Walter Benjamin was born in Berlin in 1892 to an assimilated German-Jewish family. He was educated at the universities of Berlin, Freiburg, Munich, and Bern. As a student he became involved in radical Jewish student movements and, along with his close friend Gershom Scholem, grew increasingly interested in Jewish mysticism. (Scholem went on to become a great scholar of Jewish mysticism.) Scholem unsuccessfully tried to convince Benjamin to migrate to Palestine and take up a position at Hebrew University of Jerusalem after Scholem’s own migration there in 1923. In 1925 Benjamin submitted The Origin of German Tragic Drama as his Habilitationsschrift at the University of Frankfurt. It was rejected because of its unconventional, lyrical style and, as a result, Benjamin never held a formal academic post. He worked, instead, as an independent scholar, freelance critic, and translator.