People / Emeriti


Frederic Tubach

Professor Emeritus

Research Areas

Medieval literature (epics and Minnesang); religious narratives (exempla); folklore; twentieth century German culture and society; Nazism; the Holocaust



Born to German parents in San Francisco in 1930, Frederic “Fritz” Tubach grew up from the age of three in a German village on the Main River.  His mother died young, and he was raised by a grandmother and stepmother. As required of all German boys at the time, he was a member of the pre-Hitler Youth (Jungvolk) but was too young for the German army.  His father was employed by the Nazi Party (NSDAP) and during WWII served in the German Army as a counterintelligence officer. After the war, at the age of 18, Tubach reclaimed his American citizenship and returned to San Francisco in 1949.  He attended San Francisco City College and the University of California at Berkeley where he graduated Phi Beta Kappa in 1953.  He received an M.A. in 1955 and Ph.D. in German Literature in 1957.  He taught for a year at the University of Michigan and in 1958 was recalled as a professor to UC Berkeley where he wrote and published numerous scholarly articles and books throughout his 35-year career there.

Significant publications appeared in a variety of fields—in medieval culture: Struktur im Widerspruch. Studien zum Minnesang (1977); in folklore: Index Exemplorum: a handbook of medieval religious tales (1969), which is among the highly utilized reference works at the Biblothèque nationale de France and

was in part reworked by a consortium of French medievalists including Jacques Le Goff (cf. links below); in the twentieth century: Michael Mann: Fragmente eines Lebens, co-author Sally Patterson Tubach (1983), the first biography of the youngest son of Thomas Mann, which was widely reviewed in Germany and is frequently referenced in publications about the Mann family; Germany 2000 Years: From the Nazi Era to the Present Vol. II (1986, 1992), German Voices: Memories of Life during Hitler’s Third Reich (2011), and An Uncommon Friendship: From Opposite Sides of the Holocaust (2001, 2010), co-authored with his friend and Holocaust survivor, Bernat Rosner, and his wife, Sally Patterson Tubach.  This dual memoir became a commercial success and was translated into German, Italian and Dutch. Tubach and Rosner made numerous television appearances, including CBS’s The Early Show, and, together with Sally Patterson Tubach, spoke at more than 100 venues throughout the United States and Germany. One of those speaking engagements was featured on Book TV on C-SPAN2, and the book was awarded the Bruno Brand Tolerance Book Award from the Simon Wiesenthal Center in 2002. The authors also became laureates of the Friends & Foundation of the San Francisco Public Library in 2003 for An Uncommon Friendship.

During the turbulent 1960s, Tubach, as chair of the Student-Faculty Committee, became involved in key issues of university governance. He was particularly engaged in minority issues, which eventually led to the creation of the Department of Ethnic Studies.

Tubach also served on the Committee on Student Affairs, Educational Policy Committee, Fulbright Committee, Regents’ Scholarship Committee, and held the chair of the state-wide Faculty Committee on the Education Abroad Program. Tubach directed the UC Education Abroad Programs in Göttingen (1970-72) and Bordeaux (1993-95).  He spent three research sabbaticals in Paris and taught for a semester at the L’Institut d’Allemand, Université de Rouen Normandie (1987).  He received an honorary doctorate from the University of Bordeaux in 2002.  He received two Alexander von Humboldt fellowships.

Tubach supervised twenty doctoral dissertations in German Literature and Comparative Literature. He retired in 1994 and from 2003 to 2018 lectured for European river cruises and land tours for Cal Discoveries. Over the years he has had productive friendships and associations with Michael Mann, Frido Mann, Christa Wolf, Martin Walser, the Thomas Mann House, and Villa Aurora in Pacific Palisades. He has collaborated with his wife, Sally Patterson Tubach, on several projects.

University of California – Berkeley German Department member.



Index Exemplorum: A Handbook of Medieval Religious Tales (Helsinki: FF Communications, 1969; 2nd Edition, 1981), 550 pp.; 2nd ed. 530 pp.


Struktur im Widerspruch. Studien zum Minnesang (Tübingen: Niemeyer, 1977), 150 pp.


Michael Mann.  Fragmente eines Lebens. Lebensbericht und Auswahl seiner Schriften. Co-author Sally Patterson Tubach. (Munich: Edition Spangenberg im Ellermann Verlag, 1983), 244 pp.


Germany: 2000 Years: From the Nazi Era to the Present Vol. III.  Co-author Gerhart Hoffmeister (New York, Ungar, 1986, expanded edition, 1992), 279 pp.


An Uncommon Friendship: From Opposite Sides of the Holocaust (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2001; 2nd expanded ed., 2010); co-author Bernat Rosner with Sally Patterson Tubach, 271 pp., 2nd ed. 309 pp.


German translation: Eine ungewöhnliche Freundschaft.Zwei Leben im Schatten des Holocaust (Verlag C.H. Beck, München, 2002) mit Bernat Rosner in Zusammenarbeit mit Sally Patterson Tubach; Übersetz von Sylvia Höfer, 310 pp.


Italian translation: Amici nonostante la storia: Dalle due sponde dell’Olocausto(Milano: Feltrinelli Editore, 2003), co-author Bernat Rosner with Sally Patterson Tubach, trans. Roberta Scafi, pp. 182.


Dutch translation: Vrienden ondanks de Holocaust (Uitgeverij KOK, Kampen, Netherlands, 2004), co-author Bernat Rosner with Sally Patterson Tubach, trans. G.D.J. Blok, pp. 319.


German Voices: Memories of Life During Hitler’s Third Reich (University of California Press, 2011; co-author Sally Patterson Tubach), 273 pp.

Selected Articles

“The ‘Locus Amoenus’ in the ‘Tristan’ of Gottfried von Straszburg,” Neophilologus, Vol. 43 (1959) pp. 37-41.


                   “Wechselform und Tageliedsituation im Tageliedwechsel Heinrichs von Morungen,” Zeitschrift fur deutsche Philologie, vol. 79, 3 (June 1960), pp. 309-315.


                   “Perfectibilité: der zweite Diskurs von Jean Jacques Rousseau und die deutsche Aufklärung,” Etudes Germaniques, vol. 15,2 (April-June 1960), pp. 144-151.


                   “The Image of the Hand in Rilke’s Poetry,” PMLA, LXXVI, 3 (June 1961), pp. 240-246.


                   “Der keusche Joseph.  Ein mitteldeutsches Gedicht aus dem 13.-14. Jh.,” Zeitschrift für deutsche Philologie, LXXXI,1 (1962), pp. 30-52.


                   “Exempla in the Decline,” Traditio, XVIII (1962), pp. 407-417.


                   “Die Naturnachahmungstheorie: Batteux und die Berliner Rationalisten,” Germanisch-Romanische Monatsschrift, XLIV (July, 1963), pp. 262-280.


                   “Zum Problem der inneren Struktur im Minnesang,” Etudes Germaniques(April-June, 1963), Vol. 18, pp. 155-166.


                   “A Girl’s Vision of Heaven and Hell,” IV International Congress for Folk-Narrative Research (Athens, 1965), pp. 576-580.


                   “Strukturanalytische Probleme – Das mittelalterliche Exemplum,” Hessische Blätter für Volkskunde, Vol. 59, (1968), pp. 25-31.


                   “In sô hôe swebender wunne” (MF 125,19) by Heinrich von Morungen.  An Essay on Medieval Symbolic Structures,” Deutsche Vierteljahrschrift fur Literaturwissenschaft und Geistesgeschichte, Vol. 43, (1969), pp. 193-203.


“Propp’s Morphology and the Medieval Exemplum: Comments on Narrative Structure,” V. International Congress of Folk-Narrative Research (Bucharest, 1969).


“The Formation of the Miraculous as Narrative and Cultural Pattern: Remarks on the Religious Imagination of Gregory’s Dialogues,” Deutsche Vierteljahrsschrift 54 (1980), Heft 1-13.


“Feudal Ritual and Personal Interplay: Observations on the Variety of Expressive Modes in Minnesang,” in Proceedings of the International Conference (1981) at the UCLA Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies “From Symbol to Mimesis: The Generation of Walther von der Vogelweide, (Göppingen, Kümmerle Verlag, 1984), pp. 190-207.


“On Classifications and Morphologies.”  Proceedings of the Ninth Congress of International Folk Narrative Research (Budapest, June 10-17, 1989).


“On Classifications and Morphologies,” in: Artes Populares 16-17: Folk Narrative and Cultural Identity.  9th Congress of the International Society for Folk-Narrative Research, Vol. 2 (Budapest, 1995), pp. 790-796.


Radio Plays

Trümmerspiele.  Fragmente einer Kindheit.  Erinnerungen deutscher Amerika-Auswanderer.  Hörspiel von Frederic C. Tubach und Florian Steinbiss, Westdeutscher Rundfunk (WDR III, June 4, 1985). Re-broadcasts by Radio Bremen and Deutschlandwelle.


Reise bis ans Ende der Welt.  Der Mittelpunkt Außerhalb.  Hörspiel von Frederic C. Tubach und Florian Steinbiß, Westdeutscher Rundfunk (WDR III, 13. Juni 1989).


“Betrachtungen zum Hörspiel ‘Reise bis ans Ende der Welt.  Der Mittelpunkt Außerhalb’” (WDR III, 13. Juni 1989).

Selected Professional Activities

Member, Advisory Panel for “Sound Play: Germany/USA” by Voices International; together with Peter Demetz and Volkmar Sander; supported by a grant from NEH, Public Radio Organization, New York, l989. 


Participant, “Sound Design: Creative Use of Sound in Media,” Lucasfilm, Ltd. Skywalker Ranch, Nicasio, California, September 1989. 


Speaker, “Interpretationsmodell 1947: Fragen zur Alltagsmentalität und Kommunikationsgeschichte” (section 51, “Discourse of Restauration”).  German Area Studies Conference, Milwaukee, October 5-8, l989.


Guest lecture, “The Empire or Regional Cosmopolitanism: Hohenstaufen Culture Revisited: the problem of constructing tradition in a unified Germany,” University of Northern Arizona October 25, 1991.


2001-2006: Over 100 public appearances/readings/presentations in connection with An Uncommon Friendship: From Opposite Sides of the Holocaust (Berkeley: University of California Press); 45 radio interviews; 7 television interviews, selections included in list below:


Guest speaker with Bernat Rosner on An Uncommon Friendship at Jewish Community Centers and Book Fairs:

          Los Angeles, June 14, 2001;

         Indianapolis, November 1, 2001;

         St. Louis, November 4, 2001;

         Kansas City, November 11, 2001;

         Santa Barbara, CA, February 19, 2002.


Guest speaker with Bernat Rosner on An Uncommon Friendship:

         Commonwealth Club of San Francisco, May 9, 2001;

         Pacific Union Club, San Francisco, October 4, 2001;

         Bohemian Club, San Francisco, March 5, 2002;

         Simon Wiesenthal Center, Los Angeles, June 27, 2002;

         Vanderbilt University, Nashville, November 10, 2005;

         World Affairs Council of Jacksonville.  Jacksonville Beach,

                  FL, Sept. 20, 2011.


Guest speaker, “Zur US Holocaust-Debatte Heute,” annual conference of the Wirtschaftsgilde e.V., Seiser Alm, Italy, March 2002.


Keynote Address with Bernat Rosner, “An Uncommon Friendship,” Legal Aid Society of San Francisco, June 18, 2002.


Fifteen-city book tour of Germany for German translation of An Uncommon Friendship (Eine ungewöhnliche Freundschaft. Zwei Leben im Schatten des Holocaust) fall, 2002.


Interviewee on “Boulevard Bio,” TV talk show, Alfred Biolek, Cologne, October, 2002.


Holocaust Conference Presentations with Bernat Rosner, sponsored by the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in various cities and universities including:       UC Berkeley, March 27-29 2003;

         Washington DC at the USHMM, March 20, 2004 and May 2, 2005;

         Stanford University, March 26, 2004;

         De Paul University, Lincoln Park campus, Chicago, sponsored by Chicago                      Forum and the USHMM, in cooperation with the School for New                    Learning, October 30, 2004;

         University of Texas at Dallas, in cooperation with the Dallas Holocaust                          Memorial Center, January 14, 2005 and January 28, 2006;

         University of Miami, Florida, March 17, 2007;

         Chapman University, Orange, California, March 31, 2007.


Guest speaker, “Schweigen und Identitätsstiftung: Über die Deutschen mit ihrer Vergangenheit,” summer conference of the Wirtschaftsgilde e.V., Oberstdorf, Germany, 2003.


Guest speaker, “Portrait einer Generation im Dritten Reich: Studien zur Alltagsgeschichte,” winter conference of the Wirtschaftsgilde e.V., Seiser Alm, Italy, March 2005.


2005-06: contributor/consultant to the exhibit, “Die Kinder der Manns,” Munich (


Interviewee for Bayerischer Rundfunk radio broadcast, “Schuld und Segen: Das zerrissene Leben des Michael Thomas Mann,” interviewed by Uwe Naumann. January 19, 2006.


Der Hörverlag, Bayerischer Rundfunk, (2015)


Guest speaker with Bernat Rosner, “Living with Genocide: Past, Present, Future,” Sonoma State University 2006 Holocaust Lecture Series. March 28, 2006.

Guest speaker with Bernat Rosner, “Lost and Found: Living in a Post-Holocaust World.” Sonoma State University 25th Anniversary Lecture Series. April 1, 2008. 

Frazee Lecture, “Legacies of War: Story as Bridge, Liberation and Transformation,” Linfield College, McMinnville, Oregon, March 12, 2013.


“Goethe’s Homecoming: Thomas Mann’s complete works of Goethe donated to the Thomas Mann House” by Frederic C. Tubach.  Thomas Mann House, Pacific Palisades, October 8, 2019.

Selected References/Links


Kurkze, Hermann. “Weder Bohemien noch Grandseigneur. Fragmente aus dem Leben Michael Manns,” Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Nr. 236, 11. Oktober, 1983, S. L8.

Horn, Effi. “Michael Manns Leben und Schriften jetzt als Buch.  Neues aus dem Mann-Clan.” Münchner Merkur, Nr. 226, Oktober, 1983, S. 9.


del Buono, Oreste. “Fragmente eines Lebens,” aus La Stampa, Torino, Tuttolibri, Anno IX, n. 377, 15.10.1983.


Tschechne, Wolfgang. “Und wieder die Manns.” Lübecker Nachrichten, 16.10.1983.


Proskauer, Paul F. “Thomas Manns jüngster Sohn,” Aufbau, Vol XLIX, No. 51/52, December 23, 1983, p. 11.


von Schirnding, Albert. “Schicksal eines Sohnes. Aus dem Leben Michael Manns.” Süddeutsche Zeitung, 27.12.83.


Drewitz, Ingeborg. “Last des Vaters. Im Schatten literarischen Ruhms—Die Schriften Michael Manns.” Fränkische Landeszeitung, Ansbach, 3. Februar, 1984, S. 25.


Schumann, Thomas B. “’Fragmente eines Lebens,’ von Michael Mann.” Die Zeit, 9.3.84.


Schumann, Thomas B. “Der Vater wollte ihn nicht. Leben und Schriften von Thomas Manns jüngstem Sohn Michael.” Nürnberger Zeitung, 21.7.84.


Schumann, Thomas B. “’Abneigung gegen unsern Jüngsten.’ Thomas Manns Sohn Michael und seine ‘Fragmente eines Lebens.’” Der Tagesspiegel, Nr. 11 707, S. 61.


Jonas, Klaus W. “Michael Mann ‘Fragmente eines Lebens. Lebensbericht und Auswahl seiner Schriften’” German Quarterly, Winter 1986, Vol. 59, No. 1, pp. 163-165.