warburg.
Erna Magnus came to the United States in 1938 where she conducted research on the work history of household workers for the Social Security Administration. She was also a professor of social welfare and research at the Graduate School of Social Work of Howard University in Washington, D.C. from 1947 to 1966.
She wrote The Social, Economic and Legal Conditions of Domestic Servants (1934) and Zur Ausbildung der Deutschen Sozialarbeiter (1953).
Biographical information sourced from the Leo Baeck Institute,
Center for Jewish History, accessed 2017 March 1.