Born in Dresden, Germany in 1926, Henry Landsberger was part of the Kindertransport that evaculated nearly 10,000 mostly Jewish children to England from German-controlled lands just prior to the start of World War II. For the next ten years, he lived in England—first in a London refugee children’s village, then in the country-side with a Welsh family with whom he kept in touch for the rest of his life, and finally back to London where he earned his undergraduate degree at the London School of Economics and Political Science in 1948.
In 1949, Henry reunited with his parents, who had escaped to Chile. But his future was to be in the United States. He met Betty Hatch, whom he married in 1951, while he was enrolled in Cornell’s Graduate School of Industrial and Labor Relations, where he received his Ph.D. and then joined its faculty.
Henry moved to the Sociology Department of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1968 as Full Professor and remained on its faculty until he retired in 1994.
A prolific writer, Henry made special contributions in the areas of industrial organization (starting with his coining the term “the Hawthorne Effect” in an early major critique of Elton Mayo’s workplace study); social movements (especially religious and labor movements in Latin America); and comparative health-care system policy (with focus on the U.S. and certain European countries).
Henry was an active member of the Southern Sociological Society, the American Sociological Society, and the Latin-American Studies Association, of which he was vice-president and then president in 1972-73. Once a president of the local AAUP, he was engaged in many civic matters outside of academia. This engagement increased in post-retirement years, as he was prominent in establishing in 2001 a new synagogue in Dresden, where his grandfather had been chief rabbi at Semper Synagogue, destroyed on Krystallnacht in 1938. This was a major event in his later life. He was also an outspoken supporter of the New Israel Fund and Americans for Peace Now as part of his enduring devotion to justice and peace both in the United States and the Middle East.
Henry passed away while visiting his son in California in early February. After a marriage of over 50 years, Betty had passed away in 2012. But he got to be with his three children, Margaret, Sam, and Ruth in the final days of his life.