W. Michael Blumenthal is the director of the Jewish Museum Berlin. He was born on January 3, 1926, in the town of Oranienburg near Berlin. In 1939 the Blumenthals, who were Jewish, fled persecution in Nazi Germany and emigrated to Shanghai. At the time, the Chinese port city had become an important refuge since other countries of exile that were more popular had begun tightening their entry regulations. These included the United States, Great Britain and British-administered Palestine (present-day Israel).
Two years after the war ended W. Michael Blumenthal immigrated to the US, and in 1952 he became an American citizen. He worked as an economics professor, author and manager of various companies. Between 1977 and 1979 he served as Secretary of the Treasury under US President Jimmy Carter of the Democratic Party.
In 1997 Blumenthal was invited by the city of Berlin to become director of the Jewish Museum Berlin. In this capacity he has played an important role in ensuring that the museum not only focuses on Berlin Jews, but also explores German Jewish history as a whole. He has attached special importance to reaching out to young people, kindling their interest in German Jewish history and thus strengthening their ability to think without bias.