He was born in Heilbronn, Germany, to the Heilbronner family of soap makers. He emigrated to the United States in 1929, dropping “Heil” from his name. As his father was Jewish, he pleaded with his parents to emigrate with him for fear of the then-ascendant Nazis, but they refused. His last contact with his parents was in the form of a postcard saying, “You were right. —Your loving father.”
Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soapbox goes a bit into the messages printed on the labels and how the business continues today after the death of its founder.