The Third Reich in the Ivory Tower: Complicity and Conflict

"Science," the Greek word for knowledge, when appended to the word "political," creates what seems like an oxymoron. For who could claim to know politics? More complicated than any game, most people who play it become addicts and die without understanding what they were addicted to. The rest of us suffer under their malpractice as our "leaders." A truer case of the blind leading the blind could not be found. Plumb the depths of confusion here.

Re: The Third Reich in the Ivory Tower: Complicity and Confl

Postby admin » Tue Jul 31, 2018 8:21 am

Part 1 of 2

5. A Respectful Hearing for Nazi Germany's Apologists: The University of Virginia Institute of Public Affairs Roundtables, 1933-1941

American academia's most prestigious national and international affairs symposium, the University of Virginia Institute of Public Affairs roundtables, held each summer beginning in 1927, contributed to the Hitler regime's efforts to present Germany as a state with legitimate grievances and reasonable objectives. The Institute of Public Affairs often invited scholars and diplomats who rationalized or defended Nazi Germany's foreign and domestic policies to join its roundtables. On some occasions, avowed Nazis either chaired the roundtable or delivered one of the principal addresses.

The Institute of Public Affairs provided a major platform to scholars, polemicists, and German diplomats who advanced the revisionist argument on the origins of the World War, which denied that Germany was primarily responsible for starting it. Revisionist writings and conference presentations caused many Americans to view Germany more sympathetically. Professor Sidney Fay, who held a joint appointment at Harvard University and Radcliffe College, arguably the most influential of the revisionists, asserted in April 1933 that Hitler's "national revolution" was "Germany's answer" to the unfair conditions the victorious Allies had imposed on it at Versailles. [1]

The Influence of the Revisionist Argument on the Origins of the World War on Americans' Response to Nazism

The revisionist historians of the origins of the World War convinced many Americans that either the Allies themselves were primarily to blame for starting the conflict, or that all belligerents were equally to blame. Revisionist arguments appealed to much of the American public as they became increasingly isolationist during the 1920s and resentful of their nation's allies for failing to repay wartime loans. The United States had refused to ratify the Versailles Treaty and would not join its wartime allies in the League of Nations. [2] Many Americans during the interwar period, convinced by revisionist historians that vindictive Allies had imposed unnecessarily harsh conditions and reparations at Versailles on a Germany no more guilty of initiating hostilities than they were, sympathized with Hitler's determination to restore Germany's military strength and lost territories. They credited Hitler with restoring confidence and honor to a prostrated and seemingly unfairly stigmatized nation. By repeatedly disparaging Allied wartime propaganda about German military abuse of civilians, the revisionist scholars, and those who popularized their arguments in the mass media, convinced many Americans that reports of Nazi persecution of Jews were greatly exaggerated or even false.

The pioneering revisionist historians were Sidney Bradshaw Fay and the more strident Harry Elmer Barnes, both of whom were professors at Smith College during the 1920s. In 1929, Fay became the first professor to hold a joint appointment at Harvard and Radcliffe, and he taught there until 1946. Barnes left Smith in 1930 to become an editorial writer with the Scripps-Howard newspaper chain. During 1920 and 1921, Fay published three articles in the prestigious American Historical Review arguing that Germany had not intended to go to war and had made concerted attempts to avoid doing so. Fay's two-volume study The Origins of the World War, published in 1928, asserted that all the belligerents shared responsibility for the war's outbreak and called for revision of the Versailles Treaty, which had blamed Germany and her allies. The Origins of the World War was the most influential scholarly work on the subject in the United States for several decades after its publication.

Harry Elmer Barnes, whom Professor Harold U. Faulkner of the Smith College History Department in 1935 called "the best-known man who has ever been on the Smith faculty," in his book The Genesis of the World War (1926) assigned most of the blame for causing the war to the Entente, identifying France a nd Russia as the "leading precipitators." 3 Barnes's campus presentations received passionate backing from students. In 1926 he delivered a speech to the Harvard Debating Union, arguing the affirmative on "Resolved, that this house favors the revision of the Versailles Treaty in respect to the war guilt of the Central Powers." The Harvard Crimson reported that Barnes "swept [the audience] off [its] feet," presenting "an unanswerable case." He asserted that France, determined to regain Alsace-Lorraine from Germany, and Russia, intent on seizing the Bosporus from Turkey, had together formulated plans "for a sweeping continental war." The Harvard students found Barnes so convincing that there was substantial support for a motion to not even hold a vote. In the end, eighty-one members of the audience voted in favor of Barnes's position, with only twenty-five opposed and twenty-nine not voting. [4]

Although critical of Nazism, Sidney Fay argued that protests against the Nazi regime were counterproductive. He also minimized the support for Nazism among the German people. In April 1933, Fay told the Harvard Crimson that what was happening in Nazi Germany was "really none of any other country's business." He pontificated that "[p]rotest meetings such as have been held in this country and in England ... merely add fuel to the fire." [5] In January 1935, Fay told an audience at Vassar College shortly after the population of the Saar in a plebiscite voted overwhelmingly to rejoin Germany that the outcome was "a great aid in the cause of peace." He still found 20 percent of Hitler's accomplishments to be "good." [6] Speaking at a mass rally at Radcliffe after the horrifying Kristallnacht pogroms of November 9-10, 1938, Fay declared that protests against the Nazi atrocities "would do no practical good." [7]

During May 1940, as the invading Wehrmacht pushed British troops toward the English Channel and drove into France, Sidney Fay sent an article on "The German Character" to Lester Markel, Sunday editor of the New York Times, for consideration for publication; the article revealed that his basic assumptions about Germany remained largely unchanged. Germany had already just conquered Denmark, Norway, the Netherlands, Belgium, and Luxembourg. Fay's major argument in the article was that the majority of Germans were not enthusiastic about the Nazis' domestic or foreign programs. He offered a rationale for much of what they did support. Fay mentioned that only 5 percent of Germans belonged to the Nazi party, and that there were many "terrorized opponents" of Hitler who did not dare speak out. Fay conceded that the vast majority of Germans had backed Hitler's early effort to "decreas[e] the influence of the Jews in Germany," calling the policies he imposed in April 1933 "relatively moderate." These included the I percent quota on Jewish university admissions and expulsions of Jews from professions such as law, medicine, and university teaching. But Fay claimed that he doubted whether even 30 percent of Germans approved of the Kristallnacht pogroms. Protestant and Catholic churches were thronged, "but not by Nazis and Nazi supporters." This suggested that Germany's vast churchgoing population was not in sympathy with the regime. [8]

Fay argued that a significant proportion of Germans turned against Hitler's foreign policy after the Munich crisis of September 1938. He asserted that the majority of Germans had up until then supported Hitler's "successful efforts to get rid of the 'shackles' of the Versailles 'Diktat.'" But Fay claimed that the German "masses" reacted "with revulsion" when they realized how close Hitler had brought them to war over the Sudetenland.

The German people's "doubts as to [Hitler's] wisdom" increased after Germany subjugated the rest of Czechoslovakia in early 1939, signed a nonaggression pact with Stalin later that year, and went to war with Britain and France in the spring of 1940. Fay conceded that the German people almost unanimously supported Hitler "in his determination to break British sea-power," but he ascribed this to their memory of the suffering Britain had inflicted on them by blockading German ports from "1914 to 1920," and to the Allies' "failure to live up to the promises in the Fourteen Points," Even so, Fay claimed that millions of Germans, living on rationed food in May 1940, were still "questioning in their hearts" whether they should support the invasion of France. The great majority of Germans might well turn against the Hitler regime should the Wehrmacht experience "two or three major reverses." Fay concluded by insisting that it was important for Germany to remain a strong nation. It was imperative that any peace settlement "receive her on equal terms into a new concert of Europe." [9]

Lester Markel rejected Fay's article for the New York Times because it seemed "almost in the nature of a defense of the Germans." Markel commented that Fay had failed to address key aspects of the German character and mind, including Germany's militarist tradition and antisemitism. He also sharply criticized as misleading Fay's emphasis on the small percentage of Germans belonging to the Nazi party. Markel was convinced that a large portion of Germany's population was Nazified and noted that the German population appeared united behind Hitler's spring offensive. [10]

Fay conceded to Markel on June 6, 1940, that "under present circumstances," with British and French forces in a desperate rearguard battle against the Wehrmacht, "people would think the article pro-German." But he told Markel that did not worry him. After' all, people had considered his Origins of the World War "very pro-German" when it was published, but "scholars and many laymen" now rated it "the best book on the subject." [11]

Another of the prominent revisionist historians of the origins of the World War, Charles C. Tansill, professor of American history at American University in Washington, D.C., from 1918 until 1937, and then at Fordham (1939-44) and Georgetown (1944-58), became an outspoken defender of Nazi Germany during the 1930s. Tansill, who received Ph.D. degrees from both Catholic University and Johns Hopkins University, regularly presented papers in diplomatic history at the American Historical Association conventions. The u.s. Senate Foreign Relations committee selected Tansill in 1925 to prepare the Senate's official report on responsibility for the World War. In 1931, Johns Hopkins invited Tansill to deliver the prestigious Albert Shaw lectures in American diplomacy, and during the 1934-35 academic year he served as acting dean of American University's Graduate School. In 1938, Tansill published a major revisionist book, America Goes to War, in which he argued that prominent American officials, most notably Secretary of State Robert Lansing and White House advisors Colonel Edward House and Joseph Tumulty, had drawn the United States into the war because they placed British interests a bove American interests. [12]

Professor Tansill publicly proclaimed his support for the Hitler regime during the summer and fall of 1936 on a visit to Nazi Germany sponsored by the Carl Schurz Society of Berlin, which promoted friendship between the United States and the Third Reich. In September, Tansill was one of fourteen American "honor guests" who participated in the  Nazi party's Congress at Nuremberg, an event that U.S. ambassador to Germany William E. Dodd each year refused to attend. On the eve of the Nuremberg Congress, Tansill wrote to Ernest Griffith, who had succeeded him as dean of American University's Graduate School, that the  Nazi party rally "should be a great demonstration in honor of Hitler whom I regard as one of the great leaders in German history." Tansill looked forward to meeting Hitler, along with the other "outstanding men of the party." He told Griffith that the Fuehrer "has given a new outlook to the German youth, one of optimism and hope." Tansill also noted how "deeply impressed" he was "with the efficient manner in which everything [in Germany] is conducted." He commented that the German people were "well-fed and well-clothed." [13]

Ambassador Dodd expressed disgust about the 1936 Nuremberg Nazi party Congress and Professor Tansill's participation in it. Dodd would not listen to Nazi leaders make "violent speeches" attacking democratic nations. He noted that Hitler had gone "so far as to call all democracies 'anarchies.''' [14] Dodd told nationally prominent historian Howard K. Beale of the University of North Carolina that when "[t]hat Tansill man" had visited Germany the previous August and September, he did not see him. He had learned that Tansill at Nuremberg had taken "an almost worshipful view toward the Fuehrer." Dodd commented that "a propagandist is not a good professor." [15]

In September 1936, while in Berlin, Tansill was asked by the Nazi government to broadcast to the United States over shortwave radio his impressions of the Third Reich. Tansill told Dean Griffith that he considered the invitation "a distinct honor," one he knew Griffith would appreciate. In Tansill's address, "The New Germany," broadcast on September 20,1936, he enthusiastically praised Hitler's accomplishments and denounced the American press for its critical stance toward Nazi Germany. Tansill proclaimed that Hitler was "the one man who has inspired the spirit of the people." Under the Fuehrer, Germany was "emerging rapidly from the dark cloud that followed Versailles" and was making "significant advance." [16]

After listening to the broadcast in Washington, D.C., with Tansill's family, Dean Ernest Griffith wrote Tansill a letter of congratulations. He declared that it had been a "pleasure" to hear his address on "The New Germany" and praised "its clarity and vigor." [17]

After his return to the United States, Tansil! continued to effusively praise the Third Reich. In an address before the Presbyterian Ministers Association in Washington, D.C., in November 1936, Tansill proclaimed that under Hitler Germany was "emerging from the shadow of defeatism and despair into the sunlight of prestige and power." Hitler had restored to Germany not only law and order but also the self-respect that the Versailles Treaty had "completely shattered." He claimed that, in the Third Reich, there were "no breadlines (and] no slums." Tansill declared that Nazi Germany constituted the "strongest bulwark in Europe against ... Communism." He insisted that Germany had no interest in developing military supremacy in Europe. Germany's military buildup was "a kind of peace insurance" for all of Europe, because it would prevent other countries from starting a war. [18] That same month, Tansill denounced the U.S. ambassador to Germany, William E. Dodd, for holding what he called a "completely unsympathetic attitude" toward the  Nazi government. [19]

When American University Chancellor Joseph M. M. Gray dismissed Tansill from the faculty in 1937, he denied press speculation that he had done so because of Tansill's public support for Nazi Germany. Chancellor Gray, of course, after a trip to Germany in 1936, had also highly praised the Third Reich in the press. When Fordham University wrote expressing interest in hiring Tansill, Chancellor Gray described him as "a sound scholar and a brilliant teacher" who deserved a university faculty position. He explained that he had discharged Tansill only because he had become overly concerned with "maintaining his popularity" with students. As a result, Tansill had become "indiscriminate in awarding high grades." [20] Professor Howard K. Beale confirmed to Ambassador Dodd that Tansill's pro-Nazi speeches had not been the cause of his dismissal. Beale explained that Tansill had been "let out for several reasons of personal conduct, one of which was refusal to make any efforts to pay a considerable amount of debts owed to other members of the faculty from whom Mrs. Tansill had borrowed money." [21]

The University of Virginia Institute of Public Affairs Roundtables, 1933-1941: Helping Germany Make Its Case

The University of Virginia Institute of Public Affairs, from 1933 until U.S. intervention in World War II in 1941, provided a major platform and an aura of academic legitimacy for Nazi Germany's supporters and for the propagation of antisemitism. The university established the Institute of Public Affairs in 1927 to answer "sundry charges that the South is backward and provincial." Every year in July the Institute sponsored several days of roundtable conferences on selected topics in national and international affairs. Each roundtable was composed of academics, diplomats, politicians, or other authorities on the subject under consideration, whom the Institute invited to present papers and to participate in discussion. Dr. Charles Gilmore Maphis, dean of the University of Virginia Summer School, was the Institute's director from 1927 until his death in May 1938. The Institute's initial Board of Advisors included four university presidents: Nicholas Murray Butler of Columbia; Harry Woodburn Chase, then of the University of North Carolina; Glenn Frank of the University of Wisconsin; and A. A. Murphree of the University of Florida. [22] Many of the roundtables received national and foreign press coverage.

The Institute's approach was to present "both sides of questions" at conferences, and it gave German Nazis and their American sympathizers considerable opportunity to propagandize for the Third Reich. [23] To secure these speakers, the University of Virginia administration worked closely with Nazi Germany's embassy in Washington, D.C., and with the Carl Schurz Foundation, an organization devoted to promoting friendly relations between the United States and Germany. [24] Institute Director Charles G. Maphis and other University of Virginia administrators accorded great respect to the Nazi spokespersons, some of whom the U.S. government later arrested as seditionists, as unregistered German agents, or for disseminating Nazi propaganda.

Papers by American academic apologists for Hitler at conferences devoted to Nazi Germany in 1934 and 1935 received prominent coverage in the press. Professor Francis W. Coker of the Yale University Political Science Department, chairman of the Institute roundtable on "Dictatorship and Democracy," held July 3-7, 1934, implied that the  Nazi position had not received a proper hearing because representatives of the Hitler regime feared that if they accepted his invitation to speak, U.S. representative Samuel Dickstein's committee investigating subversive activities would charge them with disseminating Nazi propaganda. [25] Nonetheless, two of the principal papers were presented by Americans who sympathized with Nazi Germany: Karl F. Geiser, professor of political science at Oberlin College, and W. W. Cumberland of New York. More than 200 Institute members and guests, a particularly large audience for a roundtable, gathered for the first morning's session to hear their addresses.

In his paper, "The German Nazi State," Professor Geiser portrayed Hitler as Germany's savior, "a Siegfried slaying the dragon of communism." Drawing on the more polemical revisionist writings on the World War, Geiser strongly condemned the Allied wartime blockade of German ports, which he claimed had caused 750,000 to 900,000 Germans to starve to death, and what he called unreasonably harsh peace terms. Geiser charged that the Western democracies drew up the Treaty of Versailles in a "mental frame of madness." They forced on Germany "the harshest treaty ever imposed upon a people in modern times." It consigned Germany to "perpetual economic slavery" and impoverished her. [26]

Geiser declared that as a political scientist he admired how Hitler had ended the chaos of Weimar democracy "with its 32 parties," uniting Germans "into one party, for the first time in a thousand years," an achievement impossible without massive popular support. Geiser declared that Germany's "years in bondage" had only strengthened her "discipline and organizing powers," which he hoped would "give her the final victory over the forces of injustice." The New York Times reported that the audience applauded Geiser's address. [27]

Delighted with his reception at the University of Virginia, Geiser left immediately after his presentation for Nazi Germany, where he spent the rest of the summer. That fall, he wrote to Institute Director Charles Maphis that he "was charmed ... by the courtesy of your Southern hospitality."  [28]

W. W. Cumberland, who followed Geiser, feared that Nazi Germany, in building up her ground and air forces, was preparing for war, but he found many similarities between her economic programs and those of President Roosevelt. He declared, " Nazi Germany is a counterpart of the United States under the New Deal." [29]

Another member of the roundtable, Dr. Beniamino de Ritis of New York, special correspondent for the Corriere delta Sera of Milan, described Italy's Fascist regime "in glowing terms," according to the New York Times. Mussolini had rescued a nation "on the verge of bolshevism and bankruptcy." For the first time in centuries, a long-divided nation fixated only on vanished ancient glory could look to the future. Mussolini's genius was to create in Italy a new form of state, conceived of "not as an aggregate of groups and individuals" but as "a spiritual entity," in which the individual is "subordinated to society." [30]

During the evening session, Harry Elmer Barnes, then an editor with the Scripps-Howard newspaper chain, presented his revisionist interpretation of the origins of the World War, absolving Germany of "unique blame" for the conflict. Barnes accused the Allies of deceiving the United States in order to draw it into the war, and with having "exacted by fraud vast sums from Germany" in reparations after the Armistice.

Barnes argued at the symposium that democracy had become outmoded as a form of government, making Nazi authoritarianism appear more legitimate. In his view, democracy assumed a "real intellectual equality of men" and an electorate that "carefully scrutinize[d] candidates and platforms." It was designed for a "simple and unchanging rural society" whose political problems were "few and elementary." Yet Barnes claimed that modern psychological research proved that most men were unqualified either to vote or to hold office. The population did not share an approximate mental equality. In fact, "a clear majority range[d] from stupidity (dull normals) to imbecility." Barnes concluded that science and the record of American politics over the previous century had "blown sky-high" the "whole body of assumptions upon which the old democracy rested." What was necessary was a weighted suffrage. Intelligence tests administered to the entire population would allow the government to accord greater voting power to a more intelligent citizen than to one determined to be less intelligent. The government should also require that candidates for political office possess a certain level of "scientific and professional training." [31]

The next year's Institute conference on "American-German Relations" was highlighted by the roundtable chair's dismissal of Nazi oppression of Jews as insignificant; a blatantly antisemitic address by one of the principal speakers, Professor Frederick K. Krueger of Wittenberg College; and defenses of the Nazi government by several other participants. Roundtable chairman Friedrich Auhagen of Columbia University's Seth Low College began the conference by vigorously defending the Third Reich, and he continued to do so at each session. He claimed that Germany could "no longer afford democracy." When roundtable member Dr. Morris Lazaron, a reform rabbi from Baltimore, asked why Auhagen had "so lightly dismissed ... the religious question in Germany," meaning persecution of Jews, Professor Auhagen replied that "the religious problem" in the Third Reich was not really any different than in any other country. [32]

In a later session, Auhagen announced that the Germans wanted order, which could only be brought about by inflicting suffering on "some" people. Fellow panelist Dr. H. F. Simon of Northwestern University agreed, declaring that "one can not have change without suffering," and that restoring unity to Germany was a worthy goal. [33] Addressing Rabbi Lazaron, who had criticized the Hitler regime, Dr. Simon asked, "Can Dr. Lazaron ... understand what the German people have gone through since 1914? .. Hitler is an expression of the proudness of Germany which can not bow to the conditions imposed upon her." [34]

The University of Virginia administration invited Professor Frederick K. Krueger to deliver a major address at the conference fully aware that he had publicly made inflammatory pro- Nazi and antisemitic statements. The New York Times reported in early December 1934 that Krueger, who was then lecturing at the National Socialist Academy for Political Sciences in Berlin, had declared: "Some day America will be forced to deal with the problem presented by the Jew." The Times noted that the National Socialist Academy for Political Sciences was a "party institution devoted to the inculcation of Nazi theories." Krueger labeled the boycott of German goods "a crime against America," claiming that it harmed U.S. foreign trade. He denounced the American press for misrepresenting what had transpired in Nazi Germany. Krueger declared that American newspapers gave "no sign of an effort to understand the new German soul or to play fair." In his opening lecture at the ational Socialist Academy Krueger had offered Germans advice on how to conduct efficient propaganda in the United States. He explained that "only thoroughgoing National Socialists should be sent to America." [35]

Professor Frederick K. Krueger's address combined vigorous praise of  Nazi government policies with a vicious antisemitic diatribe designed to discredit its American critics. Krueger began by declaring that Americans and Germans were "basically of the same racial stock [and] culture." He dismissed the view that liberal democracy was always the most desirable form of government. Krueger claimed that the United States itself had conferred dictatorial powers on its president when confronted with emergencies, "as for instance during the Civil War and the World War." Germany, facing economic crisis and threatened by Communism, had not acted any differently in according Chancellor Hitler such powers. Besides, every nation had the right to choose its own form of government. Americans were also wrong to criticize "so-called German militarism." All Germany wanted was equality in armaments with the nations that surrounded it. The Allies, after all, had violated their pledge at Versailles to reduce their own armaments. [36]

Professor Krueger invoked hoary antisemitic stereotypes to explain why much of American public opinion had turned against the Hitler regime. He claimed that "[t]he American Jews are financially very powerful." They largely controlled the metropolitan press and wielded great power in the movie industry and in radio. Jewish influence over "the organs of public opinion" allowed them to sow hostility to the Nazi government among non-Jewish Americans. Krueger insisted that Nazi Germany's "racial policy" was "its own affair," and that Americans had no right to protest against it. American Jews should "think of the country of their adoption first" and stop "sowing the seed of discord in the United States for the benefit of international Judaism." [37]

Professor H. F. Simon of Northwestern in his address declared that the harsh provisions of the Treaty of Versailles justified what he called "[t]he German Revolution of 1933," which he claimed Americans had very much misjudged. Simon asserted that no nation "would stand the dishonoring and impossible burdens" the "despotic" Allies had imposed on Germany. The Treaty's war guilt provision blaming Germany for starting the war was unfair. Germany was not permitted to rearm, despite being surrounded by "highly armed neighbors." The vindictive Treaty of Versailles had caused the German people to "close ranks" and take refuge "under the strong hands of a trusted and beloved leader," Adolf Hitler. Britain, France, and the United States, "rich in space," smugly preached the status quo, failing to comprehend overpopulated Germany's need to expand. [38]

Still another participant in the roundtable, Ernst Schmidt, in charge of tourist information and promotion for the German Railroads Company in New York, marveled over Nazi Germany's dynamism and modernity. He urged American travelers to see the Third Reich's "sparkling great cities with their stirring business, spotless cleanliness, and efficient administration." Nor should Americans neglect to visit the suburbs and smaller cities, where they could "wonder at the modern architecture and city planning" and "visit the roaring workshops of industry." Any visitor to the Third Reich would have to acknowledge "the rightful eminence of the German people as the most progressive and modern in Europe." [39]

Schmidt portrayed Nazi Germany's "new generation" as far more appealing than their decadent Western counterparts. The young women of the Third Reich combined "good looks" with "genuine culture" and provided "a distinct relief from flappers." The conversation of Germany's young men, who were "full of ideas," contrasted sharply with American youths' "college chatter." [40]

Dr. Henry G. Hodges, associate professor of political science at the University of Cincinnati, criticized American press coverage of Nazi Germany as prejudiced and sensationalistic, ridiculing "hair-trigger editorials whose predictions ... are belied a week later." He condemned the Jewish-led boycott of German products and services as motivated by a desire for revenge and therefore "contrary to ... Christian principle." Hodges believed that most Americans considered the Versailles Treaty unjust to Germany. Americans "overwhelmingly" supported Germany's right to rearm. There was also "general sentiment" in the United States that Adolf Hitler had "done as much (and perhaps more) as any of the other European nations to prevent war." Hodges noted that Americans who had traveled to the Third Reich were "more tolerant of her actions, and favorable to her conditions," than those who had not, implying that an "on-the-spot view" would change a person's opinions of Nazi Germany. He quoted one American traveler as commenting that Germany was "courageously facing the problems that we are side-stepping." [41]
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Re: The Third Reich in the Ivory Tower: Complicity and Confl

Postby admin » Tue Jul 31, 2018 8:21 am

Part 2 of 2

Even Virginius Dabney, chief editorial writer for the Richmond Times-Dispatch, who had spent six months in Germany and Austria in 1934 and considered himself anti-Nazi, found much to admire in the Third Reich. He claimed that many Americans who had not visited Nazi Germany held a distorted view of it, apparently because of sensational stories about violence in the American press. Many Americans, for example, believed in March 1933 that "dissident natives were being beaten up on almost every street corner in the Third Reich," and that "murder and mayhem were rife." Yet Dabney claimed that when he visited the Reich the previous year "perfect order prevailed everywhere in public." He reported that 75 percent of the "educated and cultured Germans" had opposed the Hitler regime. Dabney was also convinced that the vast majority of Germans did not want war. [42]

Yet after listing what he found abhorrent about the Hitler regime, Dabney found it "not so difficult to understand why the Nazis became disgusted with democracy." He credited Hitler with significant achievements. To be sure, the suppression of civil liberties, the torture and murder of some political dissenters, the killings during the Night of the Long Knives, and the regimentation of education were "revolting." But Dabney asserted that before Hitler assumed power, Germany had been "going from bad to worse," with more than thirty political parties making for a very unstable situation. Hitler had "promised to put the unemployed to work, to pull the country out of the depression, and to throw off the bondage of Versailles." Dabney declared that Hitler's record was one of "remarkable success." In about two and a half years, he had "made good on some of his most important pledges." [43]

Above all, Dabney urged, Americans must not work themselves "into an anti-German state of mind such as took possession of us from 1914 to 1918." During the World War, Americans had rushed, on the basis of very flimsy evidence, to raise their voices in a "hymn of hate" against Germany. Dabney hoped that Hitler had become "a man of peace" but worried about the intentions of other party chieftains. Still, he told the audience that he remained "tremendously fond of the German people." He described them as "kindly, lovable, and humane." They had much in common with Americans. Perhaps all would work out for the best. [44]

Several days after the conference ended, Institute Director Charles Maphis expressed pleasure that although the roundtable had focused on "a very delicate" subject, attendees' reaction afterward was very positive, and he had received "no severe adverse criticisms." [45] About two years later, in April 1937, Maphis's secretary wrote to University of Virginia president John Lloyd Newcomb that the papers from the July 1935 "American-German Relations" roundtable "have been in constant demand ever since." [46]

Because the University of Virginia was founded by Thomas Jefferson, reports in March 1936 that its administration had accepted the invitation from the Nazified University of Heidelberg to send a delegate to its 550th anniversary celebration were particularly shocking. The New York Times contrasted the inscription on Jefferson's tomb at Monticello, overlooking the campus -- "Author of the Declaration of American Independence, of the Statute of Virginia for Religious Freedom, and Father of the University of Virginia" -- with the Nazis' suppression of civil liberties and academic freedom. The Richmond Times-Dispatch urged the University of Virginia to refuse the invitation "in such unmistakable terms that the whole world will listen." [47]

Shortly afterward, University of Virginia president John Lloyd Newcomb declared that the newspaper reports were inaccurate, and that he had in fact declined Heidelberg's invitation "promptly, firmly, and politely." He gave no reason for doing so. Newcomb tempered his denial of the acceptance, however, by adding that, although he personally disliked dictatorships, he did not consider it proper for him "to criticize the German nation for the way it managed its affairs." [48]

Both the University of Virginia student newspaper, College Topics, and the Charlottesville Daily Progress remained critical of President ewcomb for failing to speak out more strongly against Nazi Germany. College Topics stated that whereas university heads around the world had condemned Heidelberg's invitation as an effort to "stifle educational freedom," President Newcomb, "declaring little, [only] denied acceptance." The Daily Progress, although pleased that Virginia had declined the invitation, noted that "[o]ther universities have ... been more outspoken" and had made known their reasons for refusing to send delegates. [49]

That summer, the Institute, by inviting a member of the Hitler Youth to present a paper at its roundtable on "The Emergency and the Long-Run in Education," implied that products of Nazi schooling had insights and suggestions that could be of benefit to American educators. Gerold von Minden was a German exchange student, born in 1914, who had received a B.A. degree from Dickinson College and an M.A. from American University. Von Minden began his address by describing what it was like to grow up in a vanquished nation that experienced foreign military occupation, hyperinflation, and cataclysmic depression. He and his cohort of German youth soon realized that "the Treaty of Versailles and its corollaries" were the cause of their misfortune. They longed for "political unity and spiritual security." [50]

Fortunately, von Minden related, the Nazi movement emerged to rescue a "disintegrating nation." Germany celebrated its own "Fourth of July" with the advent of the National Socialist government. The Hitler Youth taught von Minden "for the first time what 'Nation' and 'national unity' really meant." [51]

The Nazi educational system ended "the sadness of existence" for von Minden and other German youth and provided "meaning." Schooling under the Nazis was much superior to what the Weimar Republic had offered. During the Weimar period, German schools gave too much emphasis to intellectual training, providing students with too much "superfluous" knowledge. Under Hitler, schools balanced intellect with feeling. They gave much more attention to the study of German, history, geography, and [racial] biology to instill an understanding of Germanic community. A year's compulsory service in a labor camp further contributed to forging a community spirit "so lacking before the National Socialist government came to power." The Hitler Youth movement served as a critical part of Germany's educational system, providing the "action and discipline" that youth craved. [52]

As in 1934, this roundtable included a pro-Mussolini address, this time focusing on Italian Fascist educational policy. John Adams portrayed the Italian Fascist party as moderate, its function "no different from that of an American political party." The Fascist regime had injected no dangerous bias into the Italian classroom. It had introduced Catholic religious teaching and the crucifix to promote national unity, because more than 9 5 percent of its population was Catholic. [53]

Institute Director Maphis invited several supporters of collective security to speak at the July 1937 conference on a roundtable on international cooperation for world peace, but he also wrote to Dr. Wilbur K. Thomas of the Carl Schurz Foundation, asking him to recommend someone who could discuss "the subject of peace from the viewpoint of the German nation." Maphis was able to secure Dr. Helgo W. Culemann, a former professor at Amherst College, who spoke as a representative of the German embassy in Washington, D.C. In March, Culemann had vigorously defended Hitler's policies as "the salvation of the German nation" in a debate with French journalist Count de Roussy de Sales before the Town Hall of Washington, D.C. [54]

Anti-Nazi speakers on the roundtable included Helen Kirkpatrick, Geneva correspondent of the New York Herald Tribune, and Sir Herbert Brown Ames, formerly financial director of the League of Nations secretariat. Both expressed alarm about Germany's rearmament. Kirkpatrick declared that Britain and France had adhered too closely to the disarmament clause of the Versailles Treaty. Reducing armaments had only encouraged Germany to further increase its armed forces. Nevertheless, Kirkpatrick found it unlikely that Germany planned to march on Prague and doubted that there would ever again be a large-scale European war similar to that of 1914-18. [55]

Sir Herbert Brown Ames asserted that Germany would soon have the largest army in Europe, which constituted the greatest threat to peace on that continent. He agreed, however, with Czechoslovakia's president, Dr. Edward Bend, that peace in Europe would be preserved. Germany was not economically prepared for a long war. The British would certainly come to the aid of Czechoslovakia were Germany to invade her. The destructive power of modern ground and air weapons, as demonstrated in Spain and Ethiopia, would deter any European nation, including Germany, from launching a major war. No nation wanted its civilian population slaughtered on a massive scale in aerial bombardment of its cities. [56]

Helgo W. Culemann's address provided historical justification for Hitler's foreign policy and condemned what he called the "badly disguised imperialistic desires of other European nations." In an interview prior to his presentation, Culemann declared that those who criticized Germany's outlook rarely investigated the reasons for it. They overlooked the Versailles Treaty, which Culemann claimed was intended "to destroy Germany," or at least to permanently reduce her to a second-rate power. Germany, located "in the heart of Europe," had a right to build up an army large enough to protect it against surrounding well-armed neighbors. Defending Germany's system of government, Culemann asserted that "[d]emocracies in many lands have failed for the time being to meet human needs." [57]

University of Virginia professor R. K. Gooch, who became acting director of the Institute of Public Affairs following the death of Charles G. Maphis in May 1938, consulted with the German embassy in Washington to ensure that the Nazi government's position was properly presented at the July 1938 conference on "International Good Will Through Economic Stability." Maphis had hoped to secure as a speaker the strongly pro-Nazi Dr. Friedrich Auhagen, who had chaired the Institute's 1935 roundtable on American-German Relations. In February 1936, Auhagen had received national press attention for delivering a speech in Cleveland endorsing Hitler's "suppress[ing] Jews." Auhagen had justified the removal of Jews from the legal and medical professions, claiming that they had "secured a stronghold" in them and "clos(ed] the doors to thousands of Germans." As it turned out, Auhagen was unable to participate in the 1938 Institute conference, apparently because he was in Germany_ at the time of the conference. [58]

Paul Scheffer, editor-in-chief of the Berliner Tageblatt for four years until January 1937, and its Washington correspondent after that, initially accepted the Institute's invitation to join the roundtable. Scheffer was considered the best-known German journalist abroad. He had largely adhered to the Nazi party line, but Nazi propaganda minister Josef Goebbels had forced his demotion from editor to foreign correspondent because he had shown "occasional independence." Nevertheless, when Scheffer learned that Dr. Ernst Meyer was also to be on the roundtable, he notified the Institute that he would not participate. Meyer, a first secretary at the German embassy in Washington, had resigned from the German Foreign Service in May 1937, and in February 1938 he delivered an address in New York City in which he criticized Hitler. The German embassy responded by declaring that Meyer was a Jew, which he denied. [59]

After Scheffer pulled out of the roundtable, Acting Director Gooch contacted Hans Thomsen, counselor at the German embassy in Washington, asking him to recommend a substitute speaker. Gooch told the Nazi diplomat: "I hope you will agree that it would be unfortunate for the presentation of the German situation to be made only from Dr. Meyer's point of view." [60]

The Institute in 1938 also invited one of America's most notorious antisemites, William J. Cameron, who had edited Henry Ford's Dearborn Independent, to present a paper on "The Interdependence of Farm and Industry" at its economic stability roundtable. Cameron had contributed significantly to the Dearborn Independent's vitriolic attacks on Jews during the 1920s. Part of the British Israelite movement that believed the Anglo-Saxons were the real descendants of the Lost Tribes of Israel, Cameron claimed that contemporary Jews were the remnants of a racially distinct and inferior group despised by God. Remaining a top aide to Ford after the Dearborn Independent ceased pu blication in 1927, he cofounded the antisemitic Anglo-Saxon Federation in 1930 and was elected its president. In 1935 Cameron became director of Destiny, the Anglo-Saxon Federation organ whose diatribes laid the groundwork for the virulently antisemitic Christian Identity movement. Two weeks after the Institute roundtable, Cameron delivered the keynote address at the ceremony the  Nazi government arranged for Henry Ford, at which it presented him with the highest honor it could bestow on a foreigner, the Grand Service Cross of the Supreme Order of the German Eagle. [61]

Despite Cameron's long record of disseminating antisemitism, the Institute of Public Affairs leadership declared that it was honored to have him participate in its roundtable. [62] About three months after the conference, the Institute's acting director expressed to Cameron his "great personal satisfaction and the appreciation of the University and the Institute" for what he said was Cameron's "very important" contribution to the session, about which he had heard "many kind words." Gooch told Cameron that both he and university president John Lloyd Newcomb would be "most grateful" for any suggestions that "might be calculated to improve the conduct of the Institute." [63]

In July 1939, less than two months before Germany launched its invasion of Poland, which began World War II, the Institute again provided the Nazi perspective a respectful hearing. In February, the Institute's acting director, Hardy C. Dillard, invited Nazi apologist Friedrich E. Auhagen to speak at "a morning, afternoon, and night session" at its Foreign Affairs conference. Dillard told Auhagen that the Institute wanted him "to linger with us for as long as you care to remain." He added: "I would count it a pleasure to have you put-up with me." [64] A month later, Dillard asked Auhagen to speak at a weekly Institute seminar to "'enlighten' us on German policy." [65]

In May 1939, Auhagen wrote to Dillard that he was busy establishing a group called the American Fellowship Forum and preparing the first issue of its magazine Challenge, which he intended to use to influence American public opinion and foreign policy in a pro-German direction. Anti-Nazi journalist Dorothy Thompson later described the American Fellowship Forum as advocating "precisely the policy advocated by Co!. [Charles] Lindbergh and the ... America First Movement." [66]

Auhagen's evening address dominated press coverage of the July 1939 Institute conference. Several speakers opposed to appeasing Nazi Germany participated, along with Manfred Zapp, New York representative of the Transocean News Service of Berlin, a front for Goebbels's Ministry of Propaganda; Dr. Nika Tucci, a publicist for the Mussolini regime, and William Castle, a former undersecretary of state in the Hoover administration and an isolationist who in 1940 became a leader of the America First Committee. Castle, a Harvard graduate, was a Harvard overseer from 1935 to 1941. U.S. Communist party chairman Earl Browder, another roundtable participant, some six weeks before the Molotov-von Ribbentrop Pact, took strong issue with Auhagen's suggestion that if the Western democracies refused to befriend Germany, she might "get together" with the Soviet Union. Browder answered heatedly that there was as much possibility of that happening as of his being elected president of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. [67]

Auhagen in his address said that four years ago he had hoped that the United States and Nazi Germany, which he called "the two most progressive-minded nations," would form a friendship, but that unfortunately had not happened. There was no conflict whatsoever between the national interests of Germany and the United States. The strained relations between the two countries resulted only from the United States being a "have" nation and Germany being a "have-not" one. Paradoxically, the United States had "thrown in her lot with her strongest competitor, the British Empire." She championed the interests of Britain, the prime proponent of the status quo, instead of her own. There was no danger that Germany would impose a Nazi political system on the United States, even though the United States had been instrumental in the overthrow of Germany's imperial regime. [68]

William Castle denounced President Roosevelt and Secretary of the Interior Harold Ickes for ignoring "the decencies and amenities of international politics" and "going out of their way to insult Reichsfuehrer Hitler." By doing so they had endangered the security of the United States. Castle declared that Roosevelt and Ickes should look to the British prime minister Neville Chamberlain as their model, a leader who "sticks strictly to his own business" and "does not fling insults a bout." Castle stated that the British "know that one of their best bulwarks of peace is courtesy." [69]

Samuel K. C. Kopper, a Princeton graduate and assistant leader of the 1939 Foreign Affairs roundtable, promoted appeasement of Nazi Germany in an address shaped by revisionist scholarship on the World War. He warned that the Western democracies, having severely abused Germany at Versailles, were preparing aggressive action against her. The French were planning to "march to Berlin ... and complete the work of destruction which they left uncompleted in 1918." The British might join them afterward in "out- Versailles[ing] Versailles."

There was at that time a danger of a European war largely because the West had failed to resolve Germany's grievances by peaceful negotiation. Germany was forced to relinquish Eupen-Malmedy, Memel, and much of Upper Silesia. The French invasion of the Ruhr in 1923 "added insult to injury." In the West, "violently prejudiced" journalists and radio commentators were "whipping up popular anger" against Germany. Kopper urged the Western democracies to use "reason rather than prejudice and hate" to preserve peace with Germany. "When critics were berating Chamberlain's peace policy last fall," Kopper asked, "were they not being a little Olympian in their attitude?" After all, were Britain and Germany to go to war, 30,000 Londoners would die each day in air raids. [70]

Manfred Zapp delivered a vitriolic antisemitic address in which he proclaimed his ardent support for Nazi Germany. He began by condemning the "one-sided" American press coverage of Germany, which falsely reported that in the Third Reich "the individual has no freedom." Germans actually had "just as much freedom as ... in other countries, if not more." Unlike in the West, where the rich could "buy more liberties than [were] granted to the poor," each individual in Germany had an equal amount. The Germans had forged a national community, a true "people's state," unlike parliamentary democracies, which were actually ruled by "demagogue politicians." Under the Weimar Republic, Germans were divided by class antagonisms and feared for their safety. Night clubs featuring "nudism and sex" proliferated, undermining the country's moral fabric. [71]

Zapp declared that during the Weimar period a corrosive "Jewish influence ... became more and more predominant in business and politics." By "preaching freedom of the press, freedom of speech, and freedom of the individual" the Jews "sow[ed] discontent among the German people," fomenting divisions that resulted in twenty-eight different political parties bickering in the Reichstag. Exploiting the chaos they had fomented, the Jews seized control of the nation. [72]

According to Zapp, the Nazi movement arose to liberate Germany from this Jewish-induced decay. It sprang from "German sentiment," grew "on German soil," and was "made for Germans and Germany only." Hitler had restored labor harmony and full employment. Under  Nazism, prosperity had returned to Germany, and slums had disappeared. [73]

The conference also heard presentations from several speakers strongly critical of Nazism and Fascism. F. Wilhelm Sollman, former German Reichstag deputy and member of its Committee on Foreign Affairs from 1920 to 1933, declared that a reading of Mein Kampf revealed that Hitler aimed to subjugate Eastern and Southeastern Europe. He asserted that Hitler's "drive to the East" did not originate with him but was a continuation of Kaiser Wilhelm II's "power policy." Scholars, politicians, and diplomats had devoted excessive attention to the Versailles Treaty's "injustices" and forgotten that Imperial Germany had imposed severely harsh terms on Romania and Russia in the treaties of Bucharest and Brest-Litovsk during the World War. Historian Oscar Jaszi, former minister of national minorities in the Hungarian government, recommended fomenting "internal revolution," "tyrannicide" (assassination of Hitler), and the forging of an armed coalition as means of halting Nazi Germany's expansion. [74]

Journalist Louis Fischer "bitterly attacked" Fascist foreign policy in an address that precipitated an angry rejoinder from ika Tucci. The Fascist propagandist accused Fischer of spreading Communist theory across the United States. Fischer denied the charge, citing his criticism of the Soviet government for suppressing civil liberties. [75]

Dr. Edmund A. Walsh, regent of Georgetown University's School of Foreign Service, who had publicly supported Franco's insurgents in the just-concluded Spanish Civil War, "expressed alarm at the rising tide of anti-Semitism" in the United States. He called for uncompromising opposition to Nazi racial theories. [76]

Even with French forces on the verge of surrender to the Wehrmacht, the 1940 Institute conference, held this time in June, gave isolationists and appeasers of Nazi Germany a significant platform. The conference's theme was "The United States and a World at War." It began only four days after President Roosevelt delivered a strong denunciation of isolationism in his commencement address to the University of Virginia's graduating class. Without mentioning Germany, Roosevelt declared that "the whole of our sympathies" were with the nations fighting "the gods of force and hate." He pledged U.S. material assistance to Britain. [77] The speech became a major subject of controversy at the conference.

At the June 17 session, British writer John Wheeler-Bennett praised President Roosevelt's commencement address as an inspiration for a desperate Britain to "hold on" as it fought for its life. But the New York Times reported that none of the American speakers praised Roosevelt's "Charlottesville pledge," and two of them "roundly denounced" it. Lawrence Dennis, a Harvard graduate and former U.S. foreign service officer whom Dorothy Thompson identified as one of Friedrich Auhagen's "leading braintrusters," declared that because of "Germany's imminent triumph over the Allies," President Roosevelt himself had become" America's No. I isolationist." His interventionist sympathies had placed the United States in the unenviable position of standing alone against "the four great totalitarian powers." By declaring for the Allies, Roosevelt had disregarded George Washington's warning not to intervene in Europe's quarrels. With Germany on the verge of defeating the Allies, the United States had lost any prospect that the victor would display goodwill toward her. Dr. Brooks Emeny condemned not only Roosevelt's commencement address but his entire attitude toward European affairs. He claimed that intervention in the European war was not in the national interest. [78]

The next day, Harry Elmer Barnes delivered an address that not only opposed U.S. intervention in the war to stop the Nazi onslaught but expressed lack of confidence that the democratic form of government could persist. He declared that American involvement in the war would result in economic depression and massive loss of life, which would precipitate the sort of crisis in the United States that had brought Hitler to power in Germany. Barnes told the Institute audience that "nose-counting democracy" was breaking down, unable to handle the complex problems resulting from modern industrialization and a communications revolution. He proclaimed that "[t]otalitarianism now menaces representative government and democracy in the same way the Tudors and Bourbons challenged feudalism in the early modern times," implying that an ascendant fascism was likely to prevail over an obsolete American form of government. Frank Kingdon, president of the University of Newark, took issue with Barnes, arguing that the "dynamism of democracy is far more powerful than any totalitarianism can ever be." [79]

During the fall of 1940, the federal government initiated raids that implicated such prominent participants in Institute of Public Affairs roundtables as Friedrich Auhagen and Manfred Zapp as operatives working under German government direction to spread Nazi propaganda in the United States. In November the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Un-American Activities, chaired by Martin Dies, published a 500-page white paper that demonstrated links between Auhagen and Zapp and German embassy and consular officials. It specifically named Hans Thomsen, charge d'affaires at the German embassy in Washington, as assisting in disseminating propaganda. The Dies Committee described Transocean News Service as a " Nazi propaganda podium" whose employees had to be approved by the German consulate in New York. The New York Post disclosed that in 1938 the German Ministry of Propaganda had dispatched Manfred Zapp, "a highly trusted Goebbels functionary," to New York City to establish Transocean. From a suite of offices on Madison Avenue, Zapp "tirelessly canvass[ed]" the German-language press, persuading editors to run news reports written from the Nazi perspective. Dorothy Thompson reported that Zapp had served as the conduit for funds sent from Germany to Canadian fascist Adrian Arcand to publish his French-language newspaper. [80]

As the press disclosed what the raids had uncovered, it also reported an outcry precipitated by a Colorado State College of Education invitation to both German and British embassy officials to address the 1940 summer session on "War Aims and Peace Plans." The College had invited Hans Thomsen to speak for Germany. Thomsen had to decline but urged the College to invite Manfred Zapp, head of Transocean News Service, in his place. When some members of the board of trustees complained about a Nazi addressing the summer session, and when other citizens protested to the trustees, the College cancelled both the German and British speeches. [81]

Both Zapp and Friedrich Auhagen were arrested as German propagandists. In September 1940, federal agents apprehended Auhagen on the Pacific Coast just as he was preparing to sail for Japan and brought him to Washington, D.C., to be examined by the Dies Committee. In early 1941, federal agents seized him in La Salle, Illinois, on a fugitive warrant from Washington, D.C. Auhagen was indicted in March for failing to register with the State Department as a paid publicity agent of Germany. He was charged with having "lectured, conducted meetings, exhibited movies, and wr(itten] magazine articles to promote Nazi interests." [82]

That same month, the Federal Bureau of Investigation arrested Manfred Zapp and his assistant Guenther Tonn, and a special federal grand jury indicted them and Transocean News Service on charges of violating the Foreign Alien and Registration Act of 1938. When Zapp established a subsidiary of Transocean in the United States in October 1938 he had failed to register as an agent of a foreign government, and he did not do so until January 1939. In registering, he failed to state that "part of his business ... was to transmit and disseminate in the United States and numerous countries throughout the world, political propaganda in the interest of the German government and the Nazi party." The indictment also identified Transocean as an arm of the German government. The U.S. government released Zapp and Tonn in a trade for two American journalists held by the Hitler government, and they returned to Germany. When in April 1945, a few weeks before V-E Day, the New York Times reported that U.S. Third Army troops had seized Zapp in Germany, it identified him as "the chief Nazi propaganda agent in the United States from 1938 to 1941." [83]

At Auhagen's trial in July 1941, Assistant Attorney-General George McNulty confronted him with his own diary, seized by federal agents when he was arrested in San Francisco, in which he wrote about long conferences with officials of the German Ministry of Propaganda. The U.S. government contended that Auhagen had traveled to Nazi Germany for that purpose every year since Hitler came to power. The New York Times reported that Auhagen's American Fellowship Forum had been linked with the German Library of Information and the German Railroads Information Office as instruments of Nazi propaganda. [84]

A jury in a District of Columbia court found Auhagen guilty on all three counts of the indictment charging him with being a German propagandist. He was sentenced to a term of eight months to two years in the penitentiary and fined $1,000. Auhagen was the first person sentenced for violating the Foreign Alien and Registration Act. In 1947 Auhagen was deported to Germany with a group of other Nazi sympathizers. The U.S. Department of Justice called the deportees a "cargo of human dynamite," too dangerous to be allowed to reside in the United States. [85]

By the time the Institute of Public Affairs held its final conference in June 1941, there was considerably more support among the speakers for American military intervention. Participants included veteran anti-Nazi journalist Edgar Ansel Mowrer and Quincy Howe, who argued that America's joining the war against Nazi Germany was both inevitable and desirable. Institute Director Hardy C. Dillard even lauded Mowrer's address -- which branded as defeatist the isolationists' call for the United States to concentrate on defending the Western Hemisphere -- as "one of the outstanding addresses of the entire series." U.S. representative John M. Vorys of Ohio, however, did speak in favor of isolationism. He declared that the Germans were "more ready for peace" than assumed. [86]

From 1933 until U.S. entry into World War II, the University of Virginia Institute of Public Affairs conferences on Europe, war and peace, and U.S.-German relations received Nazis and their sympathizers as distinguished guests whose views were entitled to a respectful hearing. Revisionist scholarship on the origins of the World War became highly influential in the United States during the 1920s and caused many Americans, inside and outside of academia, to sympathize with Germany as a country that the victorious nations had severely wronged at the Versailles Peace Conference. The Versailles Treaty was commonly perceived as having been imposed on Germany by vindictive powers that shared equally with her the responsibility for the war's outbreak. It was therefore unfair to deprive Germany of significant amounts of territory, hobble her armed forces, and force her to pay heavy reparations. Many Americans, although uncomfortable with certain Nazi policies, nonetheless became convinced that Hitler's objective was merely to restore Germany's equal stature among the European nations, which they believed to be a commendable goal. They became convinced that his foreign policy was designed only to regain for Germany territory unfairly stripped from her at Versailles, and to ensure that she could defend herself from invasion.

The Institute's directors cooperated closely with the German embassy in Washington, D.C., hardly a body interested in the furtherance of scholarly inquiry and understanding, to guarantee that the Hitler regime was properly represented at the roundtables. As a result, what many speakers presented at the conferences was not reasoned analysis but propaganda celebrating Hitler and Nazism. They obfuscated the actual conditions and developments within Germany and Hitler's real foreign policy intentions.

The Institute of Public Affairs repeatedly presented as authorities on Germany Nazi apologists from within American academia, and from the Third Reich itself, who disparaged democracy and portrayed Hitler as a savior who restored honor, security, and hope to the German people. Many were avowed antisemites. Adolf Hitler in late November 1938 bestowed upon two of the American professors whom the Institute had invited to present major addresses, Karl Geiser and Frederick K. Krueger, the merit cross of the Order of the German Eagle, first class, a very high honor. [87] Speakers routinely denied American press accounts that Jews in Germany were severely persecuted. They justified the discriminatory measures that the Nazis introduced to drive Jews from university faculties and student bodies, and from practicing law and medicine, as necessary to break what they claimed was Jewish control of German academia and the professions. Neither the Institute's directors, nor other University of Virginia administrators, appear to have challenged these participants' unapologetic antisemitism. Indeed, they praised their contributions and asked some to appear again.
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Re: The Third Reich in the Ivory Tower: Complicity and Confl

Postby admin » Thu Aug 02, 2018 8:05 pm

Part 1 of 2

6. Nazi Nests: German Departments in American Universities, 1933-1941

University German departments, often staffed by faculty members sympathetic to the Hitler regime, and the German clubs they sponsored, constituted important bases of support for Nazi Germany in the United States. When the Nazi warship Karlsruhe docked at Charlestown Navy Yard for its ten-day goodwill visit to Boston in May 1934, German clubs from colleges across New England sent delegations to greet it. German departments at the Universities of Wisconsin and Minnesota became the targets of major anti-Nazi protest when they hosted receptions for Nazi Germany's ambassador to the United States, Hans Luther, during his tour of the Midwest in October 1935. American professors of German were also prominent as foreign delegates at the anniversary celebrations held in Nazi Germany for the University of Heidelberg in 1936 and the University of Goettingen in 1937.

At Rutgers University's New Jersey College for Women (NJC), the administration's termination of the German Department's only anti-Hitler faculty member, upon the recommendation of its strongly pro-Nazi chair, precipitated the nation's most well-publicized academic freedom controversy of the 1930s. It revealed a widespread lack of concern about Nazism among Rutgers administrators and considerable sympathy for the Hitler regime within the faculty and student body.

The Philadelphia Jewish Exponent noted in May 1935 that the Nazi government considered American colleges and universities of central importance in shaping public opinion of the Third Reich in this country. Almost immediately after the Nazis assumed power in Germany, they sent propaganda agents to the United States "under the guise of students, lecturers, or exchange professors" in order "to inject the Hitler virus into the American student body." The "most reprehensible aspect" of this Nazi campus propaganda campaign was the encouragement it received from heads of German language and literature departments. [1]

New England's College German Clubs Welcome the Karlsruhe

The Studenten Verbindung Germania, the German club at Dartmouth College, was committed to promoting more friendly relations between the United States and Nazi Germany, two "great countries." It expressed concern that there were groups in the United States that "defame[d]"  Nazi Germany and wanted to make her "a social outcast," and it condemned the boycott of German goods. In February 1934, the Studenten Verbindung Germania held its first Kneipe, or beer evening, at which its guest was Nazi Germany's consul-general in Boston, Baron Kurt von Tippelskirch. [2]

Dartmouth's German Club helped transform the friendly reception the city of Boston and Harvard University provided for the Karlsruhe into a New England-wide event. Twenty-five of its members donned military regalia and traveled to Boston to pay homage to the battle cruiser flying the swastika flag as it lay at anchor there. The Karlsruhe's cadets gave them "a very warm and hearty reception." [3]

The Studenten Verbindung Germania returned the favor the next week by hosting an officer and ten cadets from the Karlsruhe at its Fahnenweihe at Dartmouth, at which it dedicated its new club flag, the "exact type" that German fraternities used. The ceremony was followed by a banquet of German dishes and dancing. Mingling with the Karlsruhe cadets were women from the German clubs of Smith, Bennington, Wellesley, Radcliffe, and Middlebury Colleges, whom the Studenten Verbindung Germania had invited. Forty members of the Dartmouth faculty also attended. Speakers at the banquet included P. C. Hessler, a leading financial sponsor of the Junior Year in Munich program, who donated the new club flag; Professor R. W. Jones, chairman of the Dartmouth German Department; and Stephen Schlossmacher, a member of the department and vice-president of the Interscholastic Federation of German Clubs. Further solidifying the bonds between Nazi Germany and Dartmouth, the North German Lloyd Line selected the Studenten Verbindung Germania band to perform on its ocean cruises that summer. [4]

The University of Wisconsin and University of Minnesota German Departments Host Nazi Germany's Ambassador

In November 1935, Professor A. R. Hohlfeld, chairman of the University of Wisconsin German Department, hosted Nazi Germany's ambassador Hans Luther on a visit to the campus, sparking bitter controversy and nearly provoking a diplomatic incident. Several other members of the German Department socialized with Luther, and University of Wisconsin president Glenn Frank invited him to tea. Representatives of eleven student organizations, including the radical National Student League (NSL), the Hillel, the Newman Club, the Presbyterian Student house, and the Young Women's Christian Association (YWCA), issued a joint statement protesting the Nazi ambassador's visit to campus. The student groups denounced the Hitler regime for exiling "the finest of German scholars," sponsoring violent attacks on Jews and implementing antisemitic legislation, driving women into the kitchen, and diverting youth from universities into labor camps. They noted that Germany's entire educational system, "previously one of the finest in the world," was now "being used to spread the gospels of Hitler and his cohorts." Their statement declared that "the burning of books in 1933 was just a dramatic symbol of the consistent repression of all disagreement, and indeed, of almost all study." [5]

The Nazi ambassador arrived in Madison accompanied by R. L. Jaeger, German consul-general in Chicago. Both men were committed to preventing the circulation of news about Nazi atrocities in the United States. About a year and a half earlier, they had together persuaded Chicago mayor Edward J. Kelly to ban theaters in his city from showing the anti-Nazi film Hitler's Reign of Terror. The film was based largely on motion picture footage that Cornelius Vanderbilt Jr. had smuggled out of Germany, and it ended with denunciations of Hitler by Columbia professor Raymond Moley, a leading advisor to President Roosevelt, and U.S. representative Samuel Dickstein. Mayor Kelly shut the film down after a single showing, apparently because of concern that it would endanger friendly relations between the United States and Germany. [6]

Ambassador Luther's stormy eight-hour visit to Madison, Wisconsin, began with a morning press conference that he expected would be routine. When Professor Hohlfeld opened the press conference, two Jewish University of Wisconsin students, Leo Genzeloff of Hackensack, New Jersey, and Daniel Lang of ew York City, identifying themselves as reporters for the NSL's New Student, demanded to know why the Hitler regime was persecuting Jews and Catholics. Denying that the Nazis mistreated Catholics, Luther explained that because Jews were not citizens of the German nation, they did not have the rights accorded to citizens. (Germany had introduced the Nuremberg laws that September, stripping Jews of their citizenship.) He declared that it was improper for other nations to interfere in Germany's internal affairs. Luther outlined azi Germany's triple policy: "peace, good will, and cooperation." He lectured the students that their tone undermined the mutual respect on which understanding between the two nations depended. [7]

When Genzeloff and Lang continued to pepper Luther with hostile questions, he "became extremely irritable." The Nazi ambassador pounded the table with his fist and exclaimed, "I am the representative of the German government in the United States." He very quickly "lost his composure" and "abruptly terminated" the press conference. Luther said he did not wish to discuss Hitler's policies with persons who "possessed little understanding of them," and "stalk[ed] out." As he left, Lang shouted, "Down with Hitler!" Later, Luther declared that he had never been treated so disrespectfully anywhere in the United States as at the Madison press conference. There was speculation in the press that he might file an official protest with the U.S. government concerning what he considered the rude treatment to which the students had subjected him. [8]

Although the University of Wisconsin administration and the German Department made every effort to provide the warmest possible reception for Ambassador Luther, tension persisted throughout the rest of his visit. After leaving the press conference, Luther proceeded to luncheon at the University of Wisconsin German House, where university president Glenn Frank, a prominent isolationist, dined with him. Expecting that Luther would be having supper at Professor Hohlfeld's house, anti-Nazi students and members of the community formed a picket line there at 5:00 P.M. and demonstrated for about 45 minutes. However, at the time Luther was having tea with President Frank at his mansion. The pickets, carrying banners and placards denouncing the Hitler regime for persecuting and murdering political opponents and Jews, attracted a large crowd of onlookers, including children who shouted "Heil Hitler!" at them. [9]

President Frank, like Nicholas Murray Butler, was undoubtedly drawn to Hans Luther because he considered him a gentleman, a man of high social rank. Professor Hohlfeld had introduced Luther at the press conference with the honorific "His Excellency." John D. Hicks, who had attended Northwestern University with Frank and was a professor of history at the University of Wisconsin when Frank was its president in the 1930s, remarked that Frank and his wife had tried to impose in Madison "the high proprieties of New York society." They had hired a butler and a chauffeur and, according to Hicks, "entertained too lavishly," requiring white tie or black tie at many of the social functions they hosted. [10]

Ambassador Luther ended his Madison visit with dinner at the German House, where he was joined by Professor Hohlfeld and German consul-general Jaeger. That night Luther entrained for the Twin Cities, where he was scheduled to make several public addresses and to visit the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis. [11]

The next day, several representatives of University of Wisconsin Christian groups who had signed the statement of protest against Luther's visit distanced themselves from the demonstration at Professor Hohlfeld's house. The Reverend Ezra Young, leader of the university's Congregationalist organization, said that he strongly disapproved of the demonstration and had advised against it. He bore no malice toward Ambassador Luther, whose visit to campus he considered social rather than political. Jane Mond, president of the University of Wisconsin YWCA, stated that her organization's name had been included on the statement protesting Luther's visit by mistake. She asserted that the YWCA did not object to the Nazi ambassador's visit. It believed that "every courtesy and respect should be shown him" as a guest. The Reverend "Shorty" Collins, Baptist leader at the university, also declared that he opposed the picketing. [12]

The Daily Cardinal was so angry about the picketing that it declared that the University of Wisconsin owed Luther a "most sincere apology." The editorial board denounced the student "hecklers" at the press conference for subjecting the Nazi ambassador, who "deserved all the hospitality and respect accorded any guest," to a "humiliating experience." Students at the press conference should have shown Luther "the respect that his position warrants." Questioning should have been "polite" and in "good taste." The Daily Cardinal declared that being Jewish did not give the "hecklers" the right to express their "prejudices" at the press conference. [13]

The editors proceeded to explain why they had neglected to provide any coverage of the picketing of Professor Hohlfeld's house in the Daily Cardinal. They explained that Ambassador Luther was a guest at the University of Wisconsin, and "anything that would mar his visit should have been avoided." The Daily Cardinal had refused to publish "anything that would in any way stir up the student body to such an extent that any demonstration would take place." [14]


Upon arriving in the Twin Cities, Ambassador Luther discovered, as the Minneapolis Journal put it, that "he had jumped from the frying pan into the fire." He received a friendly reception at the University of Minnesota and from some business and German-American groups, but he met with a storm of protest elsewhere. In Minneapolis, seventy Jewish organizations denounced Luther's appearance before the Minneapolis Civic and Commerce Association. They issued a statement saying that "[o]ur self-respect as Jews and as citizens compels us to assert we consider Mr. Hans Luther's presence in the community as an affront to all freedom-loving citizens, who must refrain from joining in any reception or public hearing given him." The editor of the St. Paul German Catholic newspaper The Wanderer issued an open letter saying that Luther was not welcome. The Reverend Henry Scherer, pastor of the Catholic church at nearby New Ulm, Minnesota, also denounced the Civic and Commerce Association for greeting Luther, declaring that "it would be an insult for me or my congregation to be seen at a reception or banquet for Dr. Luther." Branding  Nazis as criminal, Rabbi David Aaronson stated that he would "no more care to be seen in the company of a spokesman of Hitler than I would be in the company of the kidnaper of the Lindbergh baby." [15]

A press conference arranged for Twin Cities newsmen to interview Luther turned "fiery" when they pressed him to discuss the persecution of Jews and other minorities in Nazi Germany. L. H. Frisch, publisher of the Jewish World, asked the Nazi ambassador about the recent Nuremberg Laws that deprived Germany's Jews of their citizenship. Luther refused to respond to it or to any other specific question. "Plainly annoyed" by the reporters' persistence, Luther's voice at times "rose to ear-shriek proportions." He declared, as he had at the Madison press conference, that the United States had no right to interfere in Germany's internal affairs. [16]

Having been escorted by a police squadron into Minneapolis's Radisson Hotel across a picket line protesting his appearance, Luther spoke about the German economy before an overflow audience that "roundly applauded" him. He also delivered two addresses in St. Paul in German to audiences totaling 800 persons. The Nazi ambassador declared that Germany desired peace and that its rearmament was only for self-defense against neighbors who had refused to disarm. Under Hitler, class distinctions among Germans were disappearing. [17]

Alarmed by the vigor of the protest against Luther's appearances at the University of Wisconsin and in Minneapolis, the University of Minnesota administration and the German Department that hosted him took steps to ensure that he would not be challenged when he visited the campus. It was decided that he would not deliver any address at the university, but only attend a tea sponsored by the German Department. Expecting Luther to speak, anti-Nazi students had prepared and distributed across campus typewritten questions that they hoped people would raise. But their plans to engage the Nazi ambassador in a dialogue about Hitler's policies were frustrated when the German Department admitted to the tea only those whom it had personally invited. When about fifty students appeared at the tea without invitations, Anna Blitz, the University of Minnesota Dean of Women, required them to leave. Campus police forcibly ejected one student who insisted on his right to remain. [18]

Dean Blitz justified her refusal to permit the fifty students to attend the tea by explaining that "this element obviously just wanted to make itself obnoxious." She declared that Ambassador Luther was the university's guest, and it was out of respect for him that she prevented the students from attending the tea. Dean Blitz commented that the student who did not obey her order to leave "was not properly dressed for a tea." [19]

German Departments and German Clubs: Promoting Friendship with the Third Reich

Campus German clubs, consisting largely of students majoring in German, like their sponsoring German departments, entertained Nazi diplomats and sometimes brought them together with university presidents and other administrators. Hitler's consul-general in Boston, Baron Kurt von Tippelskirch, was a frequent guest at German club social functions at New England colleges. He mingled with President Ada Comstock at the Radcliffe German Club Christmas party in 1933, and with the wife of Smith president William Allan Neilson and Smith faculty at a reception and dinner sponsored by that college's German Club in 1935. Von Tippelskirch was the chief speaker at the Harvard German Club's Abschiedsfeier in May 1936. His successor as Germany's consul-general in Boston, Dr. Herbert Scholtz, attended the Harvard German Club's dinner-dance in May 1939, to which members of the German clubs at Radcliffe, Wellesley, Dartmouth, and Colby Colleges were also invited. [20]

In December 1934, both the Yale University and Vassar College German clubs invited Dr. Richard Sallet, attache at the German embassy in Washington, to speak on campus about Hitler's Germany. The Nazi diplomat spoke informally on December 11 to Yale's Germanic Club, which was composed of faculty members and graduate students, on "The New Foundations of the German Commonwealth." Professor Adolph Bennett Benson, chair of Yale's Department of Germanic Languages and sponsor of the Germanic Club, announced that only members of the club would be admitted to Sallet's talk, which was closed to the press. The Yale chapter of the National Student League charged that Sallet's visit was for the purpose of disseminating Nazi propaganda to members of the Yale community. [21] This was certainly Saller's intention when he spoke several days later at Vassar. He extolled Nazi Germany as a "folk community." The Nazis had abolished all social ranks to create a true "people's fellowship." What solidified it was its exclusivity: a person who had not been born into it could never join it. A person's social or class background mattered not at all, only his or her ancestry. Sallet explained to the assembled German majors and other Vassarites in attendance that because Nazi Germany defined itself in this way it could not annex any non-German territory, "especially Poland." He claimed therefore that Germany was "inherently pacifistic." [22]

Besides influencing their students in the German clubs to adopt a favorable attitude toward Nazism, some prominent professors of German also served as propagandists for the Third Reich in other forums, including Friedrich Auhagen and Frederick K. Krueger, prominent participants in the University of Virginia Institute of Public Affairs roundtables, and Professor Paul H. Curts of the Wesleyan University German Department. In October 1934, Curts explained to a student assembly at Wesleyan that only Hitler could provide Germany with what it needed. Having witnessed the Night of the Long Knives from Hamburg, Germany, Curts reported that most Germans had no objection to "the quick blow of retaliation that the leader made" against what they considered "a radical conspiracy." 23 Speaking at New Haven's Exchange Club about two weeks later as someone who had vacationed several times in the Third Reich, Curts accused the American press of publishing exaggerated accounts of disorder there. Curts declared that the Nazis had no intention of spreading their doctrine outside Germany. [24]

Back in Germany in April 1936, Professor Curts reported that everyone there "believe[d] absolutely in the sincerity of Hitler's offer of nonaggression and peace." He defended the Wehrmacht's march into the Rhineland, claiming it was "an integral part of Germany." Curts endorsed the Nazis' antisemitic policies, declaring that "'Germany for the Germans' is the slogan. Substitute 'America for the Americans' and it sounds quite reasonable." [25]

American professors of German enthusiastically participated in the anniversary celebrations at the Universities of Heidelberg and Goettingen in 1936 and 1937. At Heidelberg, Arthur F. J. Remy, Villard Professor of Germanic Philology, represented Columbia and Professor Ernst Rose, recommended by his department chairman, W. D. Zinnecker, represented New York University. Cornell University president Livingston Farrand appointed Professor A. W. Boesche as that institution's delegate, and Professor Aloysius G. Gaiss represented the University of Michigan. The University of Michigan student newspaper reported that Professor Gaiss was looking forward to the Heidelberg ceremonies "with great excitement." He declared that the presence of delegates from American colleges and universities would improve relations between the United States and Nazi Germany. Gaiss announced that he planned to spend the next seven months after he sailed for the festival on June 11 in Europe, six of them at the University of Heidelberg. [26] The next year at Goettingen, Professor A. B. Faust, chairman of Cornell's German Department, gave the Nazi salute as he accepted an honorary degree at that university's bicentennial celebration. [27]

The Nazi government rewarded several American professors of German for promoting friendship between the United States and Germany with medals that it considered very prestigious. In April 1938, the German consul-general in Los Angeles, Dr. Georg Gyssling, bestowed the Order of the German Eagle on Professor Erwin T. Mohme, head of the German Department at the University of Southern California, for "furthering cultural relationships between Germany and the United States." In presenting the medal, along with a parchment letter of congratulations personally signed by Adolf Hitler, the Nazi consul-general informed Mohme that he was the only man on the Pacific Coast to have received it. [28] In November 1938, about two weeks after the Kristallnacht, Adolf Hitler awarded the Order of Merit of the German Eagle, first class, to another American professor of German, William Alpha Cooper, who had retired from Stanford University in 1934. [29]

Professor Max Otto Koischwitz of Hunter College's German Department was so enthusiastic about Nazism that he moved permanently to Germany in 1939, after a fourteen-year career teaching in the United States, and served the Hitler government as a propagandist. In 1939, the Non-Sectarian Anti-Nazi League (NSANL) protested to the New York City Department of Education when the magazine Literatur, published in Nazi Germany, carried an article in which Professor Koischwitz denounced American democracy. The NSANL noted that Koischwitz had been under close surveillance as a Nazi propagandist for the previous six years, since Hitler came to power, and had appeared as a guest of honor at meetings of the pro-Nazi German-American Bund. [30] The German-born Koischwitz joined the faculty of Columbia University in 1925, immediately after graduating from the University of Berlin. In 1931, he became a professor of German at Hunter College. Considered a Nazi, according to the New York Times, Koischwitz traveled to the Third Reich, allegedly for "study," in 1935, 1937, and 1939. He did not return to the United States after the last trip, on which his wife and three daughters accompanied him. [31]

Image
FIGURE 6.1. "Axis Sally" (Mildred E. Gillars) leaving U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C., during her trial for treason, February I7, 1949. Courtesy of AP Images.

By 1940, Koischwitz had become a prominent radio official for the Hitler regime and the patron and lover of "Axis Sally" (Mildred E. Gillars), his former student at Hunter College, whose English-language broadcasts to Allied troops in Europe and North Africa were designed to convince them that it was futile to fight the German armed forces. Koischwitz headed the U.S.A. Zone of German radio, which broadcast by shortwave to the United States and to American soldiers. During World War II, he often met with Germany's foreign minister, Joachim von Ribbentrop, at Hitler's headquarters. Koischwitz and Axis Sally often visited German prisoner-of-war camps to interrogate captured American soldiers and airmen. A District of Columbia grand jury indicted Koischwitz for treason in July 1943. [32]

Although Koischwitz died in Berlin in August 1944, his protege, Axis Sally, was arrested after the war and convicted of treason in 1949 in a federal court in Washington, D.C. She testified at her trial that Koischwitz had recruited her for Nazi propaganda work in Germany. A federal judge sentenced the "supposedly glamorous radio siren" to serve ten to thirty years in prison (she served twelve). The treason conviction was based on the single count of broadcasting a program entitled Vision of Invasion shortly before D-Day, written by Professor Koischwitz. Koischwitz's script began with an announcer intoning: "The D of D-Day stands for doom ... disaster ... death ... defeat." Axis Sally assumed "the role of an American mother who talked to her soldier son in a dream and learned that he had been killed in the [Allied] invasion" of France. [33] Koischwitz had the mother tell her husband that in the invasion "etween 70 and 90 percent of our boys will be killed or crippled the rest of their lives," and that "Roosevelt has no right to go to war." [34]

[b]The Bergel-Hauptmann Case at the New Jersey College for Women


When Friedrich J. Hauptmann, the avowedly pro-Hitler chair of the German Department at New Jersey College for Women (NJC), the women's coordinate college of Rutgers University, in 1935 terminated the employment of his department's only anti-Nazi faculty member, instructor Lienhard Berge!, the resulting controversy focused national attention on the role of German departments and campus German clubs in promoting sympathy for the Third Reich. Hauptmann's dismissal of Bergel received strong backing from the NJC German Department's other faculty members, all of whom were ardent Nazi sympathizers, and from nearly all of the German majors who lived in the NJC German House. NJC's dean and the president of Rutgers upheld Hauptmann's decision. The press described both the German Department and the NJC German House in which most of the majors resided as " Nazi nests." Pressure on the Rutgers University administration from concerned legislators, and adverse publicity in the press, caused Rutgers University president Robert C. Clothier to appoint a special committee composed of five trustees to investigate Bergel's charge that his dismissal was an act of retaliation against him by his chair for refusing to conform to the department's pro-Nazi outlook. This Special Trustees Committee was chaired by J. Edward Ashmead, vice-president of the Rutgers University alumni association. During the lengthy hearings it conducted, the Trustees Committee displayed hostility toward Bergel and others who spoke out forcefully against Nazism and displayed a very complacent attitude toward the German Department's pro-Hitler outlook.

Antisemitism was commonplace in the NJC administration, which imposed a strict quota to limit the admission of Jewish students. In 1930, NJC's acceptance rate for Jewish applicants was about half that of non-Jews: 31 percent as opposed to 61 percent. During the 1920s, the administration implemented measures similar to those used by Harvard, Yale, Columbia, and the Seven Sisters colleges to restrict Jewish admissions. These included requiring applicants to provide place of birth and full names of both parents, along with a photograph, and to list extracurricular activities, including "church work." The administration also gave significant weight to recommendations from principals and alumni that included comments on the candidate's personality and "moral character." It relied on such factors to screen out academically qualified Jewish candidates as not sufficiently "well-rounded." [35]

Mabel Douglass, dean of NJC from its founding in 1918 until 1932, complained that too many Jews had been "inadvertently admitted on academic grading solely." Characterizing many of the Jewish students as "crude," she complained that they had caused the "finest girls" to transfer. Douglass's successor as permanent dean, Margaret T. Corwin, shared her views, and in 1936 she persuaded the trustees to limit the proportion of commuters in the student body to 25 percent. This served to further reduce Jewish enrollment because the percentage of Jewish students who commuted was more than double that of non-Jews: 68 percent as opposed to 30 percent. Corwin's father, Robert N. Corwin, as director of Yale University's admissions board from 1920 to 1933, had been instrumental in developing policies there to restrict Jewish admissions. [36]

Complaints by New Jersey Jews about discrimination against Jewish applicants at Rutgers and NJC caused the Rutgers Board of Regents to hold hearings on the issue in 1931. Ten Jewish organizations representing about 200,000 citizens charged that Rutgers, as a defacto state university that received substantial state appropriations and "the apex of the public school system," had violated New Jersey civil rights law prohibiting discrimination on the basis "of race, creed, or color in furnishing facilities at colleges and universities within the State." A committee representing the Jewish organizations documented in a brief that Rutgers had rejected many Jews from Elizabeth, New Brunswick, and Perth Amboy high schools in favor of non-Jews with much inferior records. [37]

Fraser Metzger, dean of Rutgers College, and other members of the Rutgers University administration emphatically denied that the university had ever discriminated against Jews. Julius Kass, the Perth Amboy attorney who initiated the case, testified that Dean Metzger told him in October 1930 that the administration was determined to maintain a quota limiting Jews to about 15 percent of the student body to prevent Rutgers from becoming "like C.C.N.Y." Kass asked Dean Metzger to consider a hypothetical case in which a Jewish student in the top quarter of his preparatory class and a non-Jewish student in the lower three-quarters both applied for admission when the Jewish quota was already filled, and to tell him which he would admit. Dean Metzger answered "without hesitation" that he would admit only the non-Jewish student. Dr. William B. Gourley, a member of the Rutgers board of trustees, termed Kass's charges "perfect nonsense." [38]

The Rutgers administration insisted it was not discriminating, arguing that it was necessary to preserve geographical balance within the state and to ensure that no ethnic group was admitted in proportions significantly higher than its percentage in the state population. The Nazis used a similar argument in 1933 in restricting Jewish admissions to German universities to 1 percent, their proportion in the German population. The Rutgers administration claimed that Jews, 6 percent of the state's population, composed 12 percent of the student body. Moreover, it maintained that the student body "should be composed of students in fair proportion from all parts of the state." This meant that the administration had the right to reject applicants from northern New Jersey high schools in which Jews were disproportionately represented in favor of those with inferior records from southern New Jersey counties that contained very few Jews. Only the Admissions Committee of Rutgers University possessed the requisite judgment to properly select candidates. The Admissions Committee had been "carefully selected" and its members were "men of high character and long experience." The Jewish organizations' "misunderstanding" arose from their "erroneous assumption that scholastic standing is the sole test" in the college admissions process. [39] Despite the hearings, the Rutgers andNJC administrations maintained this outlook toward Jewish admissions throughout the decade.

NJC and Rutgers discriminated against Jews in faculty hiring as well. There were at most four Jews on the NJC faculty during the mid-1930s, two of whom were German refugees hired in the Music Department in September 1934. There were very few Jews on the faculties of the Rutgers men's colleges. Evalyn Clark, assistant professor of classical languages, in 1935 testified before the Trustees Committee appointed to consider the dismissal of Lienhard Bergel that she had heard NJC dean Mabel Douglass declare that she would not have a Jew on her faculty. [40]

During the 1930s, non-Jewish professors at NJC at times injected crude antisemitic comments into classroom discussions. Marion Siegel Friedman, who attended NJC from 1935 to 1939, recalled in 1986 that she still felt "hatred and revulsion" for her European literature professor because he endorsed in class the medieval charge that Jews ritually murdered Christian children around Easter time to reenact the crucifixion and mock Jesus. The professor had assigned the class the tale of Little Hugh of Lincoln, a Christian boy whom Jews in England had been accused of murdering for this purpose in 1255 C.E. The bizarre Christian ritual murder fantasy, often combined with the blood libel accusation, claiming that Jews extracted the child's blood to mix with matzoh consumed at Passover, resulted in the torture and execution of many innocent Jews. The professor, in discussing the tale in class, had told the students "that there must be some truth to the charge of Jews sacrificing a Christian child for making Passover matzoh." [41]

No sooner had Hitler assumed power in Germany than members of the JC and Rutgers German departments were extolling Nazi achievements in public forums on and off campus. Dr. Emil Leopold Jordan, instructor in German at NJC, speaking at a meeting of theNJC League of Women Voters in March 1933, declared that Hitler had rescued Germany from a republican system that had left her "worse off than ever." Hitler had unified a nation divided by thirty-six quarreling political parties. He was a man of high moral character, a vegetarian who did not smoke or drink, committed to combating corruption. Jordan concluded his speech by accusing the American press of presenting distorted accounts of German conditions. [42]

Presaging the conflict that later erupted over theNJC German Department's Nazi orientation, Lienhard Bergel, who, in addition to being the only department member opposed to Hitler, was a non-Jewish German native, challenged Jordan's defense of the Nazi government in the question period. According to Bergel, the next day the NJC German department chair, Professor Friedrich]' Hauptmann, "rebuked him for spoiling the good effect of Dr. Jordan's speech." Alice Schlimbach, assistant professor of German and director of the NJC German House, later testified that Bergel's anti-Nazi remarks during the question period had angered students at the German House, precipitating "small riots." She reported that "the girls could not respect a man who spoke in such a disrespectful way about his own country." One student called Bergel "unethical." Another complained that he had made the German department "look like a scrapping place." [43]

Jean M. Earle, who lived in the German House for three years and graduated from NJC in 1934, in 1935 described Dr. Jordan's presentation at the League of Women Voters forum as "a very interesting talk on how Hitler came into power and why the German people were against a certain class of Jews." She said that the students in attendance objected to "hav[ing] that meeting spoiled by Mr. Berge! constantly contradicting Dr. Jordan." The students" had gone to hear Dr. Jordan talk about Hitler and instead had to listen to Mr. Bergel talk against Hitler." [44]

A student who attended the lecture testified in 1935 at the Special Trustees Committee hearings that Jordan had made explicitly antisemitic comments in answer to a question from the floor about Nazi treatment of Jews. The witness had taken notes at the lecture and said that the NJC student newspaper, Campus News, had not reported the antisemitic comments. She quoted Jordan as having said that "the Jews should be kept in their place," and that they "should only be employed in the various positions in their proportion to the population." The Special Trustees Committee summary of the hearings stated that "Dr. Jordan said he did not recall" making the remark that "Jews should be kept in their place." [45]

The same evening as Professor Jordan's League of Women Voters presentation, Associate Professor Albert Holzmann of the Rutgers German Department spoke in favor of Hitler at a symposium on the current situation in Germany sponsored by the Rutgers Liberal Club. Holzmann denied that the Nazis had committed antisemitic atrocities, blaming the American press for printing propaganda to besmirch the German people's "fair name." What was remarkable was the very infrequency of antisemitic incidents, considering that a "tremendous revolution" had taken place in Germany. Holzmann credited the Nazi leadership for the alleged lack of violence, claiming that it had ordered its followers "to harm no Jew." He insisted that there was no reason for anyone to protest against the Hitler regime. [46]

Although another speaker, Rabbi Nathaniel Keller, urged that people denounce antisemitic discrimination in Germany, the speaker following him, Dr. Milton J. Hoffman of New Brunswick Theological Seminary, argued that no protest take place until "a thorough investigation of the facts" had been conducted. Hoffman claimed that the Jews were in part responsible for any mistreatment they suffered, because, unlike other "races," they refused to assimilate when they settled in "a foreign country." He declared that "Jews remain Jews and cannot become otherwise." [47]

During the discussion period, NJC German Department chair Friedrich Hauptmann defended Nazi Germany's policy toward Jews, arguing that the Hitler regime was concerned only about Jews who had migrated to Germany from the East after the World War. Hauptmann charged that many of the Jews were contributing to "Socialist and Communist" subversion. Moving into Berlin in large numbers, they rendered many native Germans homeless. [48]

Professor Holzmann aggressively promoted the Hitler regime during the next months. Speaking before the Rutgers chapter of the Phi Beta Kappa Society in early May 1933, he declared that he "was 85 percent in approval of Hitler and the Nazi regime" and praised the Fuehrer for uniting the German people. He told the New Brunswick, New Jersey, Daily Home News in late May that Hitler was the savior of Germany, who had put a quarter of a million Germans back to work. Holzmann denounced the German Social Democrats for signing the Treaty of Versailles, which he claimed had "subject[ed] Germany to more humiliating and cruel conditions than any other country in recent civilization has been forced to bear." Ignoring the Nazi students' intense anti-intellectualism, reflected in the massive book burnings they staged that month at universities across the Reich, Holzmann identified the disproportionate involvement of students "and those interested in education" as a particularly impressive feature of the German Nazi party. [49]

NJC students majoring in German who traveled in Nazi Germany during 1933 and 1934 presented glowing accounts of Hitler's achievements in the campus press. Marion Kelley, Class of 1934, returned in the fall of 1933 from fourteen months of study at the University of Berlin impressed with Germany's "earnest and serious" students. She was struck by the "cleanliness and neatness" of German cities, with their "beautiful, well-kept gardens." [50] Margarethe Varga, Class of 1935, who had studied in Germany during the 1933-34 academic year, told the NJC German Club in September 1934 to disregard American press reports of street violence in the Third Reich. She reported that an "air of peace" prevailed there. Varga said that she had been impressed by the way all Germans, even little children, saluted their friends with the greeting "Heil Hitler," a sign of the national unity the Nazis had forged. [51]

In an April 1936 article published in a Jewish magazine, Lienhard Bergel explained that Nazi faculty in the NJC German Department made special arrangements for the students traveling to Germany for study to maximize their chances of being influenced by Nazi ideology. One of the aziNJC professors would personally select a German host family for the student to reside with when abroad that was particularly committed to Nazism. The professor justified his or her personal involvement in the placement by explaining that it was for the purpose of making sure that the student was exposed to a "genuinely German atmosphere."

Bergel considered NJC's financing student travel to the Third Reich by collecting money in the German classes to be the most scandalous aspect of the college's study in Germany program. He noted that" [e]very student in the [German] department is obliged to make weekly contributions for this fund." Although the German Department presented the contributions as voluntary, students were under strong pressure to make them, because the collections were conducted under their professors' supervision. Bergel emphasized that the German faculty expected the Jewish students to contribute along with the non-Jewish. Questions about whether a student really had to contribute, or why the students were not sent to study in a German-speaking country not under Nazi control, like Switzerland or Austria, only "provoker d] the anger of the teacher" and retaliation against the person asking it. [52]

In December 1934 the NJC student newspaper Campus News published sections of a letter it had received from Elaine Zischkau, Class of 1936, the recipient of the 1934-35 NJC German scholarship, who was enrolled at the University of Berlin, full of enthusiasm for the "new Germany." Zischkau extolled Adolf Hitler as a leader "deeply respected by the older people and adored by the younger" in Germany. After years of "growing misery and disunion" under the Social Democrats, the German people had rallied to Hitler, who "offered a new life of which they can be proud." He was determined to forge Germans into one people, and to restore their self-respect. The Nazis were "trying so hard to create a new and better Germany out of the old." They were "so desperately sincere." To be sure, they had made "occasional errors." But it was impossible "in a revolution of this size" not to do so. [53]

Zischkau angrily denounced the American press for what she called its "savage and unjust attacks" on Nazi Germany. American reporters who had never been to "the new Germany" wrote about it "with absolutely no understanding of the situation." Zischkau singled out a recent Collier's editorial that declared that "[i]t was Germany's misfortune and the world's misfortune" that Hitler had assumed power. She strongly resented that such "stupid" and "malicious" articles influenced American perceptions of the Third Reich. [54]

Zischkau became embroiled in a fevered exchange in the Campus News when a letter to the editor signed only "Member of '36" denounced her as a propagandist for Hitler. Member of '36 charged that Zischkau could not possibly understand what was really taking place in Germany when the persons with whom she was in contact were "either themselves committing the crimes of the Nazis" or were "in fear of their lives if they tell the truth." [55]

Zischkau responded in the Campus News by declaring that she was just "doing [her] part in attempting to destroy this picture of Germany as a land of fear and lies." During her months in the Third Reich she had seen "a government helping its people." The Nazis had united the Germans and made it possible for them "to gain pleasure from music and travel ... [and] to gain an equal standing with the people of other nations." [56]

Lienhard Bergel probably had Elaine Zischkau in mind when he wrote in 1936 that it was almost inevitable that a student would return from a year in the Third Reich feeling sympathy for the Hitler regime, given how college study in Germany programs were structured. Arriving in Germany at an impressionable age, the American student came into contact with Nazis almost exclusively. The student's college German Department arranged for her to reside with a pro-Nazi German family. She was enrolled in courses at a German university where "she heard the official  Nazi doctrines explained." The professors whose lectures she attended all presented their subjects "from the Nazi angle." No wonder that she "writes letters to the College paper during her stay which are full of praise for the Nazis." Bergel noted that American exchange students continued their pro-Nazi propaganda activities after they returned from Germany. Nazi sympathizers on the German Department faculty referred other students to her to learn "first-hand" about the virtues of the Third Reich. [57]

Professor Emily Hickman of the NJC History Department echoed these paeans to the Third Reich when she returned from the Carl Schurz Tour of Germany that the Nazi government had arranged for American academics for the summer of 1934. Professor Hickman emphasized that "something positive was going on" in the Third Reich and sharply criticized American press coverage as biased and inaccurate. She endorsed the labor camp service the Hitler regime required of students before they entered universities for drawing together youth of different backgrounds, thereby supposedly reducing class divisions. The labor camp also served as an arena in which a prospective student could display character and leadership qualities important in gaining admission to a university. Hickman found much to admire in the Nazi government's higher education policies, which she suggested provided better preparation for modern society's challenges. She explained that "[t]he new [ Nazi] system criticizes the highly specialized scholarship of Germany as divorced from life, and believes that higher education should be aimed more nearly at ... character education and an education fitting the student to deal with the problems met in life." The reduction in the number of students admitted was necessary to alleviate overcrowding in the professions. [58]
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Re: The Third Reich in the Ivory Tower: Complicity and Confl

Postby admin » Thu Aug 02, 2018 8:05 pm

Part 2 of 2

The NJC and Rutgers German departments energetically promoted the film of the Carl Schurz Foundation Tour of Nazi Germany that the Hitler government arranged for American academics in the summer of 1934. The film was produced by the Nazi government's Universum-Film Aktiengesellschaft (UFA) studio. The Hitler regime distributed it to American colleges and universities that participated in the tour for campus showings, to present a favorable image of the Third Reich to students and faculty members. The president of Rutgers University, Robert C. Clothier, wrote to Professor Albert Holzmann that he hoped to attend a campus showing. Clothier and Holzmann agreed that proceeds derived from renting the film outside the university would be allocated to send a member of the Rutgers or NJC German Club to study in Germany. [59]

Holzmann informed President Clothier on March 13,1935, that the first campus screening of the film was "a splendid success." It was "a university affair," sponsored by both the Rutgers and NJC German departments. Professor Hickman assisted the German departments in distributing tickets. According to Holzmann the audience was "large and enthusiastic." [60]

Not only was President Clothier very supportive of the German departments' efforts to expose Americans on and off campus to a Nazi propaganda film produced by the Hitler regime, but several months later he declined an opportunity to publicly support German refugees. In December 1935 Clothier refused Director Alvin Johnson's appeal to join the Advisory Committee he was organizing for the Graduate Faculty of Political and Social Science at the New School for Social Research in New York City. In 1933, Clothier had agreed to be a sponsor of a plan to establish a University in Exile to be staffed by German refugee scholars who had fled to the United States. Serving as a member of the Graduate Faculty's Advisory Committee required no obligation other than to provide occasional advice. All that Johnson really asked of Clothier was his "moral support" for the University in Exile. Nonetheless, Clothier replied to Johnson that it was "inadvisable" for him to join the Advisory Committee. [61]

In the fall of 1933, NJC German Department chair Friedrich J. Hauptmann informed Lienhard Bergel, an instructor hired in February 1932 and the department's lone anti-Nazi, that he would not be retained after June 1935. The Rutgers University trustees had adopted a three-year term limit for instructors during the 1932-33 academic year. Acting NJC dean Albert Meder, who had replaced Mabel Douglass, approved Hauptmann's decision. His successor, Dean Corwin, determined that the German Department could not afford to employ five faculty members, two of whom were instructors, in part because of an anticipated decline in German course enrollments. Hauptmann recommended that the other instructor, the pro-Nazi Emil Jordan, who had been at NJC since 1931, be retained, and not Berge!. After conferring with President Clothier, Dean Corwin wrote to Bergel on May 23, 1934, saying that NJC would terminate his employment in June 1935. [62]

Besides the instructors Bergel and Jordan, the NJC German Department in 1934 consisted of associate professor Hauptmann, chair since 1931; assistant professor Alice Schlimbach; and Marie Hauptmann, the chair's wife, who was classified as "assistant," a temporary position, although she taught at NJC for eight years, until June 1937. Schlimbach had been director of the German House since its establishment in the fall of 1929, and she resided there. All were German nationals educated in Germany. Jordan, who had been in the United States only since 1930, was the only department member with a Ph.D. (in economics, not literature). [63]

Lienhard Bergel's appointment in February 1932 as instructor in the NJC German Department had been arranged by his fiancee, Sylvia Cook, who persuaded Dean Mabel Douglass to turn over Cook's position to him. Bergel came to NJC with "superb recommendations" from the University of Breslau, where he had done his graduate work, and from Professor William A. Braun of Barnard, under whom Sylvia Cook had studied. Cook, a Barnard alumna and graduate exchange student at the University of Breslau in Germany from 1928 to 1931, began teaching at NJC in the fall semester of 1931. She had met Lienhard Bergel at the University of Breslau, in Professor Paul Merker's seminar on German literature. They became engaged in Germany and were married shortly after Bergel assumed the NJC instructorship. In Breslau, Bergel prepared for his Staatsexamen, required of those entering college teaching, and passed it with distinction in 1930. [64]

Cook was one of the few exchange students at Breslau who feared that Nazism constituted a serious long-term threat in Germany, a view Bergel shared. Bergel was not a member of any political party, and Cook described him during his Breslau student days as "having no interest in politics" except that, like Cook, he found Nazism "deeply abhorrent." Neither Bergel nor Cook was Jewish. Bergel had been raised a Lutheran, but neither he nor Cook attended church. Cook's father was a professor at the University of Cincinnati and her mother "an old-fashioned New England type, staunchly Republican." [65]

During the period Bergel and Cook were studying in Breslau, the Nazis became increasingly visible there, and the couple witnessed or heard about  Nazi beatings of persons considered a threat to "racial purity." Breslau, situated near Poland, had a significant Jewish population. Cook recalled watching Nazi youths marching in a park near the Coenaculum, a house run by Catholic nuns for women students where she resided, and then fanning out into Breslau, attacking Jews and other "undesirable[s]." The Nazi youths' "weapon of choice" in these beatings was a "Gummiknueppel," a word Cook said she had not learned in her Barnard German courses -- a length of pipe encased in rubber hose. [66]

From the time of Cook's arrival in Breslau in October 1928, she had been deeply disturbed by the chauvinism and militarism expressed by Germans she encountered. Cook, who spoke fluent German, had come to Germany "with happy expectations" shaped by her admiration for German literature, music, and philosophy. The new American exchange student received her first shock when the director of the Coenaculum, a nun called Mutter Bischoff, presiding at a party for Cook, delivered her welcoming address. Mutter Bischoff proclaimed that day a great one for Germany, because it had just launched its first armed cruiser and taken "the first step toward the eventual destruction of England." Cook became "quickly aware of the forces at work around [her]" and read Hitler's Mein Kampf carefully, along with the local newspaper, Breslauer Neueste Nachrichten. Foreseeing the "impending catastrophe," Cook arranged to get her fiance out of Germany to the United States and gave up her position at NJC for him. [67]

Sylvia Cook Bergel recalled in 1992 that German Department chair Friedrich Hauptmann was "jealous and abominated Lienhard [Bergel] from the start," making his life at NJC "a misery." Hauptmann detested Bergel's anti-Nazism and probably felt intellectually intimidated by the younger man. [68]

Hauptmann's academic limitations were clearly revealed when, having received a leave of absence with full pay from the NJC administration, he traveled to Nazi Germany, where the University of Marburg awarded him a Ph.D. for a sixty-nine-page dissertation that he completed, along with some other doctoral requirements, in only five months. He did not even work full time on the dissertation because the leave of absence was granted in part so that he could visit spas in Germany to improve his health. The dissertation, "Eine wissenschaftliche Kritik des Standes des deutschen Unterrichts an den High Schools und Colleges der Vereinigten Staaten" (" A Scholarly Critique of German Instruction at the High Schools and Colleges of the United States"), drew on only "a handful of secondary sources" and some questionnaires Hauptmann mailed to state departments of education, which he may not have used. David Oshinsky, Richard P. McCormick, and Daniel Horn, in their 1989 investigation of the Bergel dismissal, The Case of the Nazi Professor, called Hauptmann's dissertation, "a dreadful piece of work." It was "loaded ... with pro-Nazi statements." [69]

Bergel later described the Rutgers administration's role in the leave of absence as scandalous. He noted that during Hauptmann's five months in Germany he not only wrote his dissertation but prepared for and passed his oral examination "and had still time enough to improve his health in a fashionable watering resort." The worst part of it, he said, was that this had occurred with the administration's full knowledge and approval. It had granted him the leave knowing his expressed purpose and had provided him with his entire salary. [70]

Dean Corwin challenged Lienhard Bergel's assertion that German Ph.D. degrees were equivalent only to American M.A. degrees and claimed that there was "nothing exceptional" in Hauptmann's having completed a dissertation and other doctoral requirements in "only five months." She noted that the University of Marburg had awarded him his degree cum laude. Besides, it was "a little difficult to evaluate European degrees." [71]

In justifying Bergel's termination, Hauptmann and Corwin, besides citing the three-year rule for instructors, criticized Bergel's teaching and his lack of attendance at German Department meetings and unwillingness to have meals at the German table in the campus dining hall. In her report to the trustees, Corwin also complained that Bergel, who had been teaching for only three years, had not yet published any of his work. It was in the same report that she defended as academically legitimate Hauptmann's poorly researched sixty-nine-page dissertation from the Nazified University of Marburg. Hauptmann also charged that Berge! had reneged on an agreement that he live in New Brunswick and instead commuted to campus from Cranford, New Jersey, as a result of which he "never participated in social activities," including those of the German Club and German House. Hauptmann and Corwin both claimed that Bergel's anti-Nazism was not a factor in his termination. [72]

In a comment to the Special Trustees Committee, Dean Corwin appeared to dismiss the NJC German Department's Nazi orientation as a matter of concern. She reported that she had been "very much impressed" by a statement of Bergel's that his fiancee had warned him before he came to the United States "of the situation in the German Department of the New Jersey College for Women," and that his experiences during his first few weeks on the NJC faculty had "fully justified the warnings." To Dean Corwin this indicated that Berge!, who while in Germany had seen the Nazis grow into a mass movement, heard their antisemitic invective, and witnessed the impact of their savage violence, "lacked sympathetic understanding" of a college department composed entirely of German-born  Nazis. She could not understand how Bergel could have made up his mind about his "colleagues" in the German Department after only a few weeks. Corwin concluded that "[tJhe whole statement reinforced me in my opinion that the College should not retain Mr. Bergel." [73]

On April 17, 1935, about a month before the Special Trustees Committee convened the hearings, NJC students met with Dean Corwin to express concern about German Department faculty propagandizing for  Nazism in the classroom and Bergel's dismissal. Corwin informed them that a drop in German course enrollment of 20 percent from the 1933-34 to the 1934-35 academic year necessitated the elimination of one position. The students then asked Corwin why Marie Hauptmann, the chair's wife, was not let go instead of Bergel. Corwin refused to answer on the grounds that she would have to share with them confidential faculty salary information. (As aforementioned, Marie Hauptmann was classified as an assistant, a temporary position, although she remained a member of the German Department for eight years, from academic year 1929-30 through 1936-37.) [74] Students returned on May 7 and asked that Dean Corwin appoint a committee to visit all German classes to determine whether Nazi propaganda was being disseminated in them. This Corwin refused to do. [75]

On April 13, 1935, the Campus News precipitated student involvement in the Bergel controversy by publishing an editorial that praised his contribution to NJC as a teacher but accepted Corwin's argument that declining German enrollments required the elimination of his position. Several letters to the editor challenged Bergel's termination. One from "A Group of German Students" charged that the German Department's Nazi orientation discouraged many students from enrolling in German courses. In early May, Campus News advisor and former acting dean Albert Meder asked the newspaper's editor Marion Short, who had just assumed that office, not to publish letters on the Bergel dismissal, but she refused. Dean Corwin authorized Meder to tell Short that the administration would make no further statement to the Campus News on the case. Short also printed letters from students and alumni supporting Hauptmann.  [76] The previous editor, Frances Williams, later testified that Meder had summoned her to his office to tell her he was displeased that Short was publishing letters to the editor on the Bergel case, and that he might remove her for doing so. [77]

Alan Silver, a Rutgers student and Bergel supporter, informed reporter Frederick E. Woltman of the New York World-Telegram about the controversy, and Woltman produced a story describing the anti-fascist Bergel's isolation in a German Department consisting entirely of Nazis. This generated enormous press interest in the case. Silver also secured an interview for Bergel with the Committee on Academic Freedom of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) in New York, which included Roger Baldwin, Reinhold Niebuhr, Horace Kallen, and Sidney Hook. As a result of the interview, the ACLU decided to investigate and notified President Clothier of its concern. It also suggested that if it determined that the German Department had violated Bergel's academic freedom and had disseminated Nazi propaganda, it would ask the New Jersey legislature to withhold funds from Rutgers. Press coverage, ACLU involvement, and the efforts of the Bergels and their student backers to enlist support from anti-Nazi state legislators and New Brunswick assemblymen brought the case to a wider public. [78]

The five-person Special Trustees Committee that President Clothier selected was dominated by its chair, Newark attorney J. Edward Ashmead, Class of 1897; New York City attorney and clubman Philip M. Brett, Class of 1892, a former Rutgers football captain and acting president of Rutgers from 1930 to 1932; and John Wycoff Mettler, Class of 1899, founder and president of the Interwoven Stocking Company. Mettler also served on the Board of Managers of the Delaware & Hudson Railroad. All were longtime Rutgers trustees. None of the five members of the committee was a scholar or a teacher. Sylvia C. Bergel in 1988 ridiculed the notion of a man like Mettler, described as "a giant in the field of sock manufacture," serving on the committee. She recalled that Mettler brought socks manufactured in his hosiery mill to the hearings and distributed them to friends. [79]

Sylvia C. Bergellater described the Special Trustees Committee as "an ingrown little group of lawyers and business men closely related to the interests of Rutgers University," and not likely to be objective. In her view it "should have included at least one person of academic experience," as well as someone not affiliated with Rutgers. [80]

Testifying on the first day of the hearings, Bergel charged that Hauptmann's motive in terminating him was his having expressed opposition to  Nazism at campus forums, beginning with his challenge to Emil Jordan in March 1933. Bergel said that Hauptmann had told him he would not have hired him in February 1932 if he had known that Bergel would refuse to support Hitler when he became chancellor. He accused Hauptmann of propagandizing for Nazism in the classroom, and of having made antisemitic statements to students. Berge! declared that Dean Corwin had warned him that if he insisted on a hearing to contest his dismissal, the administration would not provide him with letters of recommendation for a position elsewhere. [81]

Testifying himself a few days later, Hauptmann denied that he propagandized in class, but he did state that "there are some good sides to Nazism," and that he had during class "corrected errors in newspaper reports" about Nazi Germany. [82] He told the committee that he was "inclined to discount" many of the American press reports of Nazi atrocities. Hauptmann claimed not to know whether the Nazi government had deprived Jews of civil and political rights, or whether they had removed Jewish professors from universities or burned books by Jewish authors. He praised, however, what he called the Nazis' "destruction of all obscene books in German libraries." [83]

Hauptmann admitted that he had told German Department faculty members not to speak about what was happening in Germany because "there was no first-hand information available." He claimed that only Bergel disregarded his instructions. Hauptmann informed the committee that he heard that students residing in the German House had said they "were 'disgusted' with Dr. Bergel's criticism of German officials." [84]

Many NJC students made their views known by signing petitions backing Bergel or Hauptmann. A letter signed by "seventy German students," whose names were not listed, was published in the Campus News on May 8, denying that German Department faculty propagandized for Nazism in the classroom. Irene Patterson, Class of 1936, who had taken courses with both Bergel and the Hauptmanns and identified herself as the only resident of the German House who was not pro-Nazi, testified that Marjorie Fricke, Class of 1935, president of the German Club, had solicited signatures for the letter in Marie Hauptmann's class. She stated that Ms. Hauptmann had left the room while students passed around the petition, suggesting that German Department faculty had acted in collusion with Fricke to obtain signatures. Evelyn Engle, Class of 1937, testified that the petition was circulated in all the German classes except for Bergel's. Vivien Sigel, Class of 1938, told the committee that in her class Professor Jordan had immediately walked out when Fricke arrived, without speaking with her. Sigel stated that this was a clear indication Jordan knew Fricke was coming. [85]

Bergel's supporters in the NJC student body, responding to the German House letter, secured the signatures of 405 of NJC's 892 students on a petition that praised his teaching and described him as a "thoroughly competent" faculty member. Believing Jewish students had orchestrated the campaign for Bergel, the NJC administration sought to determine how many of those signing the petition were Jews. [86]

During twenty-nine hearings that extended into late July 1935, more than sixty witnesses appeared before the Trustees Committee in support of Bergel, including eleven faculty members, three of whom were department heads (classics, political science, and Italian), as well as students and alumni. About half of these students and alumni were Jewish. [87] Bergel's witnesses, besides testifying to his competency as a teacher, emphasized that chairman Hauptmann and the other pro-Nazi members of the NJC German Department sometimes propagandized for the Hitler regime in class and suppressed criticism of it from students. Some stated that Hauptmann and other department members specifically defended Hitler's antisemitic policies. The implication was that the German Department would not tolerate an opponent of Nazism on its faculty. Student witnesses described Alice Schlimbach, director of the NJC German House, as a passionate supporter of Hitler who presided over a " Nazi nest." Some also presented specific evidence of Marie Hauptmann's incompetence as a teacher in an effort to convince the Committee that the administration, if it desired to reduce the budget, should have terminated her rather than Bergel.

Faculty witnesses for Bergel described the NJC German Department as a tightly knit group of Nazi sympathizers that tolerated no opposition to the Hitler regime. Frederick E. Woltman, who later won three Pulitzer prizes, reporting on the hearings for the New York World-Telegram, declared that the "gravity and sincerity" of some of these witnesses was "so apparent as to make an obvious impression" on those hearing them. [88] Miriam West, professor of economics at NJC for eight years, stated that the German Department, with its chair, Professor Hauptmann, acting as "dictator," was tightly coordinated in the manner of the Nazi government. Professor West testified that Hauptmann had told her that Nazi Germany was right "in shutting out the Jews to prevent them from gaining control of the country." Professor Shirley Smith, head of NJC's Classics Department, charged that Hauptmann ran the German Department with military regimentation. [89] Professor William Oncken, head of NJC's Italian Department, stated that Hauptmann represented "all that is most despicable in Germany" at that time. [90] Evalyn Clark, instructor in classics, testified that she had heard Hauptmann and his wife defend Nazi antisemitism at a dinner party she attended. [91] Mildred Moulton, assistant professor of political science, noted that the concept of academic freedom would be alien to any passionate supporter of Nazism such as Professor Hauptmann. [92]

Several students testified that Hauptmann had injected Nazi propaganda into classroom lectures and discussion and silenced those who tried to rebut it. An NJC senior stated in a letter to the Committee that Hauptmann's propagandizing in class was "very insidious and continuous." It consisted of a "steady flow of remarks." When students protested his claims that Jews had ruled pre-Hitler Germany by controlling its financial system and had no right to live in Germany, he abruptly "closed the discussion." The senior emphasized that the German Department chair became "very emotional and fanatical" when making these allegations. She asserted that Hauptmann's "definite Nazi bias" was "particularly dangerous because he immediately squelches all opposition." [93] Sylvia Silverman, Class of 1934, described Hauptmann bringing German and French newspapers to class to convince the students that the French were building up armaments and that Germany therefore deserved to rearm. When a trustee asked, "Who did most of the discussing?" Silverman replied, "Herr Hauptmann talked and we listened." She also recalled Hauptmann's defending in class the Nazi policy of relegating women to the home. [94]

Adele Lubman, an NJC sophomore, similarly testified to Hauptmann's aggressive championing of Nazism and refusal to tolerate dissent from students. She declared that he spoke in class of how Hitler was making Germany "a strong, good nation," praising "what he was doing for the people." Lubman stated that Hauptmann never showed approval for anything Jews ever did in Germany, although some students tried to bring to his attention significant Jewish contributions to German culture. When Hudson County assemblyman Samuel Pesin, who was permitted to question witnesses, asked Lubman whether any member of the class had tried to ask Hauptmann about Nazi persecution of Jews, she replied, "Yes, but it was impossible to get anywhere." Lubman stated that Hauptmann tried to stifle in class any opinion that he opposed. [95]

Dorothy Venook, Class of 1934, a German minor who had taken four years of German, including courses with both Hauptmann and Bergel, recalled that Hauptmann had condemned in class the March 1934 anti-Nazi rally in Madison Square Garden that had featured presentations by Al Smith, Senator Millard Tydings, Rabbi Stephen S. Wise, Chancellor Harry Woodburn Chase of New York University, and other prominent opponents of Nazism. She testified that Hauptmann had also denounced the Treaty of Versailles and Germany's disarmament in class. Venook asserted that there was "a definite anti-Semitic feeling" in the German Department. She, like the other witnesses who spoke in Bergel's behalf, described him as a "very competent" teacher. [96]

In 1986, Marion Siegel Friedman, who observed Hauptmann both in the classroom and at the German table in the NJC dining hall, recalled his propagandizing for Hitler among students. His manner was aggressive; he "roared frequently," which sometimes terrified the young women. Friedman recalled that Hauptmann insisted to her that "the newspapers lied" about the Third Reich. If she joined the student tour he led to Germany during the summer vacations, he would demonstrate to her that the Nazis were not antisemitic. Friedman refused Hauptmann's "repeated invitation." [97]

Other students testified that Alice Schlimbach, assistant professor of German, behaved in a similar manner to Hauptmann in class and in the NJC German House, which she directed. All German majors were required to live for at least a year in the German House. Naomi Parness, Class of 1934, stated that Schlimbach on several occasions told her German language class "how wonderful Nazism was," and that she had denied that Hitler was antisemitic. Mary Atwood, who resided at the NJC German House, told the Committee that she had seen several of the students there sing the Nazi party anthem, the Horst Wessel Lied. Atwood testified that the Horst Wessel Lied came first in a book of songs of the Sturmabteilung (SA), the Nazi storm troopers, which was available in the German House. Margarethe Varga had obtained the songbook as an exchange student in Germany and brought it back to NJC. She recalled that "about five songs" in the book made "special reference ... to doing away with the Jewish race in Germany." [98] Atwood stated that because she publicly supported Bergel's reinstatement she had become "an outcast and pariah" at the German House. [99]

Bartlett Cowdrey, Class of 1933, told the Committee that Marie Hauptmann was "the most incompetent instructor" she had ever had at NJC. She expressed astonishment that the administration would terminate Lienhard Bergel, whom she called a "scholar of the first rank," and instead retain Marie Hauptmann, his "inferior both in educational background and as a teacher." Cowdrey had taken intermediate German with Ms. Hauptmann. Two sections of this course were offered, one taught by Ms. Hauptmann and one by Berge!. Cowdrey stated that most of the students were pleased to have been assigned to Ms. Hauptmann's section, because "she was known to be the easiest member of the German department." The class met three days a week, on Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday, but Ms. Hauptmann often did not show up on Saturday. If she did, most of the students were absent anyway. Ms. Hauptmann made little effort to check student attendance. Even at the end of the year, she was unsure of students' names, and her English was so poor she could only pronounce the German ones. Cowdrey claimed that Ms. Hauptmann's examinations "were a farce" and doubted that she even factored them into the final grade. When a student was shown to be unprepared during class recitation or translation, Ms. Hauptmann never made any comment, even to "habitual offender[sj." Cowdrey noted that the course grades "were exceedingly high for the negligible amount of class room work" Ms. Hauptmann required. [100]

Theresa Kunst, president of the NJC League of Women Voters and senior class advisor, also described Ms. Hauptmann as incompetent. Whereas the chair's wife made "swell cake," as a teacher she "couldn't get it across." [101]

Isabelle Shackell, Class of 1934, a non-Jew, stated to the committee that she believed Ms. Hauptmann may have failed her in a German course because she believed Shackell was Jewish. Shackell later received a high grade when she repeated the course in summer school. Ms. Hauptmann told Shackell when she inquired about her grade that she had missed too many classes during Jewish holidays. [102]

Professor Hauptmann during his nearly five days of testimony presented a very benign view of Nazi Germany. The German Department chair stated that the Hitler regime was not spreading propaganda, explaining that many Americans were confused about this issue because they interpreted the word differently from Germans. He claimed that, in Germany, propaganda meant simply "a statement of facts." [103]

Hauptmann's student witnesses presented similar testimony. Two-thirds of them were members of the German Club and lived, or had lived, in the German House. (Only three of Bergel's student witnesses had lived there.) Margarethe Varga, Class of 1935, an exchange student in Germany during the 1933-34 academic year, told the committee that she cherished a framed etching of Adolf Hitler on display in her room. She liked the Fuehrer both as "a dictator and a man." Varga characterized support for Bergel at NJC as an "organized Jewish" movement. Bergel's counsel, Sidney Kaplan, demonstrated, however, that two of the three NJC students Varga had named as leaders in the campaign against termination were non-Jews. Other pro-Hauptmann students attributed support for Bergel to Jews whose perceptions about Germany were distorted by an excessive sensitivity about antisemitism. [104]

Perhaps the most striking feature of the hearings was the Special Trustees Committee's lack of concern about Nazism in Germany and at NJC, its bias against anti-Hitler witnesses, and its obvious sympathy for Hauptmann. Compounding the problem for Bergel was the denial to his counsel of the right of oral cross-examination. They could only submit questions in writing to the committee, which often chose to rephrase those they asked. [105] About three weeks after the hearings began, Samuel Untermyer, president of the Non-Sectarian Anti-Nazi League and leader of the boycott movement against German goods, told New Jersey governor Harold G. Hoffman that he and many others were "far from satisfied with the impartiality of the Board of Trustees that is now taking evidence." [106] In its report on the hearings, the ACLU stated that "the Chairman and other members of the Committee" were "careful to avoid damaging evidence against Dr. Hauptmann" and had failed to "follow up points." [107] Professor Richard P. McCormick, official historian of Rutgers University and co-author of the only book-length study of the Bergel-Hauptmann case, wrote that the Special Trustees Committee was "obviously hostile" toward Bergel and those who testified in his behalf. He noted that the committee was "not disposed to inquire seriously into [the] actions of the [NJC] German Department." [108]

In questioning witnesses, the trustees appeared indifferent toward the evidence that the German Department faculty acted as advocates for the Third Reich in the classroom. Naomi Parness, Class of 1934, testified that when she challenged Alice Schlimbach's claim in class that the Nazis were not antisemitic by asking her why the Hitler regime had prohibited Jews from practicing law, exiled Jewish scholars such as Albert Einstein, and banned Felix Mendelssohn's music, Schlimbach refused to answer. Special Trustees Committee chair Ashmead then asked Parness whether Schlimbach thought Parness's question was "perhaps, a little outside of the course?" Parness shot back: "Well, the whole discussion was outside of the course." [109] Marjorie Fricke, Class of 1935, a German House resident, told the committee that she did not read newspaper articles about  Nazi Germany because Professor Emil Jordan, with whom she studied, "presented the situation [there] fairly" and told his students what they needed to know about it. A smiling Ashmead then asked her whether she believed "the newspaper stories about Germany were untrue and that is why you stopped reading the headlines?" Clearly, he was suggesting that American press accounts about Nazi persecution and violence were inaccurate. Bergel's attorney immediately objected to the manner in which Ashmead was questioning the witness. [110]

Other committee members behaved similarly. When Professor Evalyn Clark testified that Professor Hauptmann had defended Nazi antisemitism in Germany, a trustee dismissed this as irrelevant, exclaiming, "[Y]ou do not mean to say that you have ever found any antipathy towards the Jewish race on this campus?" [111]

In its report upholding Bergel's termination, the Special Trustees Committee found that "none of the classrooms" of the NJC German Department "were ever used for the purpose of spreading pro-Nazi propaganda." or had the German Club put forward such propaganda in any of its activities. The committee dismissed the significance of the German House's possessing the Sturmabteilung songbook containing the Horst Wessel Lied, which it called "a present-day popular patriotic song of Germany." It claimed that Margarethe Varga, who had brought the songbook to the German House, had never attempted to convert any of its residents to Nazism. The committee praised the students who resided in the German House as "a very intelligent group of young women." [112]

The committee was not bothered that without Bergel the German Department faculty was entirely composed of Nazi enthusiasts. It had "not the slightest doubt that each and every member" of the department was not only professionally qualified, but was a person "of unquestionable character." The committee presented Professor Hauptmann's political views as reasonable and stated that he was "not in the slightest degree anti-Semitic" despite his strong support for Nazism. This suggested that it considered Nazism a legitimate political movement, with some justification for its positions and goals. The committee implied that Hauptmann's opposition to democracy was understandable because the multiplicity of political parties in the Weimar Republic had resulted in instability. It took seriously Hauptmann's argument that he was hostile only to Polish Jews who had migrated into Germany after the World War, and therefore could not be antisemitic. The committee did not criticize his claim that this population was an alien element that did not belong in Germany and a major cause of Germany's economic distress. The trustees declared, moreover, that, having been trained as a Protestant minister, Hauptmann "strongly support[ed] the principle of religious freedom." [113]

The committee blamed not only Lienhard Berge! but Sylvia Bergel as well for causing "a lack of harmony" in the German Department. It took Lienhard to task for failing to participate in the activities of the German House, and for his irregular attendance at the German table in the dining hall, although as a principled opponent of Hitler and antisemitism, he was undoubtedly uncomfortable socializing with faculty and student supporters of Nazism. He did often eat at the French table. As a newly hired instructor, Bergel not only had a very heavy teaching load but needed to devote an enormous amount of time to preparing his courses and engaging in research that would lead to publication. The committee noted that it was "a recognized policy in college administration that in engaging a man consideration is to be given also to the personality of his wife." Like her husband, Sylvia Bergel was an outspoken anti-Nazi, and the committee agreed with Hauptmann that she did not mix well with the other members of the German Department. [114]

Ignoring student testimony to the contrary, the committee declared that "there was no improper limitation of discussion in the classrooms." Professors who had refused to allow students to respond when they praised the Hitler regime in class were only exercising "the proper discretion by the teacher to keep the discussion from becoming so controversial and extraneous as to interfere unreasonably with the regular class work." [115]

Particularly revealing was rhe committee's assessment of Professor Hauptmann's calling together the German Department faculty members in March 1933, shortly after Hitler had assumed power, and telling them not to comment on conditions in Germany because "the real facts" were not known. The committee, apparently sharing Hauptmann's mistrust of American and British press reports about Nazi Germany, called this "sane advice." [116]

The committee report concluded with a stinging rebuke to those NJC students and faculty members who had criticized the German Department's allegiance to Nazism. The only persons at NJC deserving of criticism, it claimed, were those who had "exhibited a measure of intolerance toward members of the German Department, some of whom have ventured to express a favorable point of view toward the aims and endeavors of the government of the land of their birth." [117]

Rutgers president Robert Clothier and other trustees shared the committee's lack of understanding of Nazism. Trustee August Heckscher of New York City, who had visited Nazi Germany for a month during 1934, wrote to Clothier in September 1935 strongly endorsing the committee's report on the Bergel case. Heckscher declared that his observations in Germany had led him to conclude that there was "much fault on both sides," that is, the Jews and the Nazis were about equally to blame for whatever problems beset Germany. He stated that the Hitler government had been "most harsh and inconsiderate" but had nonetheless solved "a problem that had to be solved." Comparing American Jews to the German  Nazis, Heckscher stated that "the Jewish race" had been "almost equally unwise in its aggressive and militant methods," apparently in protesting Nazi persecution in the Third Reich. All that was needed was for "the best of the Jewish race" and the "more tolerant" Nazis, "like Dr. Schacht," to sit down and discuss their differences. [118]

President Clothier replied that he was grateful for Heckscher's letter and called his comments about both Nazism and the Bergel case "highly appropriate." Clothier praised the Special Trustees Committee for conducting its investigation "with painstaking impartiality." He expressed serious concern about the "present spirit of controversy" about Nazism that was "abroad in the land." [119]

Fearing that press coverage of accusations about Nazism on the NJC German faculty might result in the New Jersey legislature reducing appropriations to Rutgers, its administration had Ms. Hauptmann step down from her position as assistant in 1937 and hired Werner Hollmann at the rank of instructor. Dean Corwin hired Hollmann after she received assurances from one of his references, President Ada Comstock of Radcliffe College, that he was not "a strong devotee of one type of government as opposed to another." Comstock explained that Hollmann, son of a Lutheran minister, was not "an adherent" of the Hitler regime but "has found it possible to live under it." She described him as "an exceptionally fine young man," [120] betraying her own unconcern about Hollmann's apparent indifference toward Nazi depredations and the strangulation of Germany's remaining Jews.

Friedrich Hauptmann himself remained an intransigent Nazi through World War II. In late 1940, with Nazi Germany having conquered most of Europe, President Clothier had Dean Corwin instruct Hauptmann not to speak about "controversial matters" in class. In what had become a very threatening geopolitical climate for the United States, Clothier feared that pro-Nazi statements by German Department faculty members could only severely embarrass Rutgers University. Hauptmann wrote to President Clothier on November 12, 1940, that he understood from his conversation with Dean Corwin that Rutgers "would welcome any renunciation on my part of espousing a cause which seems to me worthy of support" -- that is, Nazism. Because he was unwilling to do so, he concluded that the administration wanted him to resign. Hauptmann reiterated that he would not "deny or denounce" Nazi Germany. [121]

Hauptmann's decision to resign was also motivated by his severe financial indebtedness. Even though university trustees and faculty members had already lent him money, he told Corwin that unless the trustees granted him a year's leave with full salary, to be paid into a designated bank account, he would have to declare bankruptcy. [122]

On November 20, 1940, Dean Corwin conveyed to President Clothier her fear that the administration's difficulties with Hauptmann left it in "a very exposed position": "If our present action indicates that the [American] Civil Liberties Union was right in 1935, they will not hesitate to bring it out in the headlines." [123] In 1990, Bergel's widow referred to this correspondence between Corwin and Clothier as the case's "smoking gun." [124]

Hauptmann returned to Germany shortly afterward, his passage paid for at least in part by the Nazi government. There he joined the Nazi party and became the national leader of the Deutsche Akademie (German Academy) for Slovakia. Established to spread German language and culture outside Germany, it disseminated Nazi propaganda during the war. According to the Simon Wiesenthal Center, the Deutsche Akademie "served as a front for intelligence and espionage programs of the Gestapo." American soldiers arrested Hauptmann shortly after the war's end, and he was briefly imprisoned. He died in obscurity in Austria in 1978. [125]

Although the disclosure of Hauptmann's service to the Hitler regime during World War II revived public interest in the Bergel case, the Rutgers administration refused to reconsider it. President Clothier stated in June 1946 that because the Special Trustees Committee had already "carefully and conscientiously" heard all the evidence on the case in 1935 and dismissed the charges, the university considered it closed. [126] Asked by a reporter in June 1946 to comment on Hauptmann's arrest, former acting NJC dean Albert Meder, who had served as a character witness for the German Department chair when he became a naturalized U.S. citizen in March 1939, replied, "He fooled us," as though his Nazi commitment had not been clear to the administration before. [127]

In the intensely anti-Nazi climate that prevailed during the immediate postwar period, the Rutgers administration reaffirmed its support for NJC German Department chair Emil Jordan, who was on record as having endorsed the Hitler regime on campus. Dean Corwin went so far as to claim that Jordan "had not held Nazi sympathies so far as she knew." Jordan remained chair until his retirement in 1966. [128]

In 1946, the Rutgers German Department did hire the anti-Nazi Claude Hill. Hill, who had arrived in the United States as a refugee from Germany in 1938, remained in the department until about 1980. During World War II, he had analyzed German radio broadcasts for the Voice of America. Hill believed that Rutgers had appointed him "in part to refute the image of the German departments that had taken shape in the 1930S." Hill told historian Richard McCormick in 1985 that the Rutgers administration should not have terminated Lienhard Berge!. He believed it should have acknowledged that it had wronged Berge! and "made some gesture" to him after the press reported that Hauptmann had worked for the Nazis in Germany during World War II. Hill considered Emil Jordan, Alice Schlimbach, and Albert Holzmann pro-Nazi. [129]

The Jewish community lionized Bergel as a man who had risked his career to take a principled stand against Nazism. Even while the hearings were in progress, those attending the Jewish-sponsored "commencement in absentia" in Newark -- created for students in Germany who were barred from graduating from school by the Hitler regime's antisemitic legislation -- extolled Bergel for his contribution to the larger struggle against Nazism. A capacity audience at the Ezekiel Home adopted a resolution proposed by a committee of Jewish business and professional people that lauded Berge! as a "valiant non-Jewish opponent of Nazism" and demanded his reinstatement. [130] In February 1936, the Women's Division of the American Jewish Congress in New York sponsored Bergel's lecture on " Nazi Activities in American Colleges," a stinging denunciation of the Rutgers administration's tolerance for pro-Hitler propagandizing, which many Jewish newspapers and periodicals reprinted. [131] In April the Jewish Criterion of Pittsburgh stated flatly that Rutgers had dismissed Bergel "because of his pronounced anti-Nazi views." It asserted that during the Special Trustees Committee hearings "the infiltration of Nazi propaganda in the University was clearly exposed." Rabbi Stephen S. Wise, a founder of the American Jewish Congress and one of the nation's most prominent Jewish leaders, wrote to President Clothier in 1940 urging him to invite Lienhard Bergel to return to Rutgers. Wise told Clothier that he felt Professor Hauptmann had been "bitterly unjust" to Bergel. [132]

After several years outside of academia, Bergel was able to secure an instructorship in 1938 at the newly founded Queens College in New York City. He remained on its faculty until his retirement in 1974. Bergel earned a Ph.D. from New York University in 1945 and published numerous articles in the course of his career. He also received three Fulbright fellowships and participated in the Columbia University seminar on the Renaissance. Bergel was promoted to full professor in 1958 and received an appointment to the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. Thomas Mann and Benedetto Croce praised his work. [133]

The Bergel-Hauptmann case illuminates the extent of support for Nazism by German Department faculty and students in American universities during the 1930s, and the widespread unconcern about it among university trustees, who were often highly influential business leaders. Members of NJC's German faculty, including its chair, did not hesitate to make their enthusiasm for Hitler's Germany known in public forums, and there is considerable evidence that they spoke favorably about it to their students on many occasions in class. The German Department placed impressionable students in an environment in which they were very susceptible to being influenced by pro-Hitler propaganda. It required its majors to reside for at least a year in the German House, under the supervision of an ardent Nazi faculty member. Nationally prominent Jewish leader Samuel Untermyer asked New Jersey's governor for a legislative investigation of the NJC German Department, which he called "a hotbed of Nazi sedition." The 1935 convention of the New Jersey American Legion unanimously adopted a resolution calling on the legislature to investigate charges that "alien instructors" at NJC were spreading Nazi propaganda. [134]

The issues involved in Bergel's termination are complicated, but what is most alarming about the case is the administration's indifference to having an all-Nazi German Department at NJC, and the Rutgers trustees' obvious hostility to committed opponents of Nazism. Bergel, to be sure, was an instructor on a temporary position with as yet no publications, in a period when the university was experiencing financial difficulty. He had a year's less seniority than the pro-Nazi instructor Emil Jordan, who was retained and promoted to assistant professor. But Bergel was the only member of the department trained in teaching German literature. If the administration needed to eliminate a position from the German Department, a more logical choice might have been Marie Hauptmann, who had far less intellectual capability, training, and teaching ability than Bergel, although she had carried a full fifteen-hour course load since 1930-31. Her salary was $540 less than Bergel's. Two years after terminating Berge!, NJC replaced Ms. Hauptmann, an assistant, with a new instructor, Werner Hollmann, suggesting that by then, at least, it could function on the same budget as when Bergel was employed. The 40 percent decline in German enrollments from 1933-34, the first academic year during which Hitler was in power, to 1936-37 could well be explained by an unwillingness of Jewish and other anti- Nazi students to take courses in a Nazified department. Jews had previously made up a disproportionate number of those enrolled in German courses. French enrollments declined only 10 percent during the same period, and Spanish enrollments increased 23 percent. [135]

During the hearings of the Rutgers Special Trustees Committee, the Philadelphia Jewish Exponent declared that investigations at other universities would disclose the "sorry truth" that many German departments resembled NJC'S. [136] This was indeed the case, as many German department faculty members and the students they influenced served as campus apologists for Nazi Germany. By writing articles and letters in college newspapers justifying Hitler's policies, and through interviews in metropolitan dailies, they disparaged the Weimar Republic and extolled Hitler as Germany's savior. German departments were centrally involved in promoting student exchanges with Nazified universities and faculty and student tours of the "New Germany." Tightly supervised by Nazi functionaries while in Germany, participants usually returned prepared to propagandize for the Third Reich in the United States. The Hitler government even maintained a list in Berlin of former American graduate exchange students in Germany, assuming that many joined German department faculties in the United States, and regularly mailed them Nazi propaganda. [137] As the major facilitators of social interaction between  Nazi diplomats and university administrators, faculty, and students, German departments assisted the Hitler government in its effort to present itself as a legitimate member of a community of nations, with justified grievances and reasonable objectives.
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Re: The Third Reich in the Ivory Tower: Complicity and Confl

Postby admin » Mon Sep 17, 2018 12:51 am

Part 1 of 2

6. Nazi Nests: German Departments in American Universities, 1933-1941

University German departments, often staffed by faculty members sympathetic to the Hitler regime, and the German clubs they sponsored, constituted important bases of support for Nazi Germany in the United States. When the Nazi warship Karlsruhe docked at Charlestown Navy Yard for its ten-day goodwill visit to Boston in May 1934, German clubs from colleges across New England sent delegations to greet it. German departments at the Universities of Wisconsin and Minnesota became the targets of major anti-Nazi protest when they hosted receptions for Nazi Germany's ambassador to the United States, Hans Luther, during his tour of the Midwest in October 1935. American professors of German were also prominent as foreign delegates at the anniversary celebrations held in Nazi Germany for the University of Heidelberg in 1936 and the University of Goettingen in 1937.

At Rutgers University's New Jersey College for Women (NJC), the administration's termination of the German Department's only anti-Hitler faculty member, upon the recommendation of its strongly pro-Nazi chair, precipitated the nation's most well-publicized academic freedom controversy of the 1930s. It revealed a widespread lack of concern about Nazism among Rutgers administrators and considerable sympathy for the Hitler regime within the faculty and student body.

The Philadelphia Jewish Exponent noted in May 1935 that the Nazi government considered American colleges and universities of central importance in shaping public opinion of the Third Reich in this country. Almost immediately after the Nazis assumed power in Germany, they sent propaganda agents to the United States "under the guise of students, lecturers, or exchange professors" in order "to inject the Hitler virus into the American student body." The "most reprehensible aspect" of this Nazi campus propaganda campaign was the encouragement it received from heads of German language and literature departments. [1]

New England's College German Clubs Welcome the Karlsruhe

The Studenten Verbindung Germania, the German club at Dartmouth College, was committed to promoting more friendly relations between the United States and Nazi Germany, two "great countries." It expressed concern that there were groups in the United States that "defame[d]"  Nazi Germany and wanted to make her "a social outcast," and it condemned the boycott of German goods. In February 1934, the Studenten Verbindung Germania held its first Kneipe, or beer evening, at which its guest was Nazi Germany's consul-general in Boston, Baron Kurt von Tippelskirch. [2]

Dartmouth's German Club helped transform the friendly reception the city of Boston and Harvard University provided for the Karlsruhe into a New England-wide event. Twenty-five of its members donned military regalia and traveled to Boston to pay homage to the battle cruiser flying the swastika flag as it lay at anchor there. The Karlsruhe's cadets gave them "a very warm and hearty reception." [3]

The Studenten Verbindung Germania returned the favor the next week by hosting an officer and ten cadets from the Karlsruhe at its Fahnenweihe at Dartmouth, at which it dedicated its new club flag, the "exact type" that German fraternities used. The ceremony was followed by a banquet of German dishes and dancing. Mingling with the Karlsruhe cadets were women from the German clubs of Smith, Bennington, Wellesley, Radcliffe, and Middlebury Colleges, whom the Studenten Verbindung Germania had invited. Forty members of the Dartmouth faculty also attended. Speakers at the banquet included P. C. Hessler, a leading financial sponsor of the Junior Year in Munich program, who donated the new club flag; Professor R. W. Jones, chairman of the Dartmouth German Department; and Stephen Schlossmacher, a member of the department and vice-president of the Interscholastic Federation of German Clubs. Further solidifying the bonds between Nazi Germany and Dartmouth, the North German Lloyd Line selected the Studenten Verbindung Germania band to perform on its ocean cruises that summer. [4]

The University of Wisconsin and University of Minnesota German Departments Host Nazi Germany's Ambassador

In November 1935, Professor A. R. Hohlfeld, chairman of the University of Wisconsin German Department, hosted Nazi Germany's ambassador Hans Luther on a visit to the campus, sparking bitter controversy and nearly provoking a diplomatic incident. Several other members of the German Department socialized with Luther, and University of Wisconsin president Glenn Frank invited him to tea. Representatives of eleven student organizations, including the radical National Student League (NSL), the Hillel, the Newman Club, the Presbyterian Student house, and the Young Women's Christian Association (YWCA), issued a joint statement protesting the Nazi ambassador's visit to campus. The student groups denounced the Hitler regime for exiling "the finest of German scholars," sponsoring violent attacks on Jews and implementing antisemitic legislation, driving women into the kitchen, and diverting youth from universities into labor camps. They noted that Germany's entire educational system, "previously one of the finest in the world," was now "being used to spread the gospels of Hitler and his cohorts." Their statement declared that "the burning of books in 1933 was just a dramatic symbol of the consistent repression of all disagreement, and indeed, of almost all study." [5]

The Nazi ambassador arrived in Madison accompanied by R. L. Jaeger, German consul-general in Chicago. Both men were committed to preventing the circulation of news about Nazi atrocities in the United States. About a year and a half earlier, they had together persuaded Chicago mayor Edward J. Kelly to ban theaters in his city from showing the anti-Nazi film Hitler's Reign of Terror. The film was based largely on motion picture footage that Cornelius Vanderbilt Jr. had smuggled out of Germany, and it ended with denunciations of Hitler by Columbia professor Raymond Moley, a leading advisor to President Roosevelt, and U.S. representative Samuel Dickstein. Mayor Kelly shut the film down after a single showing, apparently because of concern that it would endanger friendly relations between the United States and Germany. [6]

Ambassador Luther's stormy eight-hour visit to Madison, Wisconsin, began with a morning press conference that he expected would be routine. When Professor Hohlfeld opened the press conference, two Jewish University of Wisconsin students, Leo Genzeloff of Hackensack, New Jersey, and Daniel Lang of ew York City, identifying themselves as reporters for the NSL's New Student, demanded to know why the Hitler regime was persecuting Jews and Catholics. Denying that the Nazis mistreated Catholics, Luther explained that because Jews were not citizens of the German nation, they did not have the rights accorded to citizens. (Germany had introduced the Nuremberg laws that September, stripping Jews of their citizenship.) He declared that it was improper for other nations to interfere in Germany's internal affairs. Luther outlined azi Germany's triple policy: "peace, good will, and cooperation." He lectured the students that their tone undermined the mutual respect on which understanding between the two nations depended. [7]

When Genzeloff and Lang continued to pepper Luther with hostile questions, he "became extremely irritable." The Nazi ambassador pounded the table with his fist and exclaimed, "I am the representative of the German government in the United States." He very quickly "lost his composure" and "abruptly terminated" the press conference. Luther said he did not wish to discuss Hitler's policies with persons who "possessed little understanding of them," and "stalk[ed] out." As he left, Lang shouted, "Down with Hitler!" Later, Luther declared that he had never been treated so disrespectfully anywhere in the United States as at the Madison press conference. There was speculation in the press that he might file an official protest with the U.S. government concerning what he considered the rude treatment to which the students had subjected him. [8]

Although the University of Wisconsin administration and the German Department made every effort to provide the warmest possible reception for Ambassador Luther, tension persisted throughout the rest of his visit. After leaving the press conference, Luther proceeded to luncheon at the University of Wisconsin German House, where university president Glenn Frank, a prominent isolationist, dined with him. Expecting that Luther would be having supper at Professor Hohlfeld's house, anti-Nazi students and members of the community formed a picket line there at 5:00 P.M. and demonstrated for about 45 minutes. However, at the time Luther was having tea with President Frank at his mansion. The pickets, carrying banners and placards denouncing the Hitler regime for persecuting and murdering political opponents and Jews, attracted a large crowd of onlookers, including children who shouted "Heil Hitler!" at them. [9]

President Frank, like Nicholas Murray Butler, was undoubtedly drawn to Hans Luther because he considered him a gentleman, a man of high social rank. Professor Hohlfeld had introduced Luther at the press conference with the honorific "His Excellency." John D. Hicks, who had attended Northwestern University with Frank and was a professor of history at the University of Wisconsin when Frank was its president in the 1930s, remarked that Frank and his wife had tried to impose in Madison "the high proprieties of New York society." They had hired a butler and a chauffeur and, according to Hicks, "entertained too lavishly," requiring white tie or black tie at many of the social functions they hosted. [10]

Ambassador Luther ended his Madison visit with dinner at the German House, where he was joined by Professor Hohlfeld and German consul-general Jaeger. That night Luther entrained for the Twin Cities, where he was scheduled to make several public addresses and to visit the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis. [11]

The next day, several representatives of University of Wisconsin Christian groups who had signed the statement of protest against Luther's visit distanced themselves from the demonstration at Professor Hohlfeld's house. The Reverend Ezra Young, leader of the university's Congregationalist organization, said that he strongly disapproved of the demonstration and had advised against it. He bore no malice toward Ambassador Luther, whose visit to campus he considered social rather than political. Jane Mond, president of the University of Wisconsin YWCA, stated that her organization's name had been included on the statement protesting Luther's visit by mistake. She asserted that the YWCA did not object to the Nazi ambassador's visit. It believed that "every courtesy and respect should be shown him" as a guest. The Reverend "Shorty" Collins, Baptist leader at the university, also declared that he opposed the picketing. [12]

The Daily Cardinal was so angry about the picketing that it declared that the University of Wisconsin owed Luther a "most sincere apology." The editorial board denounced the student "hecklers" at the press conference for subjecting the Nazi ambassador, who "deserved all the hospitality and respect accorded any guest," to a "humiliating experience." Students at the press conference should have shown Luther "the respect that his position warrants." Questioning should have been "polite" and in "good taste." The Daily Cardinal declared that being Jewish did not give the "hecklers" the right to express their "prejudices" at the press conference. [13]

The editors proceeded to explain why they had neglected to provide any coverage of the picketing of Professor Hohlfeld's house in the Daily Cardinal. They explained that Ambassador Luther was a guest at the University of Wisconsin, and "anything that would mar his visit should have been avoided." The Daily Cardinal had refused to publish "anything that would in any way stir up the student body to such an extent that any demonstration would take place." [14]

Upon arriving in the Twin Cities, Ambassador Luther discovered, as the Minneapolis Journal put it, that "he had jumped from the frying pan into the fire." He received a friendly reception at the University of Minnesota and from some business and German-American groups, but he met with a storm of protest elsewhere. In Minneapolis, seventy Jewish organizations denounced Luther's appearance before the Minneapolis Civic and Commerce Association. They issued a statement saying that "[o]ur self-respect as Jews and as citizens compels us to assert we consider Mr. Hans Luther's presence in the community as an affront to all freedom-loving citizens, who must refrain from joining in any reception or public hearing given him." The editor of the St. Paul German Catholic newspaper The Wanderer issued an open letter saying that Luther was not welcome. The Reverend Henry Scherer, pastor of the Catholic church at nearby New Ulm, Minnesota, also denounced the Civic and Commerce Association for greeting Luther, declaring that "it would be an insult for me or my congregation to be seen at a reception or banquet for Dr. Luther." Branding  Nazis as criminal, Rabbi David Aaronson stated that he would "no more care to be seen in the company of a spokesman of Hitler than I would be in the company of the kidnaper of the Lindbergh baby." [15]

A press conference arranged for Twin Cities newsmen to interview Luther turned "fiery" when they pressed him to discuss the persecution of Jews and other minorities in Nazi Germany. L. H. Frisch, publisher of the Jewish World, asked the Nazi ambassador about the recent Nuremberg Laws that deprived Germany's Jews of their citizenship. Luther refused to respond to it or to any other specific question. "Plainly annoyed" by the reporters' persistence, Luther's voice at times "rose to ear-shriek proportions." He declared, as he had at the Madison press conference, that the United States had no right to interfere in Germany's internal affairs. [16]

Having been escorted by a police squadron into Minneapolis's Radisson Hotel across a picket line protesting his appearance, Luther spoke about the German economy before an overflow audience that "roundly applauded" him. He also delivered two addresses in St. Paul in German to audiences totaling 800 persons. The Nazi ambassador declared that Germany desired peace and that its rearmament was only for self-defense against neighbors who had refused to disarm. Under Hitler, class distinctions among Germans were disappearing. [17]

Alarmed by the vigor of the protest against Luther's appearances at the University of Wisconsin and in Minneapolis, the University of Minnesota administration and the German Department that hosted him took steps to ensure that he would not be challenged when he visited the campus. It was decided that he would not deliver any address at the university, but only attend a tea sponsored by the German Department. Expecting Luther to speak, anti-Nazi students had prepared and distributed across campus typewritten questions that they hoped people would raise. But their plans to engage the Nazi ambassador in a dialogue about Hitler's policies were frustrated when the German Department admitted to the tea only those whom it had personally invited. When about fifty students appeared at the tea without invitations, Anna Blitz, the University of Minnesota Dean of Women, required them to leave. Campus police forcibly ejected one student who insisted on his right to remain. [18]

Dean Blitz justified her refusal to permit the fifty students to attend the tea by explaining that "this element obviously just wanted to make itself obnoxious." She declared that Ambassador Luther was the university's guest, and it was out of respect for him that she prevented the students from attending the tea. Dean Blitz commented that the student who did not obey her order to leave "was not properly dressed for a tea." [19]

German Departments and German Clubs: Promoting Friendship with the Third Reich

Campus German clubs, consisting largely of students majoring in German, like their sponsoring German departments, entertained Nazi diplomats and sometimes brought them together with university presidents and other administrators. Hitler's consul-general in Boston, Baron Kurt von Tippelskirch, was a frequent guest at German club social functions at New England colleges. He mingled with President Ada Comstock at the Radcliffe German Club Christmas party in 1933, and with the wife of Smith president William Allan Neilson and Smith faculty at a reception and dinner sponsored by that college's German Club in 1935. Von Tippelskirch was the chief speaker at the Harvard German Club's Abschiedsfeier in May 1936. His successor as Germany's consul-general in Boston, Dr. Herbert Scholtz, attended the Harvard German Club's dinner-dance in May 1939, to which members of the German clubs at Radcliffe, Wellesley, Dartmouth, and Colby Colleges were also invited. [20]

In December 1934, both the Yale University and Vassar College German clubs invited Dr. Richard Sallet, attache at the German embassy in Washington, to speak on campus about Hitler's Germany. The Nazi diplomat spoke informally on December 11 to Yale's Germanic Club, which was composed of faculty members and graduate students, on "The New Foundations of the German Commonwealth." Professor Adolph Bennett Benson, chair of Yale's Department of Germanic Languages and sponsor of the Germanic Club, announced that only members of the club would be admitted to Sallet's talk, which was closed to the press. The Yale chapter of the National Student League charged that Sallet's visit was for the purpose of disseminating Nazi propaganda to members of the Yale community. [21] This was certainly Saller's intention when he spoke several days later at Vassar. He extolled Nazi Germany as a "folk community." The Nazis had abolished all social ranks to create a true "people's fellowship." What solidified it was its exclusivity: a person who had not been born into it could never join it. A person's social or class background mattered not at all, only his or her ancestry. Sallet explained to the assembled German majors and other Vassarites in attendance that because Nazi Germany defined itself in this way it could not annex any non-German territory, "especially Poland." He claimed therefore that Germany was "inherently pacifistic." [22]

Besides influencing their students in the German clubs to adopt a favorable attitude toward Nazism, some prominent professors of German also served as propagandists for the Third Reich in other forums, including Friedrich Auhagen and Frederick K. Krueger, prominent participants in the University of Virginia Institute of Public Affairs roundtables, and Professor Paul H. Curts of the Wesleyan University German Department. In October 1934, Curts explained to a student assembly at Wesleyan that only Hitler could provide Germany with what it needed. Having witnessed the Night of the Long Knives from Hamburg, Germany, Curts reported that most Germans had no objection to "the quick blow of retaliation that the leader made" against what they considered "a radical conspiracy." 23 Speaking at New Haven's Exchange Club about two weeks later as someone who had vacationed several times in the Third Reich, Curts accused the American press of publishing exaggerated accounts of disorder there. Curts declared that the Nazis had no intention of spreading their doctrine outside Germany. [24]

Back in Germany in April 1936, Professor Curts reported that everyone there "believe[d] absolutely in the sincerity of Hitler's offer of nonaggression and peace." He defended the Wehrmacht's march into the Rhineland, claiming it was "an integral part of Germany." Curts endorsed the Nazis' antisemitic policies, declaring that "'Germany for the Germans' is the slogan. Substitute 'America for the Americans' and it sounds quite reasonable." [25]

American professors of German enthusiastically participated in the anniversary celebrations at the Universities of Heidelberg and Goettingen in 1936 and 1937. At Heidelberg, Arthur F. J. Remy, Villard Professor of Germanic Philology, represented Columbia and Professor Ernst Rose, recommended by his department chairman, W. D. Zinnecker, represented New York University. Cornell University president Livingston Farrand appointed Professor A. W. Boesche as that institution's delegate, and Professor Aloysius G. Gaiss represented the University of Michigan. The University of Michigan student newspaper reported that Professor Gaiss was looking forward to the Heidelberg ceremonies "with great excitement." He declared that the presence of delegates from American colleges and universities would improve relations between the United States and Nazi Germany. Gaiss announced that he planned to spend the next seven months after he sailed for the festival on June 11 in Europe, six of them at the University of Heidelberg. [26] The next year at Goettingen, Professor A. B. Faust, chairman of Cornell's German Department, gave the Nazi salute as he accepted an honorary degree at that university's bicentennial celebration. [27]

The Nazi government rewarded several American professors of German for promoting friendship between the United States and Germany with medals that it considered very prestigious. In April 1938, the German consul-general in Los Angeles, Dr. Georg Gyssling, bestowed the Order of the German Eagle on Professor Erwin T. Mohme, head of the German Department at the University of Southern California, for "furthering cultural relationships between Germany and the United States." In presenting the medal, along with a parchment letter of congratulations personally signed by Adolf Hitler, the Nazi consul-general informed Mohme that he was the only man on the Pacific Coast to have received it. [28] In November 1938, about two weeks after the Kristallnacht, Adolf Hitler awarded the Order of Merit of the German Eagle, first class, to another American professor of German, William Alpha Cooper, who had retired from Stanford University in 1934. [29]

Professor Max Otto Koischwitz of Hunter College's German Department was so enthusiastic about Nazism that he moved permanently to Germany in 1939, after a fourteen-year career teaching in the United States, and served the Hitler government as a propagandist. In 1939, the Non-Sectarian Anti-Nazi League (NSANL) protested to the New York City Department of Education when the magazine Literatur, published in Nazi Germany, carried an article in which Professor Koischwitz denounced American democracy. The NSANL noted that Koischwitz had been under close surveillance as a Nazi propagandist for the previous six years, since Hitler came to power, and had appeared as a guest of honor at meetings of the pro-Nazi German-American Bund. [30] The German-born Koischwitz joined the faculty of Columbia University in 1925, immediately after graduating from the University of Berlin. In 1931, he became a professor of German at Hunter College. Considered a Nazi, according to the New York Times, Koischwitz traveled to the Third Reich, allegedly for "study," in 1935, 1937, and 1939. He did not return to the United States after the last trip, on which his wife and three daughters accompanied him. [31]

Image
FIGURE 6.1. "Axis Sally" (Mildred E. Gillars) leaving U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C., during her trial for treason, February I7, 1949. Courtesy of AP Images.

By 1940, Koischwitz had become a prominent radio official for the Hitler regime and the patron and lover of "Axis Sally" (Mildred E. Gillars), his former student at Hunter College, whose English-language broadcasts to Allied troops in Europe and North Africa were designed to convince them that it was futile to fight the German armed forces. Koischwitz headed the U.S.A. Zone of German radio, which broadcast by shortwave to the United States and to American soldiers. During World War II, he often met with Germany's foreign minister, Joachim von Ribbentrop, at Hitler's headquarters. Koischwitz and Axis Sally often visited German prisoner-of-war camps to interrogate captured American soldiers and airmen. A District of Columbia grand jury indicted Koischwitz for treason in July 1943. [32]

Although Koischwitz died in Berlin in August 1944, his protege, Axis Sally, was arrested after the war and convicted of treason in 1949 in a federal court in Washington, D.C. She testified at her trial that Koischwitz had recruited her for Nazi propaganda work in Germany. A federal judge sentenced the "supposedly glamorous radio siren" to serve ten to thirty years in prison (she served twelve). The treason conviction was based on the single count of broadcasting a program entitled Vision of Invasion shortly before D-Day, written by Professor Koischwitz. Koischwitz's script began with an announcer intoning: "The D of D-Day stands for doom ... disaster ... death ... defeat." Axis Sally assumed "the role of an American mother who talked to her soldier son in a dream and learned that he had been killed in the [Allied] invasion" of France. [33] Koischwitz had the mother tell her husband that in the invasion "etween 70 and 90 percent of our boys will be killed or crippled the rest of their lives," and that "Roosevelt has no right to go to war." [34]

[b]The Bergel-Hauptmann Case at the New Jersey College for Women


When Friedrich J. Hauptmann, the avowedly pro-Hitler chair of the German Department at New Jersey College for Women (NJC), the women's coordinate college of Rutgers University, in 1935 terminated the employment of his department's only anti-Nazi faculty member, instructor Lienhard Bergel, the resulting controversy focused national attention on the role of German departments and campus German clubs in promoting sympathy for the Third Reich. Hauptmann's dismissal of Bergel received strong backing from the NJC German Department's other faculty members, all of whom were ardent Nazi sympathizers, and from nearly all of the German majors who lived in the NJC German House. NJC's dean and the president of Rutgers upheld Hauptmann's decision. The press described both the German Department and the NJC German House in which most of the majors resided as " Nazi nests." Pressure on the Rutgers University administration from concerned legislators, and adverse publicity in the press, caused Rutgers University president Robert C. Clothier to appoint a special committee composed of five trustees to investigate Bergel's charge that his dismissal was an act of retaliation against him by his chair for refusing to conform to the department's pro-Nazi outlook. This Special Trustees Committee was chaired by J. Edward Ashmead, vice-president of the Rutgers University alumni association. During the lengthy hearings it conducted, the Trustees Committee displayed hostility toward Bergel and others who spoke out forcefully against Nazism and displayed a very complacent attitude toward the German Department's pro-Hitler outlook.

Antisemitism was commonplace in the NJC administration, which imposed a strict quota to limit the admission of Jewish students. In 1930, NJC's acceptance rate for Jewish applicants was about half that of non-Jews: 31 percent as opposed to 61 percent. During the 1920s, the administration implemented measures similar to those used by Harvard, Yale, Columbia, and the Seven Sisters colleges to restrict Jewish admissions. These included requiring applicants to provide place of birth and full names of both parents, along with a photograph, and to list extracurricular activities, including "church work." The administration also gave significant weight to recommendations from principals and alumni that included comments on the candidate's personality and "moral character." It relied on such factors to screen out academically qualified Jewish candidates as not sufficiently "well-rounded." [35]

Mabel Douglass, dean of NJC from its founding in 1918 until 1932, complained that too many Jews had been "inadvertently admitted on academic grading solely." Characterizing many of the Jewish students as "crude," she complained that they had caused the "finest girls" to transfer. Douglass's successor as permanent dean, Margaret T. Corwin, shared her views, and in 1936 she persuaded the trustees to limit the proportion of commuters in the student body to 25 percent. This served to further reduce Jewish enrollment because the percentage of Jewish students who commuted was more than double that of non-Jews: 68 percent as opposed to 30 percent. Corwin's father, Robert N. Corwin, as director of Yale University's admissions board from 1920 to 1933, had been instrumental in developing policies there to restrict Jewish admissions. [36]

Complaints by New Jersey Jews about discrimination against Jewish applicants at Rutgers and NJC caused the Rutgers Board of Regents to hold hearings on the issue in 1931. Ten Jewish organizations representing about 200,000 citizens charged that Rutgers, as a defacto state university that received substantial state appropriations and "the apex of the public school system," had violated New Jersey civil rights law prohibiting discrimination on the basis "of race, creed, or color in furnishing facilities at colleges and universities within the State." A committee representing the Jewish organizations documented in a brief that Rutgers had rejected many Jews from Elizabeth, New Brunswick, and Perth Amboy high schools in favor of non-Jews with much inferior records. [37]

Fraser Metzger, dean of Rutgers College, and other members of the Rutgers University administration emphatically denied that the university had ever discriminated against Jews. Julius Kass, the Perth Amboy attorney who initiated the case, testified that Dean Metzger told him in October 1930 that the administration was determined to maintain a quota limiting Jews to about 15 percent of the student body to prevent Rutgers from becoming "like C.C.N.Y." Kass asked Dean Metzger to consider a hypothetical case in which a Jewish student in the top quarter of his preparatory class and a non-Jewish student in the lower three-quarters both applied for admission when the Jewish quota was already filled, and to tell him which he would admit. Dean Metzger answered "without hesitation" that he would admit only the non-Jewish student. Dr. William B. Gourley, a member of the Rutgers board of trustees, termed Kass's charges "perfect nonsense." [38]

The Rutgers administration insisted it was not discriminating, arguing that it was necessary to preserve geographical balance within the state and to ensure that no ethnic group was admitted in proportions significantly higher than its percentage in the state population. The Nazis used a similar argument in 1933 in restricting Jewish admissions to German universities to 1 percent, their proportion in the German population. The Rutgers administration claimed that Jews, 6 percent of the state's population, composed 12 percent of the student body. Moreover, it maintained that the student body "should be composed of students in fair proportion from all parts of the state." This meant that the administration had the right to reject applicants from northern New Jersey high schools in which Jews were disproportionately represented in favor of those with inferior records from southern New Jersey counties that contained very few Jews. Only the Admissions Committee of Rutgers University possessed the requisite judgment to properly select candidates. The Admissions Committee had been "carefully selected" and its members were "men of high character and long experience." The Jewish organizations' "misunderstanding" arose from their "erroneous assumption that scholastic standing is the sole test" in the college admissions process. [39] Despite the hearings, the Rutgers andNJC administrations maintained this outlook toward Jewish admissions throughout the decade.

NJC and Rutgers discriminated against Jews in faculty hiring as well. There were at most four Jews on the NJC faculty during the mid-1930s, two of whom were German refugees hired in the Music Department in September 1934. There were very few Jews on the faculties of the Rutgers men's colleges. Evalyn Clark, assistant professor of classical languages, in 1935 testified before the Trustees Committee appointed to consider the dismissal of Lienhard Bergel that she had heard NJC dean Mabel Douglass declare that she would not have a Jew on her faculty. [40]

During the 1930s, non-Jewish professors at NJC at times injected crude antisemitic comments into classroom discussions. Marion Siegel Friedman, who attended NJC from 1935 to 1939, recalled in 1986 that she still felt "hatred and revulsion" for her European literature professor because he endorsed in class the medieval charge that Jews ritually murdered Christian children around Easter time to reenact the crucifixion and mock Jesus. The professor had assigned the class the tale of Little Hugh of Lincoln, a Christian boy whom Jews in England had been accused of murdering for this purpose in 1255 C.E. The bizarre Christian ritual murder fantasy, often combined with the blood libel accusation, claiming that Jews extracted the child's blood to mix with matzoh consumed at Passover, resulted in the torture and execution of many innocent Jews. The professor, in discussing the tale in class, had told the students "that there must be some truth to the charge of Jews sacrificing a Christian child for making Passover matzoh." [41]

No sooner had Hitler assumed power in Germany than members of the JC and Rutgers German departments were extolling Nazi achievements in public forums on and off campus. Dr. Emil Leopold Jordan, instructor in German at NJC, speaking at a meeting of theNJC League of Women Voters in March 1933, declared that Hitler had rescued Germany from a republican system that had left her "worse off than ever." Hitler had unified a nation divided by thirty-six quarreling political parties. He was a man of high moral character, a vegetarian who did not smoke or drink, committed to combating corruption. Jordan concluded his speech by accusing the American press of presenting distorted accounts of German conditions. [42]

Presaging the conflict that later erupted over theNJC German Department's Nazi orientation, Lienhard Bergel, who, in addition to being the only department member opposed to Hitler, was a non-Jewish German native, challenged Jordan's defense of the Nazi government in the question period. According to Bergel, the next day the NJC German department chair, Professor Friedrich]' Hauptmann, "rebuked him for spoiling the good effect of Dr. Jordan's speech." Alice Schlimbach, assistant professor of German and director of the NJC German House, later testified that Bergel's anti-Nazi remarks during the question period had angered students at the German House, precipitating "small riots." She reported that "the girls could not respect a man who spoke in such a disrespectful way about his own country." One student called Bergel "unethical." Another complained that he had made the German department "look like a scrapping place." [43]

Jean M. Earle, who lived in the German House for three years and graduated from NJC in 1934, in 1935 described Dr. Jordan's presentation at the League of Women Voters forum as "a very interesting talk on how Hitler came into power and why the German people were against a certain class of Jews." She said that the students in attendance objected to "hav[ing] that meeting spoiled by Mr. Bergel constantly contradicting Dr. Jordan." The students" had gone to hear Dr. Jordan talk about Hitler and instead had to listen to Mr. Bergel talk against Hitler." [44]

A student who attended the lecture testified in 1935 at the Special Trustees Committee hearings that Jordan had made explicitly antisemitic comments in answer to a question from the floor about Nazi treatment of Jews. The witness had taken notes at the lecture and said that the NJC student newspaper, Campus News, had not reported the antisemitic comments. She quoted Jordan as having said that "the Jews should be kept in their place," and that they "should only be employed in the various positions in their proportion to the population." The Special Trustees Committee summary of the hearings stated that "Dr. Jordan said he did not recall" making the remark that "Jews should be kept in their place." [45]

The same evening as Professor Jordan's League of Women Voters presentation, Associate Professor Albert Holzmann of the Rutgers German Department spoke in favor of Hitler at a symposium on the current situation in Germany sponsored by the Rutgers Liberal Club. Holzmann denied that the Nazis had committed antisemitic atrocities, blaming the American press for printing propaganda to besmirch the German people's "fair name." What was remarkable was the very infrequency of antisemitic incidents, considering that a "tremendous revolution" had taken place in Germany. Holzmann credited the Nazi leadership for the alleged lack of violence, claiming that it had ordered its followers "to harm no Jew." He insisted that there was no reason for anyone to protest against the Hitler regime. [46]

Although another speaker, Rabbi Nathaniel Keller, urged that people denounce antisemitic discrimination in Germany, the speaker following him, Dr. Milton J. Hoffman of New Brunswick Theological Seminary, argued that no protest take place until "a thorough investigation of the facts" had been conducted. Hoffman claimed that the Jews were in part responsible for any mistreatment they suffered, because, unlike other "races," they refused to assimilate when they settled in "a foreign country." He declared that "Jews remain Jews and cannot become otherwise." [47]

During the discussion period, NJC German Department chair Friedrich Hauptmann defended Nazi Germany's policy toward Jews, arguing that the Hitler regime was concerned only about Jews who had migrated to Germany from the East after the World War. Hauptmann charged that many of the Jews were contributing to "Socialist and Communist" subversion. Moving into Berlin in large numbers, they rendered many native Germans homeless. [48]

Professor Holzmann aggressively promoted the Hitler regime during the next months. Speaking before the Rutgers chapter of the Phi Beta Kappa Society in early May 1933, he declared that he "was 85 percent in approval of Hitler and the Nazi regime" and praised the Fuehrer for uniting the German people. He told the New Brunswick, New Jersey, Daily Home News in late May that Hitler was the savior of Germany, who had put a quarter of a million Germans back to work. Holzmann denounced the German Social Democrats for signing the Treaty of Versailles, which he claimed had "subject[ed] Germany to more humiliating and cruel conditions than any other country in recent civilization has been forced to bear." Ignoring the Nazi students' intense anti-intellectualism, reflected in the massive book burnings they staged that month at universities across the Reich, Holzmann identified the disproportionate involvement of students "and those interested in education" as a particularly impressive feature of the German Nazi party. [49]

NJC students majoring in German who traveled in Nazi Germany during 1933 and 1934 presented glowing accounts of Hitler's achievements in the campus press. Marion Kelley, Class of 1934, returned in the fall of 1933 from fourteen months of study at the University of Berlin impressed with Germany's "earnest and serious" students. She was struck by the "cleanliness and neatness" of German cities, with their "beautiful, well-kept gardens." [50] Margarethe Varga, Class of 1935, who had studied in Germany during the 1933-34 academic year, told the NJC German Club in September 1934 to disregard American press reports of street violence in the Third Reich. She reported that an "air of peace" prevailed there. Varga said that she had been impressed by the way all Germans, even little children, saluted their friends with the greeting "Heil Hitler," a sign of the national unity the Nazis had forged. [51]

In an April 1936 article published in a Jewish magazine, Lienhard Bergel explained that Nazi faculty in the NJC German Department made special arrangements for the students traveling to Germany for study to maximize their chances of being influenced by Nazi ideology. One of the aziNJC professors would personally select a German host family for the student to reside with when abroad that was particularly committed to Nazism. The professor justified his or her personal involvement in the placement by explaining that it was for the purpose of making sure that the student was exposed to a "genuinely German atmosphere."

Bergel considered NJC's financing student travel to the Third Reich by collecting money in the German classes to be the most scandalous aspect of the college's study in Germany program. He noted that" [e]very student in the [German] department is obliged to make weekly contributions for this fund." Although the German Department presented the contributions as voluntary, students were under strong pressure to make them, because the collections were conducted under their professors' supervision. Bergel emphasized that the German faculty expected the Jewish students to contribute along with the non-Jewish. Questions about whether a student really had to contribute, or why the students were not sent to study in a German-speaking country not under Nazi control, like Switzerland or Austria, only "provoker d] the anger of the teacher" and retaliation against the person asking it. [52]

In December 1934 the NJC student newspaper Campus News published sections of a letter it had received from Elaine Zischkau, Class of 1936, the recipient of the 1934-35 NJC German scholarship, who was enrolled at the University of Berlin, full of enthusiasm for the "new Germany." Zischkau extolled Adolf Hitler as a leader "deeply respected by the older people and adored by the younger" in Germany. After years of "growing misery and disunion" under the Social Democrats, the German people had rallied to Hitler, who "offered a new life of which they can be proud." He was determined to forge Germans into one people, and to restore their self-respect. The Nazis were "trying so hard to create a new and better Germany out of the old." They were "so desperately sincere." To be sure, they had made "occasional errors." But it was impossible "in a revolution of this size" not to do so. [53]

Zischkau angrily denounced the American press for what she called its "savage and unjust attacks" on Nazi Germany. American reporters who had never been to "the new Germany" wrote about it "with absolutely no understanding of the situation." Zischkau singled out a recent Collier's editorial that declared that "[i]t was Germany's misfortune and the world's misfortune" that Hitler had assumed power. She strongly resented that such "stupid" and "malicious" articles influenced American perceptions of the Third Reich. [54]

Zischkau became embroiled in a fevered exchange in the Campus News when a letter to the editor signed only "Member of '36" denounced her as a propagandist for Hitler. Member of '36 charged that Zischkau could not possibly understand what was really taking place in Germany when the persons with whom she was in contact were "either themselves committing the crimes of the Nazis" or were "in fear of their lives if they tell the truth." [55]

Zischkau responded in the Campus News by declaring that she was just "doing [her] part in attempting to destroy this picture of Germany as a land of fear and lies." During her months in the Third Reich she had seen "a government helping its people." The Nazis had united the Germans and made it possible for them "to gain pleasure from music and travel ... [and] to gain an equal standing with the people of other nations." [56]

Lienhard Bergel probably had Elaine Zischkau in mind when he wrote in 1936 that it was almost inevitable that a student would return from a year in the Third Reich feeling sympathy for the Hitler regime, given how college study in Germany programs were structured. Arriving in Germany at an impressionable age, the American student came into contact with Nazis almost exclusively. The student's college German Department arranged for her to reside with a pro-Nazi German family. She was enrolled in courses at a German university where "she heard the official  Nazi doctrines explained." The professors whose lectures she attended all presented their subjects "from the Nazi angle." No wonder that she "writes letters to the College paper during her stay which are full of praise for the Nazis." Bergel noted that American exchange students continued their pro-Nazi propaganda activities after they returned from Germany. Nazi sympathizers on the German Department faculty referred other students to her to learn "first-hand" about the virtues of the Third Reich. [57]

Professor Emily Hickman of the NJC History Department echoed these paeans to the Third Reich when she returned from the Carl Schurz Tour of Germany that the Nazi government had arranged for American academics for the summer of 1934. Professor Hickman emphasized that "something positive was going on" in the Third Reich and sharply criticized American press coverage as biased and inaccurate. She endorsed the labor camp service the Hitler regime required of students before they entered universities for drawing together youth of different backgrounds, thereby supposedly reducing class divisions. The labor camp also served as an arena in which a prospective student could display character and leadership qualities important in gaining admission to a university. Hickman found much to admire in the Nazi government's higher education policies, which she suggested provided better preparation for modern society's challenges. She explained that "[t]he new [ Nazi] system criticizes the highly specialized scholarship of Germany as divorced from life, and believes that higher education should be aimed more nearly at ... character education and an education fitting the student to deal with the problems met in life." The reduction in the number of students admitted was necessary to alleviate overcrowding in the professions. [58]

The NJC and Rutgers German departments energetically promoted the film of the Carl Schurz Foundation Tour of Nazi Germany that the Hitler government arranged for American academics in the summer of 1934. The film was produced by the Nazi government's Universum-Film Aktiengesellschaft (UFA) studio. The Hitler regime distributed it to American colleges and universities that participated in the tour for campus showings, to present a favorable image of the Third Reich to students and faculty members. The president of Rutgers University, Robert C. Clothier, wrote to Professor Albert Holzmann that he hoped to attend a campus showing. Clothier and Holzmann agreed that proceeds derived from renting the film outside the university would be allocated to send a member of the Rutgers or NJC German Club to study in Germany. [59]

Holzmann informed President Clothier on March 13,1935, that the first campus screening of the film was "a splendid success." It was "a university affair," sponsored by both the Rutgers and NJC German departments. Professor Hickman assisted the German departments in distributing tickets. According to Holzmann the audience was "large and enthusiastic." [60]
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Re: The Third Reich in the Ivory Tower: Complicity and Confl

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Part 2 of 2

Not only was President Clothier very supportive of the German departments' efforts to expose Americans on and off campus to a Nazi propaganda film produced by the Hitler regime, but several months later he declined an opportunity to publicly support German refugees. In December 1935 Clothier refused Director Alvin Johnson's appeal to join the Advisory Committee he was organizing for the Graduate Faculty of Political and Social Science at the New School for Social Research in New York City. In 1933, Clothier had agreed to be a sponsor of a plan to establish a University in Exile to be staffed by German refugee scholars who had fled to the United States. Serving as a member of the Graduate Faculty's Advisory Committee required no obligation other than to provide occasional advice. All that Johnson really asked of Clothier was his "moral support" for the University in Exile. Nonetheless, Clothier replied to Johnson that it was "inadvisable" for him to join the Advisory Committee. [61]

In the fall of 1933, NJC German Department chair Friedrich J. Hauptmann informed Lienhard Bergel, an instructor hired in February 1932 and the department's lone anti-Nazi, that he would not be retained after June 1935. The Rutgers University trustees had adopted a three-year term limit for instructors during the 1932-33 academic year. Acting NJC dean Albert Meder, who had replaced Mabel Douglass, approved Hauptmann's decision. His successor, Dean Corwin, determined that the German Department could not afford to employ five faculty members, two of whom were instructors, in part because of an anticipated decline in German course enrollments. Hauptmann recommended that the other instructor, the pro-Nazi Emil Jordan, who had been at NJC since 1931, be retained, and not Bergel. After conferring with President Clothier, Dean Corwin wrote to Bergel on May 23, 1934, saying that NJC would terminate his employment in June 1935. [62]

Besides the instructors Bergel and Jordan, the NJC German Department in 1934 consisted of associate professor Hauptmann, chair since 1931; assistant professor Alice Schlimbach; and Marie Hauptmann, the chair's wife, who was classified as "assistant," a temporary position, although she taught at NJC for eight years, until June 1937. Schlimbach had been director of the German House since its establishment in the fall of 1929, and she resided there. All were German nationals educated in Germany. Jordan, who had been in the United States only since 1930, was the only department member with a Ph.D. (in economics, not literature). [63]

Lienhard Bergel's appointment in February 1932 as instructor in the NJC German Department had been arranged by his fiancee, Sylvia Cook, who persuaded Dean Mabel Douglass to turn over Cook's position to him. Bergel came to NJC with "superb recommendations" from the University of Breslau, where he had done his graduate work, and from Professor William A. Braun of Barnard, under whom Sylvia Cook had studied. Cook, a Barnard alumna and graduate exchange student at the University of Breslau in Germany from 1928 to 1931, began teaching at NJC in the fall semester of 1931. She had met Lienhard Bergel at the University of Breslau, in Professor Paul Merker's seminar on German literature. They became engaged in Germany and were married shortly after Bergel assumed the NJC instructorship. In Breslau, Bergel prepared for his Staatsexamen, required of those entering college teaching, and passed it with distinction in 1930. [64]

Cook was one of the few exchange students at Breslau who feared that Nazism constituted a serious long-term threat in Germany, a view Bergel shared. Bergel was not a member of any political party, and Cook described him during his Breslau student days as "having no interest in politics" except that, like Cook, he found Nazism "deeply abhorrent." Neither Bergel nor Cook was Jewish. Bergel had been raised a Lutheran, but neither he nor Cook attended church. Cook's father was a professor at the University of Cincinnati and her mother "an old-fashioned New England type, staunchly Republican." [65]

During the period Bergel and Cook were studying in Breslau, the Nazis became increasingly visible there, and the couple witnessed or heard about  Nazi beatings of persons considered a threat to "racial purity." Breslau, situated near Poland, had a significant Jewish population. Cook recalled watching Nazi youths marching in a park near the Coenaculum, a house run by Catholic nuns for women students where she resided, and then fanning out into Breslau, attacking Jews and other "undesirable[s]." The Nazi youths' "weapon of choice" in these beatings was a "Gummiknueppel," a word Cook said she had not learned in her Barnard German courses -- a length of pipe encased in rubber hose. [66]

From the time of Cook's arrival in Breslau in October 1928, she had been deeply disturbed by the chauvinism and militarism expressed by Germans she encountered. Cook, who spoke fluent German, had come to Germany "with happy expectations" shaped by her admiration for German literature, music, and philosophy. The new American exchange student received her first shock when the director of the Coenaculum, a nun called Mutter Bischoff, presiding at a party for Cook, delivered her welcoming address. Mutter Bischoff proclaimed that day a great one for Germany, because it had just launched its first armed cruiser and taken "the first step toward the eventual destruction of England." Cook became "quickly aware of the forces at work around [her]" and read Hitler's Mein Kampf carefully, along with the local newspaper, Breslauer Neueste Nachrichten. Foreseeing the "impending catastrophe," Cook arranged to get her fiance out of Germany to the United States and gave up her position at NJC for him. [67]

Sylvia Cook Bergel recalled in 1992 that German Department chair Friedrich Hauptmann was "jealous and abominated Lienhard [Bergel] from the start," making his life at NJC "a misery." Hauptmann detested Bergel's anti-Nazism and probably felt intellectually intimidated by the younger man. [68]

Hauptmann's academic limitations were clearly revealed when, having received a leave of absence with full pay from the NJC administration, he traveled to Nazi Germany, where the University of Marburg awarded him a Ph.D. for a sixty-nine-page dissertation that he completed, along with some other doctoral requirements, in only five months. He did not even work full time on the dissertation because the leave of absence was granted in part so that he could visit spas in Germany to improve his health. The dissertation, "Eine wissenschaftliche Kritik des Standes des deutschen Unterrichts an den High Schools und Colleges der Vereinigten Staaten" (" A Scholarly Critique of German Instruction at the High Schools and Colleges of the United States"), drew on only "a handful of secondary sources" and some questionnaires Hauptmann mailed to state departments of education, which he may not have used. David Oshinsky, Richard P. McCormick, and Daniel Horn, in their 1989 investigation of the Bergel dismissal, The Case of the Nazi Professor, called Hauptmann's dissertation, "a dreadful piece of work." It was "loaded ... with pro-Nazi statements." [69]

Bergel later described the Rutgers administration's role in the leave of absence as scandalous. He noted that during Hauptmann's five months in Germany he not only wrote his dissertation but prepared for and passed his oral examination "and had still time enough to improve his health in a fashionable watering resort." The worst part of it, he said, was that this had occurred with the administration's full knowledge and approval. It had granted him the leave knowing his expressed purpose and had provided him with his entire salary. [70]

Dean Corwin challenged Lienhard Bergel's assertion that German Ph.D. degrees were equivalent only to American M.A. degrees and claimed that there was "nothing exceptional" in Hauptmann's having completed a dissertation and other doctoral requirements in "only five months." She noted that the University of Marburg had awarded him his degree cum laude. Besides, it was "a little difficult to evaluate European degrees." [71]

In justifying Bergel's termination, Hauptmann and Corwin, besides citing the three-year rule for instructors, criticized Bergel's teaching and his lack of attendance at German Department meetings and unwillingness to have meals at the German table in the campus dining hall. In her report to the trustees, Corwin also complained that Bergel, who had been teaching for only three years, had not yet published any of his work. It was in the same report that she defended as academically legitimate Hauptmann's poorly researched sixty-nine-page dissertation from the Nazified University of Marburg. Hauptmann also charged that Bergel had reneged on an agreement that he live in New Brunswick and instead commuted to campus from Cranford, New Jersey, as a result of which he "never participated in social activities," including those of the German Club and German House. Hauptmann and Corwin both claimed that Bergel's anti-Nazism was not a factor in his termination. [72]

In a comment to the Special Trustees Committee, Dean Corwin appeared to dismiss the NJC German Department's Nazi orientation as a matter of concern. She reported that she had been "very much impressed" by a statement of Bergel's that his fiancee had warned him before he came to the United States "of the situation in the German Department of the New Jersey College for Women," and that his experiences during his first few weeks on the NJC faculty had "fully justified the warnings." To Dean Corwin this indicated that Bergel, who while in Germany had seen the Nazis grow into a mass movement, heard their antisemitic invective, and witnessed the impact of their savage violence, "lacked sympathetic understanding" of a college department composed entirely of German-born  Nazis. She could not understand how Bergel could have made up his mind about his "colleagues" in the German Department after only a few weeks. Corwin concluded that "[tJhe whole statement reinforced me in my opinion that the College should not retain Mr. Bergel." [73]

On April 17, 1935, about a month before the Special Trustees Committee convened the hearings, NJC students met with Dean Corwin to express concern about German Department faculty propagandizing for  Nazism in the classroom and Bergel's dismissal. Corwin informed them that a drop in German course enrollment of 20 percent from the 1933-34 to the 1934-35 academic year necessitated the elimination of one position. The students then asked Corwin why Marie Hauptmann, the chair's wife, was not let go instead of Bergel. Corwin refused to answer on the grounds that she would have to share with them confidential faculty salary information. (As aforementioned, Marie Hauptmann was classified as an assistant, a temporary position, although she remained a member of the German Department for eight years, from academic year 1929-30 through 1936-37.) [74] Students returned on May 7 and asked that Dean Corwin appoint a committee to visit all German classes to determine whether Nazi propaganda was being disseminated in them. This Corwin refused to do. [75]

On April 13, 1935, the Campus News precipitated student involvement in the Bergel controversy by publishing an editorial that praised his contribution to NJC as a teacher but accepted Corwin's argument that declining German enrollments required the elimination of his position. Several letters to the editor challenged Bergel's termination. One from "A Group of German Students" charged that the German Department's Nazi orientation discouraged many students from enrolling in German courses. In early May, Campus News advisor and former acting dean Albert Meder asked the newspaper's editor Marion Short, who had just assumed that office, not to publish letters on the Bergel dismissal, but she refused. Dean Corwin authorized Meder to tell Short that the administration would make no further statement to the Campus News on the case. Short also printed letters from students and alumni supporting Hauptmann.  [76] The previous editor, Frances Williams, later testified that Meder had summoned her to his office to tell her he was displeased that Short was publishing letters to the editor on the Bergel case, and that he might remove her for doing so. [77]

Alan Silver, a Rutgers student and Bergel supporter, informed reporter Frederick E. Woltman of the New York World-Telegram about the controversy, and Woltman produced a story describing the anti-fascist Bergel's isolation in a German Department consisting entirely of Nazis. This generated enormous press interest in the case. Silver also secured an interview for Bergel with the Committee on Academic Freedom of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) in New York, which included Roger Baldwin, Reinhold Niebuhr, Horace Kallen, and Sidney Hook. As a result of the interview, the ACLU decided to investigate and notified President Clothier of its concern. It also suggested that if it determined that the German Department had violated Bergel's academic freedom and had disseminated Nazi propaganda, it would ask the New Jersey legislature to withhold funds from Rutgers. Press coverage, ACLU involvement, and the efforts of the Bergels and their student backers to enlist support from anti-Nazi state legislators and New Brunswick assemblymen brought the case to a wider public. [78]

The five-person Special Trustees Committee that President Clothier selected was dominated by its chair, Newark attorney J. Edward Ashmead, Class of 1897; New York City attorney and clubman Philip M. Brett, Class of 1892, a former Rutgers football captain and acting president of Rutgers from 1930 to 1932; and John Wycoff Mettler, Class of 1899, founder and president of the Interwoven Stocking Company. Mettler also served on the Board of Managers of the Delaware & Hudson Railroad. All were longtime Rutgers trustees. None of the five members of the committee was a scholar or a teacher. Sylvia C. Bergel in 1988 ridiculed the notion of a man like Mettler, described as "a giant in the field of sock manufacture," serving on the committee. She recalled that Mettler brought socks manufactured in his hosiery mill to the hearings and distributed them to friends. [79]

Sylvia C. Bergellater described the Special Trustees Committee as "an ingrown little group of lawyers and business men closely related to the interests of Rutgers University," and not likely to be objective. In her view it "should have included at least one person of academic experience," as well as someone not affiliated with Rutgers. [80]

Testifying on the first day of the hearings, Bergel charged that Hauptmann's motive in terminating him was his having expressed opposition to  Nazism at campus forums, beginning with his challenge to Emil Jordan in March 1933. Bergel said that Hauptmann had told him he would not have hired him in February 1932 if he had known that Bergel would refuse to support Hitler when he became chancellor. He accused Hauptmann of propagandizing for Nazism in the classroom, and of having made antisemitic statements to students. Bergel declared that Dean Corwin had warned him that if he insisted on a hearing to contest his dismissal, the administration would not provide him with letters of recommendation for a position elsewhere. [81]

Testifying himself a few days later, Hauptmann denied that he propagandized in class, but he did state that "there are some good sides to Nazism," and that he had during class "corrected errors in newspaper reports" about Nazi Germany. [82] He told the committee that he was "inclined to discount" many of the American press reports of Nazi atrocities. Hauptmann claimed not to know whether the Nazi government had deprived Jews of civil and political rights, or whether they had removed Jewish professors from universities or burned books by Jewish authors. He praised, however, what he called the Nazis' "destruction of all obscene books in German libraries." [83]

Hauptmann admitted that he had told German Department faculty members not to speak about what was happening in Germany because "there was no first-hand information available." He claimed that only Bergel disregarded his instructions. Hauptmann informed the committee that he heard that students residing in the German House had said they "were 'disgusted' with Dr. Bergel's criticism of German officials." [84]

Many NJC students made their views known by signing petitions backing Bergel or Hauptmann. A letter signed by "seventy German students," whose names were not listed, was published in the Campus News on May 8, denying that German Department faculty propagandized for Nazism in the classroom. Irene Patterson, Class of 1936, who had taken courses with both Bergel and the Hauptmanns and identified herself as the only resident of the German House who was not pro-Nazi, testified that Marjorie Fricke, Class of 1935, president of the German Club, had solicited signatures for the letter in Marie Hauptmann's class. She stated that Ms. Hauptmann had left the room while students passed around the petition, suggesting that German Department faculty had acted in collusion with Fricke to obtain signatures. Evelyn Engle, Class of 1937, testified that the petition was circulated in all the German classes except for Bergel's. Vivien Sigel, Class of 1938, told the committee that in her class Professor Jordan had immediately walked out when Fricke arrived, without speaking with her. Sigel stated that this was a clear indication Jordan knew Fricke was coming. [85]

Bergel's supporters in the NJC student body, responding to the German House letter, secured the signatures of 405 of NJC's 892 students on a petition that praised his teaching and described him as a "thoroughly competent" faculty member. Believing Jewish students had orchestrated the campaign for Bergel, the NJC administration sought to determine how many of those signing the petition were Jews. [86]

During twenty-nine hearings that extended into late July 1935, more than sixty witnesses appeared before the Trustees Committee in support of Bergel, including eleven faculty members, three of whom were department heads (classics, political science, and Italian), as well as students and alumni. About half of these students and alumni were Jewish. [87] Bergel's witnesses, besides testifying to his competency as a teacher, emphasized that chairman Hauptmann and the other pro-Nazi members of the NJC German Department sometimes propagandized for the Hitler regime in class and suppressed criticism of it from students. Some stated that Hauptmann and other department members specifically defended Hitler's antisemitic policies. The implication was that the German Department would not tolerate an opponent of Nazism on its faculty. Student witnesses described Alice Schlimbach, director of the NJC German House, as a passionate supporter of Hitler who presided over a " Nazi nest." Some also presented specific evidence of Marie Hauptmann's incompetence as a teacher in an effort to convince the Committee that the administration, if it desired to reduce the budget, should have terminated her rather than Bergel.

Faculty witnesses for Bergel described the NJC German Department as a tightly knit group of Nazi sympathizers that tolerated no opposition to the Hitler regime. Frederick E. Woltman, who later won three Pulitzer prizes, reporting on the hearings for the New York World-Telegram, declared that the "gravity and sincerity" of some of these witnesses was "so apparent as to make an obvious impression" on those hearing them. [88] Miriam West, professor of economics at NJC for eight years, stated that the German Department, with its chair, Professor Hauptmann, acting as "dictator," was tightly coordinated in the manner of the Nazi government. Professor West testified that Hauptmann had told her that Nazi Germany was right "in shutting out the Jews to prevent them from gaining control of the country." Professor Shirley Smith, head of NJC's Classics Department, charged that Hauptmann ran the German Department with military regimentation. [89] Professor William Oncken, head of NJC's Italian Department, stated that Hauptmann represented "all that is most despicable in Germany" at that time. [90] Evalyn Clark, instructor in classics, testified that she had heard Hauptmann and his wife defend Nazi antisemitism at a dinner party she attended. [91] Mildred Moulton, assistant professor of political science, noted that the concept of academic freedom would be alien to any passionate supporter of Nazism such as Professor Hauptmann. [92]

Several students testified that Hauptmann had injected Nazi propaganda into classroom lectures and discussion and silenced those who tried to rebut it. An NJC senior stated in a letter to the Committee that Hauptmann's propagandizing in class was "very insidious and continuous." It consisted of a "steady flow of remarks." When students protested his claims that Jews had ruled pre-Hitler Germany by controlling its financial system and had no right to live in Germany, he abruptly "closed the discussion." The senior emphasized that the German Department chair became "very emotional and fanatical" when making these allegations. She asserted that Hauptmann's "definite Nazi bias" was "particularly dangerous because he immediately squelches all opposition." [93] Sylvia Silverman, Class of 1934, described Hauptmann bringing German and French newspapers to class to convince the students that the French were building up armaments and that Germany therefore deserved to rearm. When a trustee asked, "Who did most of the discussing?" Silverman replied, "Herr Hauptmann talked and we listened." She also recalled Hauptmann's defending in class the Nazi policy of relegating women to the home. [94]

Adele Lubman, an NJC sophomore, similarly testified to Hauptmann's aggressive championing of Nazism and refusal to tolerate dissent from students. She declared that he spoke in class of how Hitler was making Germany "a strong, good nation," praising "what he was doing for the people." Lubman stated that Hauptmann never showed approval for anything Jews ever did in Germany, although some students tried to bring to his attention significant Jewish contributions to German culture. When Hudson County assemblyman Samuel Pesin, who was permitted to question witnesses, asked Lubman whether any member of the class had tried to ask Hauptmann about Nazi persecution of Jews, she replied, "Yes, but it was impossible to get anywhere." Lubman stated that Hauptmann tried to stifle in class any opinion that he opposed. [95]

Dorothy Venook, Class of 1934, a German minor who had taken four years of German, including courses with both Hauptmann and Bergel, recalled that Hauptmann had condemned in class the March 1934 anti-Nazi rally in Madison Square Garden that had featured presentations by Al Smith, Senator Millard Tydings, Rabbi Stephen S. Wise, Chancellor Harry Woodburn Chase of New York University, and other prominent opponents of Nazism. She testified that Hauptmann had also denounced the Treaty of Versailles and Germany's disarmament in class. Venook asserted that there was "a definite anti-Semitic feeling" in the German Department. She, like the other witnesses who spoke in Bergel's behalf, described him as a "very competent" teacher. [96]

In 1986, Marion Siegel Friedman, who observed Hauptmann both in the classroom and at the German table in the NJC dining hall, recalled his propagandizing for Hitler among students. His manner was aggressive; he "roared frequently," which sometimes terrified the young women. Friedman recalled that Hauptmann insisted to her that "the newspapers lied" about the Third Reich. If she joined the student tour he led to Germany during the summer vacations, he would demonstrate to her that the Nazis were not antisemitic. Friedman refused Hauptmann's "repeated invitation." [97]

Other students testified that Alice Schlimbach, assistant professor of German, behaved in a similar manner to Hauptmann in class and in the NJC German House, which she directed. All German majors were required to live for at least a year in the German House. Naomi Parness, Class of 1934, stated that Schlimbach on several occasions told her German language class "how wonderful Nazism was," and that she had denied that Hitler was antisemitic. Mary Atwood, who resided at the NJC German House, told the Committee that she had seen several of the students there sing the Nazi party anthem, the Horst Wessel Lied. Atwood testified that the Horst Wessel Lied came first in a book of songs of the Sturmabteilung (SA), the Nazi storm troopers, which was available in the German House. Margarethe Varga had obtained the songbook as an exchange student in Germany and brought it back to NJC. She recalled that "about five songs" in the book made "special reference ... to doing away with the Jewish race in Germany." [98] Atwood stated that because she publicly supported Bergel's reinstatement she had become "an outcast and pariah" at the German House. [99]

Bartlett Cowdrey, Class of 1933, told the Committee that Marie Hauptmann was "the most incompetent instructor" she had ever had at NJC. She expressed astonishment that the administration would terminate Lienhard Bergel, whom she called a "scholar of the first rank," and instead retain Marie Hauptmann, his "inferior both in educational background and as a teacher." Cowdrey had taken intermediate German with Ms. Hauptmann. Two sections of this course were offered, one taught by Ms. Hauptmann and one by Bergel. Cowdrey stated that most of the students were pleased to have been assigned to Ms. Hauptmann's section, because "she was known to be the easiest member of the German department." The class met three days a week, on Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday, but Ms. Hauptmann often did not show up on Saturday. If she did, most of the students were absent anyway. Ms. Hauptmann made little effort to check student attendance. Even at the end of the year, she was unsure of students' names, and her English was so poor she could only pronounce the German ones. Cowdrey claimed that Ms. Hauptmann's examinations "were a farce" and doubted that she even factored them into the final grade. When a student was shown to be unprepared during class recitation or translation, Ms. Hauptmann never made any comment, even to "habitual offender[sj." Cowdrey noted that the course grades "were exceedingly high for the negligible amount of class room work" Ms. Hauptmann required. [100]

Theresa Kunst, president of the NJC League of Women Voters and senior class advisor, also described Ms. Hauptmann as incompetent. Whereas the chair's wife made "swell cake," as a teacher she "couldn't get it across." [101]

Isabelle Shackell, Class of 1934, a non-Jew, stated to the committee that she believed Ms. Hauptmann may have failed her in a German course because she believed Shackell was Jewish. Shackell later received a high grade when she repeated the course in summer school. Ms. Hauptmann told Shackell when she inquired about her grade that she had missed too many classes during Jewish holidays. [102]

Professor Hauptmann during his nearly five days of testimony presented a very benign view of Nazi Germany. The German Department chair stated that the Hitler regime was not spreading propaganda, explaining that many Americans were confused about this issue because they interpreted the word differently from Germans. He claimed that, in Germany, propaganda meant simply "a statement of facts." [103]

Hauptmann's student witnesses presented similar testimony. Two-thirds of them were members of the German Club and lived, or had lived, in the German House. (Only three of Bergel's student witnesses had lived there.) Margarethe Varga, Class of 1935, an exchange student in Germany during the 1933-34 academic year, told the committee that she cherished a framed etching of Adolf Hitler on display in her room. She liked the Fuehrer both as "a dictator and a man." Varga characterized support for Bergel at NJC as an "organized Jewish" movement. Bergel's counsel, Sidney Kaplan, demonstrated, however, that two of the three NJC students Varga had named as leaders in the campaign against termination were non-Jews. Other pro-Hauptmann students attributed support for Bergel to Jews whose perceptions about Germany were distorted by an excessive sensitivity about antisemitism. [104]

Perhaps the most striking feature of the hearings was the Special Trustees Committee's lack of concern about Nazism in Germany and at NJC, its bias against anti-Hitler witnesses, and its obvious sympathy for Hauptmann. Compounding the problem for Bergel was the denial to his counsel of the right of oral cross-examination. They could only submit questions in writing to the committee, which often chose to rephrase those they asked. [105] About three weeks after the hearings began, Samuel Untermyer, president of the Non-Sectarian Anti-Nazi League and leader of the boycott movement against German goods, told New Jersey governor Harold G. Hoffman that he and many others were "far from satisfied with the impartiality of the Board of Trustees that is now taking evidence." [106] In its report on the hearings, the ACLU stated that "the Chairman and other members of the Committee" were "careful to avoid damaging evidence against Dr. Hauptmann" and had failed to "follow up points." [107] Professor Richard P. McCormick, official historian of Rutgers University and co-author of the only book-length study of the Bergel-Hauptmann case, wrote that the Special Trustees Committee was "obviously hostile" toward Bergel and those who testified in his behalf. He noted that the committee was "not disposed to inquire seriously into [the] actions of the [NJC] German Department." [108]

In questioning witnesses, the trustees appeared indifferent toward the evidence that the German Department faculty acted as advocates for the Third Reich in the classroom. Naomi Parness, Class of 1934, testified that when she challenged Alice Schlimbach's claim in class that the Nazis were not antisemitic by asking her why the Hitler regime had prohibited Jews from practicing law, exiled Jewish scholars such as Albert Einstein, and banned Felix Mendelssohn's music, Schlimbach refused to answer. Special Trustees Committee chair Ashmead then asked Parness whether Schlimbach thought Parness's question was "perhaps, a little outside of the course?" Parness shot back: "Well, the whole discussion was outside of the course." [109] Marjorie Fricke, Class of 1935, a German House resident, told the committee that she did not read newspaper articles about  Nazi Germany because Professor Emil Jordan, with whom she studied, "presented the situation [there] fairly" and told his students what they needed to know about it. A smiling Ashmead then asked her whether she believed "the newspaper stories about Germany were untrue and that is why you stopped reading the headlines?" Clearly, he was suggesting that American press accounts about Nazi persecution and violence were inaccurate. Bergel's attorney immediately objected to the manner in which Ashmead was questioning the witness. [110]

Other committee members behaved similarly. When Professor Evalyn Clark testified that Professor Hauptmann had defended Nazi antisemitism in Germany, a trustee dismissed this as irrelevant, exclaiming, "[Y]ou do not mean to say that you have ever found any antipathy towards the Jewish race on this campus?" [111]

In its report upholding Bergel's termination, the Special Trustees Committee found that "none of the classrooms" of the NJC German Department "were ever used for the purpose of spreading pro-Nazi propaganda." or had the German Club put forward such propaganda in any of its activities. The committee dismissed the significance of the German House's possessing the Sturmabteilung songbook containing the Horst Wessel Lied, which it called "a present-day popular patriotic song of Germany." It claimed that Margarethe Varga, who had brought the songbook to the German House, had never attempted to convert any of its residents to Nazism. The committee praised the students who resided in the German House as "a very intelligent group of young women." [112]

The committee was not bothered that without Bergel the German Department faculty was entirely composed of Nazi enthusiasts. It had "not the slightest doubt that each and every member" of the department was not only professionally qualified, but was a person "of unquestionable character." The committee presented Professor Hauptmann's political views as reasonable and stated that he was "not in the slightest degree anti-Semitic" despite his strong support for Nazism. This suggested that it considered Nazism a legitimate political movement, with some justification for its positions and goals. The committee implied that Hauptmann's opposition to democracy was understandable because the multiplicity of political parties in the Weimar Republic had resulted in instability. It took seriously Hauptmann's argument that he was hostile only to Polish Jews who had migrated into Germany after the World War, and therefore could not be antisemitic. The committee did not criticize his claim that this population was an alien element that did not belong in Germany and a major cause of Germany's economic distress. The trustees declared, moreover, that, having been trained as a Protestant minister, Hauptmann "strongly support[ed] the principle of religious freedom." [113]

The committee blamed not only Lienhard Bergel but Sylvia Bergel as well for causing "a lack of harmony" in the German Department. It took Lienhard to task for failing to participate in the activities of the German House, and for his irregular attendance at the German table in the dining hall, although as a principled opponent of Hitler and antisemitism, he was undoubtedly uncomfortable socializing with faculty and student supporters of Nazism. He did often eat at the French table. As a newly hired instructor, Bergel not only had a very heavy teaching load but needed to devote an enormous amount of time to preparing his courses and engaging in research that would lead to publication. The committee noted that it was "a recognized policy in college administration that in engaging a man consideration is to be given also to the personality of his wife." Like her husband, Sylvia Bergel was an outspoken anti-Nazi, and the committee agreed with Hauptmann that she did not mix well with the other members of the German Department. [114]

Ignoring student testimony to the contrary, the committee declared that "there was no improper limitation of discussion in the classrooms." Professors who had refused to allow students to respond when they praised the Hitler regime in class were only exercising "the proper discretion by the teacher to keep the discussion from becoming so controversial and extraneous as to interfere unreasonably with the regular class work." [115]

Particularly revealing was the committee's assessment of Professor Hauptmann's calling together the German Department faculty members in March 1933, shortly after Hitler had assumed power, and telling them not to comment on conditions in Germany because "the real facts" were not known. The committee, apparently sharing Hauptmann's mistrust of American and British press reports about Nazi Germany, called this "sane advice." [116]

The committee report concluded with a stinging rebuke to those NJC students and faculty members who had criticized the German Department's allegiance to Nazism. The only persons at NJC deserving of criticism, it claimed, were those who had "exhibited a measure of intolerance toward members of the German Department, some of whom have ventured to express a favorable point of view toward the aims and endeavors of the government of the land of their birth." [117]

Rutgers president Robert Clothier and other trustees shared the committee's lack of understanding of Nazism. Trustee August Heckscher of New York City, who had visited Nazi Germany for a month during 1934, wrote to Clothier in September 1935 strongly endorsing the committee's report on the Bergel case. Heckscher declared that his observations in Germany had led him to conclude that there was "much fault on both sides," that is, the Jews and the Nazis were about equally to blame for whatever problems beset Germany. He stated that the Hitler government had been "most harsh and inconsiderate" but had nonetheless solved "a problem that had to be solved." Comparing American Jews to the German  Nazis, Heckscher stated that "the Jewish race" had been "almost equally unwise in its aggressive and militant methods," apparently in protesting Nazi persecution in the Third Reich. All that was needed was for "the best of the Jewish race" and the "more tolerant" Nazis, "like Dr. Schacht," to sit down and discuss their differences. [118]

President Clothier replied that he was grateful for Heckscher's letter and called his comments about both Nazism and the Bergel case "highly appropriate." Clothier praised the Special Trustees Committee for conducting its investigation "with painstaking impartiality." He expressed serious concern about the "present spirit of controversy" about Nazism that was "abroad in the land." [119]

Fearing that press coverage of accusations about Nazism on the NJC German faculty might result in the New Jersey legislature reducing appropriations to Rutgers, its administration had Ms. Hauptmann step down from her position as assistant in 1937 and hired Werner Hollmann at the rank of instructor. Dean Corwin hired Hollmann after she received assurances from one of his references, President Ada Comstock of Radcliffe College, that he was not "a strong devotee of one type of government as opposed to another." Comstock explained that Hollmann, son of a Lutheran minister, was not "an adherent" of the Hitler regime but "has found it possible to live under it." She described him as "an exceptionally fine young man," [120] betraying her own unconcern about Hollmann's apparent indifference toward Nazi depredations and the strangulation of Germany's remaining Jews.

Friedrich Hauptmann himself remained an intransigent Nazi through World War II. In late 1940, with Nazi Germany having conquered most of Europe, President Clothier had Dean Corwin instruct Hauptmann not to speak about "controversial matters" in class. In what had become a very threatening geopolitical climate for the United States, Clothier feared that pro-Nazi statements by German Department faculty members could only severely embarrass Rutgers University. Hauptmann wrote to President Clothier on November 12, 1940, that he understood from his conversation with Dean Corwin that Rutgers "would welcome any renunciation on my part of espousing a cause which seems to me worthy of support" -- that is, Nazism. Because he was unwilling to do so, he concluded that the administration wanted him to resign. Hauptmann reiterated that he would not "deny or denounce" Nazi Germany. [121]

Hauptmann's decision to resign was also motivated by his severe financial indebtedness. Even though university trustees and faculty members had already lent him money, he told Corwin that unless the trustees granted him a year's leave with full salary, to be paid into a designated bank account, he would have to declare bankruptcy. [122]

On November 20, 1940, Dean Corwin conveyed to President Clothier her fear that the administration's difficulties with Hauptmann left it in "a very exposed position": "If our present action indicates that the [American] Civil Liberties Union was right in 1935, they will not hesitate to bring it out in the headlines." [123] In 1990, Bergel's widow referred to this correspondence between Corwin and Clothier as the case's "smoking gun." [124]

Hauptmann returned to Germany shortly afterward, his passage paid for at least in part by the Nazi government. There he joined the Nazi party and became the national leader of the Deutsche Akademie (German Academy) for Slovakia. Established to spread German language and culture outside Germany, it disseminated Nazi propaganda during the war. According to the Simon Wiesenthal Center, the Deutsche Akademie "served as a front for intelligence and espionage programs of the Gestapo." American soldiers arrested Hauptmann shortly after the war's end, and he was briefly imprisoned. He died in obscurity in Austria in 1978. [125]

Although the disclosure of Hauptmann's service to the Hitler regime during World War II revived public interest in the Bergel case, the Rutgers administration refused to reconsider it. President Clothier stated in June 1946 that because the Special Trustees Committee had already "carefully and conscientiously" heard all the evidence on the case in 1935 and dismissed the charges, the university considered it closed. [126] Asked by a reporter in June 1946 to comment on Hauptmann's arrest, former acting NJC dean Albert Meder, who had served as a character witness for the German Department chair when he became a naturalized U.S. citizen in March 1939, replied, "He fooled us," as though his Nazi commitment had not been clear to the administration before. [127]

In the intensely anti-Nazi climate that prevailed during the immediate postwar period, the Rutgers administration reaffirmed its support for NJC German Department chair Emil Jordan, who was on record as having endorsed the Hitler regime on campus. Dean Corwin went so far as to claim that Jordan "had not held Nazi sympathies so far as she knew." Jordan remained chair until his retirement in 1966. [128]

In 1946, the Rutgers German Department did hire the anti-Nazi Claude Hill. Hill, who had arrived in the United States as a refugee from Germany in 1938, remained in the department until about 1980. During World War II, he had analyzed German radio broadcasts for the Voice of America. Hill believed that Rutgers had appointed him "in part to refute the image of the German departments that had taken shape in the 1930s." Hill told historian Richard McCormick in 1985 that the Rutgers administration should not have terminated Lienhard Bergel. He believed it should have acknowledged that it had wronged Bergel and "made some gesture" to him after the press reported that Hauptmann had worked for the Nazis in Germany during World War II. Hill considered Emil Jordan, Alice Schlimbach, and Albert Holzmann pro-Nazi. [129]

The Jewish community lionized Bergel as a man who had risked his career to take a principled stand against Nazism. Even while the hearings were in progress, those attending the Jewish-sponsored "commencement in absentia" in Newark -- created for students in Germany who were barred from graduating from school by the Hitler regime's antisemitic legislation -- extolled Bergel for his contribution to the larger struggle against Nazism. A capacity audience at the Ezekiel Home adopted a resolution proposed by a committee of Jewish business and professional people that lauded Bergel as a "valiant non-Jewish opponent of Nazism" and demanded his reinstatement. [130] In February 1936, the Women's Division of the American Jewish Congress in New York sponsored Bergel's lecture on "Nazi Activities in American Colleges," a stinging denunciation of the Rutgers administration's tolerance for pro-Hitler propagandizing, which many Jewish newspapers and periodicals reprinted. [131] In April the Jewish Criterion of Pittsburgh stated flatly that Rutgers had dismissed Bergel "because of his pronounced anti-Nazi views." It asserted that during the Special Trustees Committee hearings "the infiltration of Nazi propaganda in the University was clearly exposed." Rabbi Stephen S. Wise, a founder of the American Jewish Congress and one of the nation's most prominent Jewish leaders, wrote to President Clothier in 1940 urging him to invite Lienhard Bergel to return to Rutgers. Wise told Clothier that he felt Professor Hauptmann had been "bitterly unjust" to Berge;. [132]

After several years outside of academia, Bergel was able to secure an instructorship in 1938 at the newly founded Queens College in New York City. He remained on its faculty until his retirement in 1974. Bergel earned a Ph.D. from New York University in 1945 and published numerous articles in the course of his career. He also received three Fulbright fellowships and participated in the Columbia University seminar on the Renaissance. Bergel was promoted to full professor in 1958 and received an appointment to the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. Thomas Mann and Benedetto Croce praised his work. [133]

The Bergel-Hauptmann case illuminates the extent of support for Nazism by German Department faculty and students in American universities during the 1930s, and the widespread unconcern about it among university trustees, who were often highly influential business leaders. Members of NJC's German faculty, including its chair, did not hesitate to make their enthusiasm for Hitler's Germany known in public forums, and there is considerable evidence that they spoke favorably about it to their students on many occasions in class. The German Department placed impressionable students in an environment in which they were very susceptible to being influenced by pro-Hitler propaganda. It required its majors to reside for at least a year in the German House, under the supervision of an ardent Nazi faculty member. Nationally prominent Jewish leader Samuel Untermyer asked New Jersey's governor for a legislative investigation of the NJC German Department, which he called "a hotbed of Nazi sedition." The 1935 convention of the New Jersey American Legion unanimously adopted a resolution calling on the legislature to investigate charges that "alien instructors" at NJC were spreading Nazi propaganda. [134]

The issues involved in Bergel's termination are complicated, but what is most alarming about the case is the administration's indifference to having an all-Nazi German Department at NJC, and the Rutgers trustees' obvious hostility to committed opponents of Nazism. Bergel, to be sure, was an instructor on a temporary position with as yet no publications, in a period when the university was experiencing financial difficulty. He had a year's less seniority than the pro-Nazi instructor Emil Jordan, who was retained and promoted to assistant professor. But Bergel was the only member of the department trained in teaching German literature. If the administration needed to eliminate a position from the German Department, a more logical choice might have been Marie Hauptmann, who had far less intellectual capability, training, and teaching ability than Bergel, although she had carried a full fifteen-hour course load since 1930-31. Her salary was $540 less than Bergel's. Two years after terminating Bergel, NJC replaced Ms. Hauptmann, an assistant, with a new instructor, Werner Hollmann, suggesting that by then, at least, it could function on the same budget as when Bergel was employed. The 40 percent decline in German enrollments from 1933-34, the first academic year during which Hitler was in power, to 1936-37 could well be explained by an unwillingness of Jewish and other anti- Nazi students to take courses in a Nazified department. Jews had previously made up a disproportionate number of those enrolled in German courses. French enrollments declined only 10 percent during the same period, and Spanish enrollments increased 23 percent. [135]

During the hearings of the Rutgers Special Trustees Committee, the Philadelphia Jewish Exponent declared that investigations at other universities would disclose the "sorry truth" that many German departments resembled NJC'S. [136] This was indeed the case, as many German department faculty members and the students they influenced served as campus apologists for Nazi Germany. By writing articles and letters in college newspapers justifying Hitler's policies, and through interviews in metropolitan dailies, they disparaged the Weimar Republic and extolled Hitler as Germany's savior. German departments were centrally involved in promoting student exchanges with Nazified universities and faculty and student tours of the "New Germany." Tightly supervised by Nazi functionaries while in Germany, participants usually returned prepared to propagandize for the Third Reich in the United States. The Hitler government even maintained a list in Berlin of former American graduate exchange students in Germany, assuming that many joined German department faculties in the United States, and regularly mailed them Nazi propaganda. [137] As the major facilitators of social interaction between  Nazi diplomats and university administrators, faculty, and students, German departments assisted the Hitler government in its effort to present itself as a legitimate member of a community of nations, with justified grievances and reasonable objectives.
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Re: The Third Reich in the Ivory Tower: Complicity and Confl

Postby admin » Mon Sep 17, 2018 1:26 am

Part 1 of 2

7. American Catholic Universities' Flirtation with Fascism

For the most part sympathetic to Benito Mussolini's Fascist regime, American Catholic universities also helped the new Hitler government project a more favorable image in this country. Catholic institutions of higher learning constituted one of the most important and visible bases of support for the Fascist uprising against the democratically elected government of Spain during that country's civil war. They also provided supporters of Mussolini's invasion of Ethiopia with an important platform to influence Catholics and other Americans. Sentiment for appeasement of Nazi Germany was pronounced on American Catholic campuses until U.S. entry into World War II.

When the Nazis came to power, the Vatican quickly sought to establish friendly ties with the Hitler regime. The Vatican secretary of state, Cardinal Pacelli, negotiated a Concordat with the Nazi government, signed and announced in July 1933 and ratified in September. This constituted  Nazi Germany's "first great diplomatic triumph." Pope Pius XI considered the new German regime potentially the Church's most important ally in the struggle against Communism and secular liberalism, which he perceived as the greatest threats to Christianity. In the Concordat, the German Catholic Church and its bishops swore allegiance to the new Nazi state. The Church also agreed not to participate in politics and to disband the Center (Catholic) party. In exchange, the Church, its religious organizations, and its press were permitted to operate without government interference. [1]

Justifying the Concordat to American diplomat James G. McDonald in Rome about five weeks after its signing, Pius XI declared that the Church "did not pick and choose with whom it would negotiate; it dealt with those in power." The pope pointed out, moreover, that "many Catholics," such as former chancellor Franz von Papen, a member of Hitler's cabinet, had "worked earnestly for the Concordat." [2]

By investing its considerable prestige in such a "treaty of cooperation" with Nazi Germany, the Vatican helped enhance the stature of the Hitler regime at a critically important time. Hitler informed his cabinet upon the signing of the Concordat that it had "created an aura of trust" for Germany in Europe that would be of benefit "in the developing struggle against international Jewry." [3]

In August 1933, Vicar General Steinmann, speaking for the Catholic bishop of Berlin, unable to be present because of illness, thanked both Chancellor Adolf Hitler and Pope Pius XI for the Concordat at a mass rally of thousands of Catholic youths of the Berlin Bishopric, who pledged allegiance to Hitler. Vicar General Steinmann cried out from the podium: "Our Chancellor has been appointed by God." He promised that "Catholic youth will help the Fatherland to rise again to greatness and glory." [4]

During the 1930s, the Vatican continued to view the Jews as a people whom God had condemned to live in misery for the alleged crime of deicide, committed nearly two millennia before. The Catholic Church sympathized with Nazi claims that Jews exercised excessive influence in Germany's economic and cultural life, an accusation the Hitler government used to justify the mass expulsions of Jews from the professions, university faculties, newspaper positions, the theater, and the film industry. Neither the Vatican nor the German Catholic Church publicly challenged the removal of Jews from these fields, which was well underway when the Concordat was signed, or the Nazis' national boycott of Jewish businesses staged on April 1, 1933.

Pius XI (Achille Ratti), pope from 1921 until his death in 1939, held strongly antisemitic views. Immediately prior to becoming pope, Ratti had been the Vatican's special ambassador to Poland during the brutal postwar pogroms, in which thousands of Jews were murdered. Ratti had made every effort to ensure that the Vatican took no action to discourage the Poles from slaughtering Jews and burning their homes and synagogues. Some of the pogroms were inspired by blood libel accusations circulated by Poland's Catholic nationalist press -- accusations that Jews kidnapped and murdered Christian children to extract their blood to mix with matzoh at Passover. Instead, Ratti warned the Vatican secretary of state of the Jews' disproportionate power in Poland and called the Jews "perhaps the strongest and the most evil" influence in the country. He portrayed the Jews of Poland "as an insidious foreign force eating away at the Polish nation," just as the Nazis later described the Jews of every country. During Pius Xl's papacy, the influential Jesuit publication Civiltli cattolica, considered "the unofficial voice of the pope himself," embarked on a virulently antisemitic campaign. [5]

James G. McDonald reported that when he asked Pius XI in Rome in August 1933 about the Church's attitude toward the plight of Germany's Jews, "his reply, both the tone and the contents, convinced me that there could be no help expected from that source." [6] When the Concordat was ratified the next month, Pius XI notified the German charge d'affaires of his concern for German Catholics who had converted from Judaism, or who were descended from persons who had done so, and were suffering discrimination because Nazi antisemitic legislation defined them as racially Jewish. He made no effort on behalf of Jews who had not converted and did not attempt to intervene when the Nuremberg laws of September 1935 stripped them of German citizenship. The Church's position, maintained consistently throughout the Nazi era, was to intervene only on behalf of persons of Jewish background who identified as Catholic. Even then, as Saul Friedlander noted, it generally "submitted to the Nazi measures against converted Jews." [7]

The Catholic Church provided a significant boost for a diplomatically isolated Nazi Germany during the winter of 1934-35, by backing a "Yes" vote in a plebiscite conducted in the Saar, an important coalmining region, over whether it should again become part of Germany. The Allied powers at the Versailles Peace Conference had assigned the largely German-speaking Saar to France under a League of Nations mandate, with the stipulation that after fifteen years its population would vote whether to join France or Germany. Members of the dissolved Center party allied with Nazis and right-wing Nationalists in a "Deutsche Front" that campaigned to join the Saar to the Third Reich. [8] In Germany, the Catholic bishops of Paderborn, Fulda, and Hildesheim issued a joint statement in December 1934 that all churches in their districts would pray to God for "a plebiscite result favorable to the German nation." [9] When the referendum was held, the Saar's overwhelmingly Catholic population voted by more than 90 percent to become part of Nazi Germany. The Saar's dramatic vote of approval for Nazi Germany energized Hitler, who embarked on a significant expansion of Germany's armed forces. [10]

American Catholic Universities and Nazi Germany

In the United States, the Catholic Church hierarchy, and the top administrators of Catholic universities, kept a lower profile on the issue of Nazi Germany. Criticism of the Third Reich from the American hierarchy was directed mostly at Nazi infringements on Church autonomy, interpreted as violations of the Concordat, and at statements by some Nazi officials considered pagans. Even Catholic spokespersons critical of the Hitler regime almost invariably spoke favorably of Mussolini, especially after his own Concordat with the Vatican, and of Franco's insurgents.

A few prominent lay Catholics in the United States from the outset contributed significantly to heightening public awareness of the Nazis' antisemitic atrocities, but they were not associated with institutions of higher learning. In June 1933, Michael Williams, editor of the Catholic periodical the Commonweal, returning from a six-week visit to Germany, declared that the Nazi antisemitic campaign "surpasses any recorded instance of persecution in Jewish history." He reported that the Nazis intended "to absolutely eliminate the Jewish portion of the German nation." [11] Al Smith, former governor of New York, who in 1928, as the Democratic nominee, had been the first Catholic to run for president of the United States, in September 1933 denounced Nazism as a "descent into barbarism" at a dinner to honor Jewish attorney Samuel Untermyer, a leader of the movement to boycott German goods and services. Smith also contributed an essay to one of the first books published in the United States to condemn the Hitler regime, entitled Nazism: An Assault on Civilization (1934). Both Smith and Williams appeared as "witnesses" at a mock trial of the Nazi government, accused of "a crime against civilization," in New York City's Madison Square Garden in March 1934, attended by 20,000 people. Catholic labor leader Matthew Woll was a prominent spokesperson for the boycott of Nazi products from 1933 onward. [12]

Throughout the 1930s, however, lecturers and symposia on German affairs at American Catholic universities often sought to emphasize allegedly positive features of the Hitler regime, while downplaying the significance of antisemitism. Campus newspapers sometimes expressed disapproval of the Nazi government's "intolerance" of Jews. Just as common were articles such as the May 1933 Notre Dame Scholastic editorial that criticized an American opponent of Hitler for his "one-sided outlook." The Scholastic complained that Hitler's critics imputed a sinister motive when he asked for peace. Instead, Americans should give Hitler "the benefit of the doubt." After all, "mutual trust" was "the basis of international amity." [13] In a lecture to the Notre Dame University International Relations Club on "Hitler and Hitlerism" in March 1933, Father Julian P. Sigmar declared at the outset that he would not address the "question of whether the Jews in Germany are really persecuted." He concentrated instead on denouncing the Social Democratic governments of the Weimar Republic, which he claimed had abused Germany's World War veterans. He asserted that Germany's soaring inflation in the early 1920s had been caused by the Social Democrats' pandering to unreasonable demands from the trade unions. The implication was that Hitler had rescued Germany from dangerous instability. [14]

Many American Catholics in and outside of academia complained that the public appeared to be more concerned about Nazi oppression of Jews in Germany than with what they claimed was the more severe persecution of Catholics in Mexico and Spain, and Christians in the Soviet Union. The assistant general secretary of the National Catholic Welfare Conference (NCWC) stated that the resolution Senator Millard Tydings had introduced in the U.S. Senate putting the government on record as denouncing Nazi Germany's persecution of Jews was unsatisfactory because it failed "to have the persecution of Catholic citizens [in Mexico and Spain] condemned quite as heartily." [15] Another NCWC leader was similarly upset when Senator Henry Hatfield in the Congressional Record denounced Nazi antisemitism but said "nothing ... of the persecution [of Catholics] in Mexico and Spain." [16] In October 1934, an editorial in the Hoya, student newspaper of Georgetown University, complained that "in the past year we have heard much of the persecution of Jews in Germany," while nations of the "so-called civilized world" had been extending recognition to the Soviet Union, a country whose objective "is to tear down present-day civilization" and that was "persecuting Christians." [17]

In January 1934, Rev. Dr. Joseph Thorning, S.J., professor of sociology at Georgetown and former foreign correspondent for the Jesuit magazine America, credited the Nazi government with significant achievements in a lecture on "Chancellor Hitler, the Man and His Movement," sponsored by St. Joseph's College in Philadelphia, that city's Jesuit institution of higher learning. The president of St. Joseph's College, the Very Reverend Thomas J. Higgins, S.J., personally introduced Thorning, who had recently met with Adolf Hitler in Berlin. Thorning praised the Nazi regime for defeating Communism in Germany and "crushing the materialistic spirit of social democracy." Nazism had brought about "a moral resurrection of the German people." Thorning identified as Nazism's "less favorable results" limitations on individual liberty, an excessively powerful central government, and a "revival of militaristic spirit." He was confident that the Catholic Church could work out any differences with the Nazi government "in a friendly, conciliatory spirit." [18]

Fordham, a Jesuit university and the world's largest Catholic institution of higher learning, with 8,000 students, held an open forum on Hitler's policies in March 1934, the same month the mock trial at Madison Square Garden convicted the Nazi regime for "a crime against civilization." The mood at the Fordham forum was strikingly different, however. The first speaker declared that Hitler had restored stability to Germany and saved it from Communism. He defended the Nazi persecution of Jews as necessary, claiming that Jews were "the mainstay of the Communist Party." After several other students had spoken, the forum reached a consensus: Hitler's policies were justified, with reservations, because the Allied powers had treated Germany unfairly after the war, and a "preponderance of Jews in professional life" allowed a minority disproportionate influence. The professor moderating the forum, in summarizing what had been said, expressed surprise at the students' "defense of Hitler's policies." [19]

About the same time, Heinz Nixdorf, a former German exchange student at Columbia who had chaired its International House's Student Council and was currently employed by the North German Lloyd shipping line, presented a campus lecture praising the Third Reich. Nixdorf denied that the Hitler regime had restricted freedom of speech and accused the American press of providing inaccurate accounts of the situation in Germany. He credited the Nazi government with introducing "many provisions" to benefit students. [20]

Robert Mullen, a Notre Dame junior enrolled at the University of Heidelberg during the 1936-37 academic year, although avoiding political comment, described living conditions in the Third Reich very favorably in a series of articles he wrote for the Notre Dame Scholastic. Mullen reported that when he landed in the port of Bremen in September 1936, he "strolled through many beautiful parks," where to his surprise "roses [were] still in bloom." He was struck by "the absolute cleanliness of the town." The people's homes "were really beautiful," each with flower boxes to "decorat[e] the windows." Mullen remarked that "[t]he color, cheerfulness, and cleanliness of the ... town makes it very inviting and pleasant." Such was his introduction to the Third Reich. Mullen noted that the programs on German radio, a central instrument of Nazi propaganda, were "excellent." He claimed that the university student in Germany was "accorded all the academic freedom possible." [21]

The student newspaper at Boston College, another prominent Jesuit institution, praised Hitler's foreign policy and leadership, as well as his personal qualities, in a March 1935 editorial. It condemned the Allied powers for imposing on Germany "overwhelming indemnities" and the "thoroughly unjust stigma of 'war guilt.''' The editorial also criticized their granting Poland "an agrarian and not a commercial state," a corridor to the sea, which cut East Prussia off from the rest of Germany. Chancellor Stresemann, "who played the puppet for the allies," had done nothing "to alleviate Germany's sad condition." Fortunately, Adolf Hitler had appeared on the scene, "a man of courage" who refused to submit to shame and insisted that Germany be treated fairly. Because it was "surrounded by nations ... armed up to the teeth," Germany had a right to significantly enlarge its armed forces. [22]

In May 1935, Mgr. James H. Ryan, rector of the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C., received Dr. Hans Luther, Nazi Germany's ambassador to the United States, at the university's annual alumni banquet and sports award dinner. When Luther was introduced to the audience, it welcomed him with a rousing college cheer, "CU, CU, Luther." The Washington Post noted that Mgr. Ryan "was kept very busy" the next day "explaining the significance" of these Catholic University cheers for the Nazi ambassador. Luther invited the college athletes present to attend the next year's Olympic Games in Berlin, hosted by the  Nazi government. Football coaches Dick Harlow of Harvard and Jim Crowley of Fordham shared the podium with the Nazi ambassador. [23]

During the 1930s, Anton Lang Jr., professor of German at Georgetown University, served as a leading publicist in the United States for the fiercely antisemitic Oberammergau Passion Play, performed throughout the summers of 1930 and 1934. The play was scheduled to be performed again in the summer of 1940. Anton Lang Jr.'s father had played the role of Jesus from 1900 until 1922 and interpreted the prologue in 1930 and 1934. [24] The senior Lang in 1923 had led a troupe of passion play actors in a six-month tour of the United States to inform Americans about the play and to raise money for Oberammergau. [25] His son, the Georgetown professor, born and raised in Oberammergau, continued this work, presenting lectures and slide shows on "beautiful Oberammergau and the play for which it is famous." Anton Lang Jr.'s wife played Mary Magdalen in the passion play. [26]

The Nazi government also promoted the passion play on American Catholic university campuses, where the religious themes and focus on Jewish deicide exerted strong appeal. In January 1938, the student newspaper at Fordham reported that the campus German Club had been delighted with a film it had just screened depicting the Oberammergau Passion Play, supplied by the government-controlled German railroads. [27]

Robert I. Gannon, S.J., president of Fordham University, later that year built his speech on Jesus, celebrating the reopening of New York City's Church of the Nativity, around the image of venomous, deicidal Jews central to the Oberammergau Passion Play. President Gannon described Jesus returning to the synagogue in which he had worshiped as a youth for the first time since "set[ting] out to find St. John the Baptist." Gannon had Jesus informing the synagogue that he was the messiah of whom Isaiah had spoken. This announcement precipitated an angry response from the Jews, who rushed from their seats and "seized Him [Jesus] roughly." The Jews then took Jesus out of the synagogue to a nearby cliff, planning to murder him by pushing him over the precipice, two years before his crucifixion. But it was too soon for Jesus to die, and to the Jews' "anger, amazement, and confusion," they "suddenly realized that He had disappeared." [28]

Criticism of the Hitler regime in student newspapers at American Catholic universities tended to focus on the oppression of Catholics rather than Jews. The Notre Dame Scholastic did publish a passionate denunciation of sending delegates to the University of Heidelberg's 550th anniversary celebration. Its editorial declared that Hitler should limit invitations to those who supported "tyranny, race oppression [a euphemism for antisemitism], and academic slavery" and praised the British universities for their refusal to send delegates. It dismissed the University of Heidelberg as nothing but "a Nazi propaganda school." Professors in Germany who did not "grovel servilly [sic] before Hitler" were discharged and sometimes exiled. The editorial did not address the support of the German Catholic Church, and the Lutheran and Evangelical Churches, for many  Nazi policies, and it defined Nazism as an "ultra-modern philosophy," suggesting that it was completely disconnected from Christian antisemitism. Although still underestimating the severity of Jewish suffering in Germany, the editorial, unlike much Catholic criticism of Nazism, suggested that Nazi persecution of Jews was worse than that of Catholics. Jews were "baited and hounded"; Catholics and Protestants were "restricted in the exercise of religious liberty." [29]

More typical of Catholic anti-Nazi criticism was that expressed by W. Ralph Schreiner, a German youth beginning his freshman year at Fordham in the fall of 1937, just arrived in the United States. Schreiner described "everywhere" in Germany the "evidence of a nation bound up in a strait-jacket." Parks, theaters, and cafes posted signs forbidding Jews to enter. The Nazis had forced into exile "Jewish scholars ... of immense stature," such as Albert Einstein. But Schreiner declared that in Germany "opposition [to] Catholics has been even more far-reaching." He also described the German people as not enthusiastic about Hitler and opposed to war. [30]

Catholic university administrators generally avoided taking any public stand against Nazism. Mgr. James H. Ryan, rector of Catholic University, refused to participate in planning even a symbolic protest against American academic involvement in the University of Heidelberg's 550th anniversary celebration. Bernard A. Grossman, chairman of the Committee on Education of the Federal Bar Association, wrote to Mgr. Ryan in March 1936 asking him to help formulate a plan to express educators' opposition to the upcoming Nazi-sponsored festivities, possibly by organizing a symbolic funeral for the University of Heidelberg to mourn the "death of learning and academic freedom" there. The proposed funeral would close with a period "of general, silent prayer for the restoration" of the pre-Hitler university. On Grossman's letter, P. J. McCormick, Catholic University's vice-rector, wrote, "No reply." [31]

Although concerned about Nazi infringements on the Concordat, the Vatican during the late 1930s publicly promoted friendly relations with the Hitler regime. The New York Times reported in February 1937 that Pope Pius XI was very pleased when Hitler sent him a "solicitous message" to congratulate him on the fifteenth anniversary of his coronation. The pope directed the Vatican secretary of state, Cardinal Pacelli, to send Hitler a "cordial reply." [32]

American Catholic Universities and Italian Fascism

American Catholic universities maintained friendly relations with Benito Mussolini's Fascist government, welcoming its diplomats to their campuses and honoring them, and providing an important platform for speakers sympathetic to the regime and its invasion and conquest of Ethiopia in 1935-36. Leading members of the American Catholic Church hierarchy, such as William Cardinal O'Connell of Boston and Patrick Cardinal Hayes of New York, and major Catholic publications, like the Jesuit organ America, spoke approvingly of Fascism's achievements in Italy. [33]

Catholic universities constituted important stops for the 350-member Italian Fascist delegation that came to the United States in September and October 1934 on a "goodwill" tour. Shortly after its arrival, the entire delegation visited Georgetown University in Washington, D.e. The Fascist students then proceeded to the Italian embassy, where Mussolini's ambassador to the United States, Augusto Rosso, welcomed them and spoke about Italo-American friendship. When Ambassador Rosso completed his address, the Italian students cheered Il Duce and the Fascist state. Then the composer of the Fascist hymn "Giovinezza," Giuseppe Blanc, led the black-shirred Italian students in singing it. Rev. Edmund Walsh, S.J., regent of the Georgetown University School of Foreign Service, represented the university at the reception. The Fascist students were also received while in Washington by administrators at Catholic University, who gave them a tour of the campus. [34]

Several days later, a reception committee from the University of Notre Dame Italian Club, headed by two professors and joined by the school band, greeted the Fascist students when they arrived on campus from Chicago, accompanied by the Italian consul-general of that city. Notre Dame's president, Rev. John F. O'Hara, C.S.C., officially welcomed the delegation and spoke about how Notre Dame had greatly benefitted from Italian influence. Giuseppe Blanc presented President O'Hara with a certificate of invitation, signed by Fascist leaders, to visit the Italian universities from which the students were drawn. He also donated a book detailing the history of Italian universities. As the Italians marched to the dining halls, they answered the Notre Dame students' college cheers with the Fascist yell. [35]

When they returned to the East Coast, the Italian students, wearing coats with the Fascisti emblem, received a warm welcome at Boston College from its rector, the Reverend Francis J. Mulligan, S.J. Boston College's campus newspaper denounced anti-fascist critics of the visiting Italian Fascist students, declaring, "All biased reports which usually precede these good will tours were stifled by the pleasing and quiet personalities of these men." [36]

Until World War II, a steady stream of speakers at America's Catholic universities praised Mussolini's regime, while administrators fostered cordial ties with its leaders and emissaries. By contrast, Italian anti-fascist exiles received almost no hearing. At Boston College in 1938, J. F. X. Murphy, S.J., described Il Duce as a "surgeon" who had removed the "vicious growths" of "Socialism, Atheism, and Anti-Clericalism" from Italian life. He forcefully denounced the press's "misrepresentation" of "Mussolini and what he has done." The Fascist dictator had reversed his nation's decline, caused by Italy's having "imitat[ed] Protestant England rather than Catholic Spain and France." This "Supreme blunder" had unleashed "a wave of anti-clericalism" that had in turn precipitated the "ruthless march of Freemasons, Socialists, and Communists." Mussolini had defeated these threats to Christianity in Italy and restored her "to the glory of her past." [37]

Leonid I. Strakhovsky, professor of modern European history at Georgetown's School of Foreign Service, returning from a trip to Italy in 1935, described in the Washington Post how Mussolini had "clean[ed] the country both physically and morally." He declared that Rome, Florence, Milan, and Naples had become "model communities" without "the dirt [and] ... unsanitary conditions" characteristic of pre-Fascist Italy. "Vigor land] initiative" had replaced "indolence [and] lack of discipline," spurring massive housing and highway construction. Professor Strakhovsky boasted that under Mussolini, the trains now "arrive on schedule." He attributed dramatic improvements in Italy's economic and cultural life to "the untiring building and molding energy of Fascism." [38]

At Notre Dame in 1937, Hazel Chase West, billed as a "noted writer and lecturer" and expert on Italy, similarly celebrated what she alleged were Fascism's spectacular achievements. Reporting on her recent trip to Italy, West showed slides of "smiling, healthy children" and "modern buildings and marvelous roads," all of which, she proclaimed, was "part of the magnificent and modern Italy of Mussolini." [39]

Presidents at American Catholic universities often sought advice and assistance from prominent Fascist officials, who, in turn, sometimes bestowed honors on their professors. In 1937, Mgr. Joseph Corrigan, rector of Catholic University, personally met with Mussolini in Rome to discuss Corrigan's proposal to establish a school of social security at his institution. Corrigan was eager to learn from Mussolini about Italy's current social legislation. He also met with Agostino Gemelli, rector of the Fascist-controlled Catholic University of Milan to discuss its approach to social service education. [40]

When Mussolini learned from his consul-general in New York that Fordham University had no Italian department, the dictator promptly expressed his concern to the Vatican. The Vatican responded by contacting the Father General of the Jesuits in the United States, who wrote to President Gannon of Fordham "expressing his astonishment." As a result, Fordham established an Italian department in January 1937. It "opened with a flourish," with Fordham conferring an honorary degree on Fascist Italy's ambassador to the United States, Fulvio Suvich. [41]

Nearly a year later, Ambassador Suvich, in a ceremony at the Italian embassy, awarded "the cross" to Domingo Caino de Cancio, professor of Romance languages at Georgetown and founder of the university's Italian Club, and made him Chevalier of the Crown of Italy. Professor Caino was the son of Fascist Italy's consul-general in Puerto Rico. The Georgetown student newspaper reported that the university's "faculty and student body wish to congratulate Professor Caino for the unusual honor bestowed upon him." [42]

When Fascist Italy invaded Ethiopia in 1935, it received strong backing on American Catholic university campuses, as it did from the Church hierarchy in Italy. More than 100 Italian bishops and archbishops issued declarations of support for the invasion and mobilized the public behind it. Diocesan conferences and Catholic student groups regularly made statements endorsing the war effort. Fifteen Italian cardinals participated in Fascist demonstrations during the Italo-Ethiopian war. The Jesuit Civiltii cattolica portrayed the invasion as a war of liberation from Coptic rule. Italian victory would bring Jesuit missionaries to Ethiopia, who would convert its population to Catholicism. [43] Gaetano Salvemini, the most prominent anti-fascist Italian exile in the United States, declared that many of America's Italian-speaking priests were "carriers of Fascist propaganda" who encouraged Italian-Americans to back the invasion. [44]

Speakers on American Catholic university campuses portrayed the invasion as a war to civilize a nation of "savage tribes," justified because overpopulated Italy deserved additional natural resources and an outlet for emigration. War correspondent W. W. Chaplin, in an address at Georgetown, praised Mussolini for his determination to achieve these objectives. Mussolini had granted Chaplin an interview in Rome, and the correspondent described Il Duce to his Georgetown audience as "a gentle, witty, clever, and thoroughly human man." He credited him with "put[ting] Italy on its feet." [45] At Notre Dame, visiting history professor Christopher Hollis, in his regular bi-weekly campus lecture, also credited Italy with a civilizing mission in Ethiopia, where murder had been "the normal daily routine of ... life." He declared that wherever there existed a population consisting of both white and "colored" people, the latter must necessarily be subordinated. [46]

When the Fascist army had completed its conquest of Ethiopia in 1936, Pope Pius XI bestowed his apostolic benediction on Italy's monarch Victor Emmanuel as "King of Italy and Emperor of Ethiopia." [47] The Church hierarchy's support for the invasion undoubtedly strongly influenced many American Catholic students, who were exposed on campus only to propagandists for Italy. At Fordham in March 1938, the audience at a student debate on whether Britain should recognize Italy's conquest of Ethiopia awarded victory to the team arguing the affirmative. [48]
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Re: The Third Reich in the Ivory Tower: Complicity and Confl

Postby admin » Mon Sep 17, 2018 1:26 am

Part 2 of 2

Rallying Behind Franco's Cruzada: American Catholic Universities and the Spanish Civil War, 1936-1939

American Catholic university administrators joined the Church hierarchy in rallying to the support of General Francisco Franco's insurrection to overthrow Spain's republican government. Catholic leaders in the United States and Europe considered Franco's war against the democratically elected Loyalists a religious crusade against Communism. Spain was the land Catholics had devoted seven centuries to wresting back from the Moors, and they attached enormous emotional significance to what they considered a new reconquista. In December 1936, Dr. Edmund A. Walsh, S.J., vice-president of Georgetown University, implied that the Spanish Loyalists were an instrument of a Communist movement that posed "the greatest peril to Christian civilization ... since the Mohammedan invasion of Europe." [49]

The most prominent leaders of the Catholic Church in the United States publicly endorsed Franco's revolt. Patrick Cardinal Hayes of New York City in March 1938 declared that the Spanish republican government was "controlled by Communists and other radicals" and that he was praying for a Franco victory, [50] That same month William Cardinal O'Connell of Boston described the republican government as "nothing but piracy and communism gone rank." Cardinal O'Connell served as honorary chairman of the Spanish Nationalist Relief Committee, which raised money for Franco's cause. [51] The Boston archdiocesan newspaper, the Pilot, considered Cardinal O'Connell's mouthpiece, portrayed Franco as a model Catholic ruler who attended Mass every day. [52] The American Catholic hierarchy so emotionally identified with Franco's cause that it intervened in the casting of the movie biography of Knute Rockne because the studio's original choice to play the legendary Notre Dame football coach, Irish-American actor James Cagney, had publicly endorsed the Loyalist cause. Church officials succeeded in denying Cagney the role. [53]

Catholics differed sharply with the overwhelmingly pro-Loyalist American Jewish community over the Spanish Civil War. Many Catholics claimed that "Jewish domination" of the American press explained what they perceived as its pro-Loyalist bias. [54] Jews were drawn to the Loyalists because they were staging the first armed resistance against Fascism. Jews comprised about 30 percent of the volunteers for the International Brigades that came to Spain to defend the republican government, the highest proportion of any ethnic group or nationality. [55]

The Spanish Church's centuries-long tradition of virulent antisemitism and Inquisitorial persecution, and the Falangist statements and acts of aggression against Jews in Spain and North Africa, alarmed many American Jews. The Spanish Church had been instrumental in destroying Europe's largest Jewish community. It encouraged waves of pogroms in 1391 that drastically reduced the Jewish population through murder and forced conversion, and in 1492 it had helped persuade the Crown to permanently expel those who remained. Insurgent general Queipo de Llano declared over the radio in October 1936 that "our war is not a Spanish civil war, it is a war of western civilization against the Jews of the entire world." [56] The major Jewish news service, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency (JTA), described Franco's forces as overtly antisemitic. It reported in August 1936 that the rebels had broadcast over the radio from Seville, a city they held, that" [i]nternational Jewry is definitely siding with the [republican] government." The JTA also stated in the same report that Franco's troops had "arrested and imprisoned in concentration camps the entire Jewish population of Meillua, Spanish Morocco." [57]

Presidents of leading American Catholic universities echoed the views of the prelates and of major diocesan newspapers such as the Brooklyn Tablet and Boston's Pilot, using the words "Loyalist" and "Communist" interchangeably. They denounced the republican forces as uncivilized and repeatedly accused them of the mass murder of nuns and priests and the burning of churches. The Pilot claimed that the "communists" in Barcelona had dug slain nuns out of their graves and placed cigarettes in the corpses' mouths. [58] By contrast, Catholic presidents and prelates equated Franco with George Washington and his troops with the patriots of the American Revolution. President Robert I. Gannon of Fordham in an October 1936 speech, at which Cardinal Hayes presided, declared that the Loyalists adhered not to "the Law, but to their own laws," which he identified as "laws of class greed, laws of class hatred ... unjust, communistic laws." He defined Franco's rebels, in this context, as "glorious outlaws" who fought for God's Law, and he compared them to Washington and Catholic martyrs such as St. Thomas More and those "of the Tower and of Tyburn." [59]

President Joseph M. Corrigan of Catholic University published a strongly pro-Franco letter in the New York Sun in October 1937, asserting that the Loyalists had gained control of the Spanish government through "manipulation of elections." The rebels were therefore seeking to overthrow an illegitimate government. [60] President Corrigan approved the proposal of several of his students that he sing a High Mass in the University Shrine for "seminary students and young religious" allegedly "martyred" by Loyalist forces in Spain. [61]

Catholic university presidents, administrators, and professors were prominent among the 175 American Catholic clergymen and laymen who in October 1937 released a statement that defended Catholic support of Franco's rebellion and declared that the Loyalists, if victorious, would establish a Soviet dictatorship in Spain. Their statement supported an open letter the Spanish bishops had issued strongly backing the insurgents. The American Catholics challenged Protestants to explain any support for a republican government "which has carried on a ruthless persecution of the Christian religion since February 1936." Many luminaries in American Catholic higher education joined former New York governor AI Smith, Commonweal editor Michael Williams, and Knights of Columbus head Martin H. Carmody in signing the statement. They included the presidents of Catholic University and Fordham, Joseph Corrigan and Robert 1. Gannon, respectively; the Reverend Thomas]. Higgins, S.J., president of St. Joseph's College of Philadelphia; the Reverend Raphael McCarthy, S.J., president of Marquette University; the Reverend Harold Gaudin, president of Loyola University of New Orleans; the Reverend Brother Albert, president of St. Mary's College in California; Ignatius M. Wilkinson, dean of Fordham Law School; the Reverend Dr. Peter Guilday, editor of the Catholic Historical Review; and Professor Carlton J. H. Hayes of Columbia University. [62]

The Fascist cause in Spain also received very widespread backing from students at Catholic universities, reflected in campus newspaper editorials and presentations at student symposia. Support for the Loyalists was almost never voiced on Catholic campuses, although the republican government had significant support at some elite, non-Catholic institutions of higher learning, and at some state universities. The Fordham Ram in October 1937 bitterly denounced a group of what it described as "Protestant clergymen, educators, and laymen" that had published a statement in the New York Times challenging the Spanish bishops' recent open letter supporting Franco's insurrection. The Ram reported that the Protestants' statement had been drafted by Dr. Guy Emery Shipler, editor of the Protestant Episcopal magazine the Churchman, whom the Ram identified as "a member of the National Religion and Labor Foundation" allegedly established "to spread communism and socialism in the churches." The Ram also identified three Columbia professors who had signed the statement, John Dewey, George Counts, and Franz Boas (a Jew, not a Protestant) as men who "are well known for their atheism and radicalism." Others among the signers had been "taken in hook, line, and sinker" by the Loyalist government's "Red propaganda," which the American press "shamefully ... accepted as 'news.''' The Protestant statement repeated "all the old lies," an example of which, according to the Ram, was the report that Fascist airplanes had bombed Guernica. It included nothing about "the terrible massacres and horrible torturing of priests and nuns, the burning of churches, and the desecration of graves" by the "Reds and Anarchists." [63]

The Fordham Student Council in January 1937, meeting in extraordinary session, passed a series of resolutions that assailed the Loyalists "as Communist hirelings and denounc[ed] their atheistic activities." The Student Council condemned American newspaper coverage of the Spanish Civil War as strongly biased in favor of the Loyalists. It announced plans to hold a dance to raise funds to buy medical supplies for Franco's troops. [64]

The frequent symposia and lectures on the Spanish Civil War held at Catholic universities provided the Fascist cause with one of its most important platforms in the United States. Invariably, only Franco's side was presented; the conflict was not debated. President Gannon of Fordham presided at a mass meeting on the Spanish war at New York City's Carnegie Hall, sponsored by the Fordham University Alumnae Association and featuring as speakers Fordham professors Hillaire Belloc and the Reverend Jaime Castiello, both strong supporters of Franco. Reflecting the Church's view of the war as a religious conflict, the symposium was titled "A Modern Lepanto," after a sixteenth-century naval battle in which European Christian forces had defeated the Muslim Turks. Cardinal Hayes of New York sent his blessing to the meeting, which raised $5,000 "for the victims of Communism in Spain." [65] Fordham's Freshman Sodality organization sponsored a talk by a student who accused the New York Times of publishing "Red propaganda" about the Spanish conflict. [66]

Spanish Civil War symposia often brought students together from several Catholic campuses to promote the Fascist cause. In December 1936, Georgetown University hosted a Catholic Youth convention to formulate a program of action against "atheism and communism," which attracted delegates from Trinity College and numerous Washington, D.C., area Catholic high schools. The main speaker, the Reverend Francis P. LeBuffe, S.J., of New York, associate editor of the Jesuit magazine America, compared Franco to George Washington and the insurgents to the American revolutionists. The Fascist troops fought for "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness." [67] In February 1938, 125 students met at Providence College for the annual conference of a student branch of the Catholic Association for International Peace. The conference unanimously went on record urging "moral and financial support" for "Franco's Catholic Spain" in its struggle against "Communist Loyalist Spain." [68]

At Fordham in April T938, an audience of 400 heard student speakers from that university, Notre Dame College of Staten Island; St. Elizabeth's College of Convent Station, New Jersey; New Rochelle College; and St. Peter's College of Jersey City promote Franco's cause in Spain. The Fordham Ram described the presentations by Fordham's William Doty and by Collette Golden of Notre Dame College as the symposium's highlights. Doty defended the Fascist bombing of Barcelona and denied as "malicious propaganda" the Spanish government's charge that it constituted a slaughter of innocent women and children. Golden detailed the "persecutions undergone by the Faithful at the hands of the Loyalists, and especially the slaying and mutilation of priests and nuns." [69]

Catholic universities also hosted pro-Franco war correspondents who had traveled behind rebel lines. In July 1937, Fordham Summer School held a symposium on the Spanish conflict, sponsored by America, to raise money for the American Spanish Relief Fund, the largest pro-Falange committee in the United States. The symposium's speakers were the Reverend Sylvester Sancho, Spanish Dominican priest, and New York American correspondent Jane Anderson, who had been imprisoned by the Loyalists in Spain for forty-three days. An ardent Fascist and antisemite, during World War II Anderson broadcast pro-Nazi propaganda from Berlin, proclaiming Hitler to be "the great bulwark of 'Catholic civilization.'" Sancho declared that, in the Loyalist capital of Madrid, possession of a crucifix or sacred image was "sufficient grounds for death." Anderson denounced the Loyalists as "nothing but Moscow agents" and called the republican government illegitimate. [70] Seven months later, President Gannon of Fordham appeared on the podium with Jane Anderson when she spoke on "The Truth About Spain" to the annual communion breakfast of the Carroll Club, a Catholic women's organization. [71] Gault MacGowan, Spanish war correspondent for the New York Sun, chaired a symposium at Fordham, at which he denounced the Loyalist government for "preventing foreign correspondents from reporting the truth behind the Rebel cause and [rebel] advances." [72]

At the University of Notre Dame, "world famous" Catholic convert Arnold Lunn spoke in October 1937 on "The Background of the Spanish Situation," based on observations made on a three-week tour of Spain the previous summer. He declared that Franco was "fighting for religion and decency against rapine, anarchy, and militant atheism." The Spanish Loyalists were part of a "Red Death ... spreading like a plague" that would prove far more devastating to Europe than the Black Death of the fourteenth century. [73]

The Newman Club, the Catholic student organization at the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA), in March 1939 sponsored a lecture by prominent pro-Fascist propagandist Aileen O'Brien, who had served as a nurse for fourteen months in "Nationalist Spain." Franco's army had awarded O'Brien the "coveted Cross of San Fernando, an insurgent medal." [74] O'Brien spoke across the United States under Catholic Church sponsorship to "inform the American public of the true conditions in Spain." She had appeared at a mass rally for Nationalist Spain in Boston the previous year wearing on her sleeve the medallion of an honorary captaincy in Franco's army. Newman Club president Bill Burke, UCLA Class of 1939, declared that the American press presented only the Loyalist side of the Spanish conflict. He was proud to introduce O'Brien, who backed Franco "heart and soul." [75] In her lecture, O'Brien portrayed Franco as a crusader for "God, Catholicism, and right." [76]

Aileen O'Brien gave another speech in Los Angeles on "The Social Reconstruction of Nationalist Spain," sponsored by the Catholic Theater Guild, which resulted in fist fights between Catholic high school youths and supporters of the Loyalists who picketed the lecture hall. Among those sponsoring O'Brien's lecture was John J. Cantwell, archbishop of Los Angeles. Athletes from Los Angeles's Loyola High School used force to break through the picket line, resulting in "scores of hand to hand struggles." These were terminated only when the police discharged tear gas bombs. [77]

At St. Louis University, a Jesuit institution, the administration's discharge of a Jewish professor for publicly endorsing the Loyalist cause precipitated the most significant academic freedom conflict in the United States related to the Spanish Civil War. It began in May 1937 when Dr. Moyer Springer Fleisher, head of the Bacteriology Department at the St. Louis University School of Medicine and a member of the faculty since 1915, joined about thirty other individuals in sponsoring a lecture in St. Louis by an Irish national, the Reverend Michael O'Flanagan, one of the very few pro-Loyalist priests. O'Flanagan was highly critical of the Church's support of the Falange, accusing it of aligning itself with Spain's wealthier classes, which kept "the people in subjection." Church authorities in Ireland had thrice suspended O'Flanagan for his activities on behalf of Sinn Fein. [78]

O'Flanagan, who was touring the United States in an effort to create support for the Loyalists among Irish-American Catholics, denied that he was currently suspended from the priesthood. He stated that his latest suspension, by Ireland's bishop of Eiphin in 1925, had been lifted in 1927 by the diocese's vicar-general while the bishop had been away in Rome. [79]

When it learned that O'Flanagan was coming to lecture on Spain under the auspices of a pro-Loyalist group, the North American Medical Bureau to Aid Spanish Democracy, the Catholic Club of St. Louis promptly issued a letter of protest to the meeting's sponsors objecting to his being identified as a priest in good standing. It also claimed that O'Flanagan was hostile to the Church. The Catholic Club of St. Louis consisted of 150 "prominent Catholic laymen," most of whom were "successful business and professional men." Those wishing to join needed the approval of the archbishop of St. Louis, and most members were friends of his. Before issuing its protest, the Catholic Club had first secured Archbishop Glennon's approval. The archbishop declared that O'Flanagan's sponsors had brought him to St. Louis "under false pretenses," which was "unfair to the Catholic church." [80]

The Reverend Harry B. Crimmins, S.J., president of St. Louis University, in a formal statement to the press, explained that he had fired Fleisher because of "his sponsorship of a lecture on May 25, 1937 by one 'Reverend' Michael O'Flanagan, billed as a 'true representative of Irish Catholicism.''' [81] Because St. Louis University was "a Catholic university under Jesuit control ... it could not countenance one of its faculty members publicly sponsoring a speaker who has taken every occasion to speak offensively of the Catholic church" by criticizing its role in Spain. The university never questioned Fleisher's competence in either teaching or research. [82]

St. Louis University's dismissal of Fleisher caused the American Association of University Professors (AAUP) to launch an investigation. When the administration asked Fleisher to resign, he had refused and demanded a faculty committee hearing. It was the AAUP's position that when asked to resign, a professor had a right to such a hearing. The St. Louis University administration had also refused an offer of mediation by President Henry Merritt Wriston of Brown University, who was president of the American Association of Colleges. [83]

The AAUP Committee on Academic Freedom and Tenure issued a report in December 1939 that condemned Professor Fleisher's firing as unjust, a violation of academic freedom. It criticized the St. Louis University administration for refusing Fleisher a proper hearing by a faculty committee and stated that the university had shown "no sufficient reason for the extreme penalty of dismissal." The AAUP committee concluded that President Crimmins had discharged Fleisher "after constant pressure on him from outside sources," which explained the year-and-a-half delay. The committee identified the "outside sources" as Archbishop Glennon and the Ca tholic Clu b of St. Louis. [84]

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch immediately published an editorial that declared: "it is impossible to see that anything in Dr. Fleisher's conduct justified his dismissal." The Post-Dispatch agreed with the AAUP that by denying Professor Fleisher a formal hearing to answer its charges, St. Louis University had denied him "the fundamentals of due process essential to academic freedom." After his discharge, the Jewish Hospital in St. Louis hired Fleisher as a medical researcher. [85]

Catholics spearheaded the movement to pressure the United States into recognizing the Nationalist government of Spain in early 1939. In January the newly formed American Union for Nationalist Spain sent President Roosevelt a letter urging him to immediately consider recognizing the Franco government. The group's leaders included President Gannon of Fordham; Ignatius M. Wilkinson, dean of Fordham Law School; and Dr. Joseph F. Thorning, then professor of sociology at Mount St. Mary's College and formerly of Georgetown. Thorning was a prominent propagandist for "White Spain" who had been received by Franco in the Fascist capital of Burgos and in Rome by Mussolini. [86] In March, the Reverend Dr. Joseph Code of Catholic University, speaking before students of Mount St. Mary's College and Seminary and St. Joseph's College for Women, urged immediate U.S. recognition of the Nationalist government. He denounced "the unfriendly attitude of the majority of American newspapers" toward the insurgents. [87]

When the insurgents achieved victory later that month, the Vatican newspaper L'Osservatore Romano proclaimed in an editorial that "the victory of Catholic Spain" over the Loyalists was of "incalculable moral" benefit. It expressed "gratitude to God" because the Fascist triumph returned Spain "to the heroic faith of her fathers." [88] In June 1939 Pope Pius XII personally greeted the 3,000 Spanish soldiers of Mussolini's Italian Arrow Division, accompanied by their Italian officers, at the Vatican's Hall of Benedictions. The pope began by blessing 3,200 rosaries that Spanish monks and nuns had given the Fascist soldiers in Rome. Then, mounting his throne, Pius XII announced to his "most beloved sons" that they had brought him "immense consolation" for fighting in Spain in defense "of the faith and of civilization." [89]

President Gannon's "Exemplary Leader": Antonio de Oliveira Salazar

President Robert I. Gannon of Fordham was as much an admirer of Portugal's rightist dictator Antonio de Oliveira Salazar as he was of Franco, and he awarded him an honorary Doctor of Laws degree in 1938. Gannon frequently gave public lectures praising Salazar, whom he called "the Great Man" and a "brilliant leader." [90] Such praise for Portugal's authoritarian ruler was common among American Jesuits, whose magazine, America, published an article in December 1937 that celebrated him as "the Savior of Portugal," a "great Catholic statesman" who had liberated his nation from the "yoke of Masonry and pseudo-liberalism." Salazar had stimulated in Portugal a "social and religious renaissance" and had made it "tranquil and prosperous, an oasis of peace." [91] Fordham's Board of Trustees approved President Gannon's proposal to award Salazar an honorary Doctorate of Laws at the commencement ceremonies in June 1938. [92]

President Gannon made Salazar's honorary doctorate "the center of the Exercises," attended by 6,000 people. Portugal's minister to the United States, Joao de Bianchi, accepted the degree on Salazar's behalf. [93] In bestowing the degree, Gannon declared that Fordham's rector, its professors, and its students were all "well aware that Your Excellency [Salazar] has become an exemplary leader for the whole world," a champion of "great and eternal ideals." [94]

In 1940, President Gannon asked the Portuguese minister's assistance in raising funds to make a bronze bust or statue of Salazar to occupy a prominent place on the Fordham campus. Gannon called Salazar "one of the really great men of the world, a splendid example of the Catholic scholar and statesman." [95]

Fordham's Danubian Congress

During 1938, a year dominated by German expansion in central Europe, prominent Catholic educators argued vociferously that the Soviet Union rather than Nazi Germany or Fascist Italy represented the primary threat to world peace. Even early during World War II, in February 1941, President Gannon claimed that Nazi Germany was "less dangerous" than the Soviet Union. The Germans, he reasoned, "ha[d] been Europeans for 1500 years," whereas the "Russians are not Europeans yet." The Soviets wanted to "wipe out civilization." As proof, he pointed to their alleged agents, the Spanish Loyalists, who had "sacked the convents ... burned the cathedrals, and slaughtered the priests by the thousands." [96] Prominent Catholic educators attempted to maintain friendly ties with German diplomats and served as leading apologists in the United States for rightwing antisemitic dictatorships in Eastern Europe, notably those of Poland, Hungary, and Romania, as they had for Spain and Portugal.

In January and February 1938, Fordham University sought the cooperation of the German and Italian embassies in planning a conference on "The Political and Economic Situation of South Central Europe," designed to stimulate a rapprochement among the six nations of the Danube Valley -- Austria, Hungary, Czechoslovakia, Romania, Bulgaria, and Yugoslavia. President Gannon asked that the ambassador or minister of these countries, of Poland, and of the three nations with a "Danubial sphere of interest" -- Germany, Italy, and France -- each designate a speaker to represent it at the conference. The Reverend Edmund A. Walsh, S.J., head of Georgetown University's School of Foreign Service, agreed to assist President Gannon in securing Nazi Germany's participation. [97]

Gannon and Walsh made every effort to persuade Nazi Germany's embassy to send a representative to the conference, but they agreed that inviting a Soviet diplomat would precipitate widespread anger among American Catholics. Walsh noted that no American Catholic institution had ever invited "the Bolshevik" to a school function. Both men believed that displaying the hammer and sickle banner and playing the "Internationale" at the conference along with the flags and national anthems of the other participating countries would create massive embarrassment for Fordham. Neither Gannon nor Walsh felt that would be the case when Fordham hoisted the swastika flag and played the Nazi anthem. [98]

Gabor de Bessenyey, professor of political science at Fordham and chairman of arrangements, took the opportunity in announcing the conference to defend the autocratic rightist East European governments whose representatives Gannon had invited. Dismissing the American press practice of referring to such countries as Romania, Poland, and Hungary as dictatorships, de Bessenyey claimed that they "safeguard the liberties of their citizens ... in the same degree as do the great Democracies of the West." He asserted that "any curtailment of constitutional liberties" in these East European nations was "purely temporary and dictated by the exigencies of the times," that is, justified. Each of these nations remained "democratic in principle." [99]

The Fordham "Danubian Congress," as it was called, held May 6-8, 1938, failed to consider the alarming intensification of antisemitism in Eastern Europe, described in the next chapter. It was highlighted by the Polish representative's denunciation of the Soviet threat to Eastern Europe and the plea of Francis Deak, professor of law at Columbia University, for Hungary's "right of equality ... in armament and national defense." [100] Professor de Bessenyey in his speech asserted that an economic or political union of Danubian nations could fill a vacuum left by the collapse of Austria-Hungary and prevent Germany from dominating the region. But he emphasized that if such a union could not be forged, "a Nazi peace through loss of Danubian independence to Germany would be preferable to a 'democratic war.''' [101] The German government instructed its embassy not to send representatives to the conference because it did not wish to reveal its Danubian policy. [102]

Conclusion

Like the American Church hierarchy and the Vatican itself, leaders of American Catholic universities found many of the Hitler regime's objectives and policies appealing, while sharing their concern about Nazi curtailment of Church autonomy. Administrators, faculty, and students at Catholic universities remained largely indifferent to anti-Jewish violence and discrimination in Germany until the Kristallnacht and repeatedly claimed that persecution of Catholics in Mexico and Spain was worse. They expressed resentment over what they considered disproportionate press attention to Nazi oppression of Jews. American Catholic higher education leaders made no criticism of the German Catholic Church's general unwillingness to oppose Hitler's antisemitic measures. They did not denounce the German Church for turning over baptismal, marriage, and other Church records that enabled the Nazis to identify Jews. [103] Most Catholic leaders inside and outside of academia considered the Soviet Union a greater threat to Western civilization than Nazism, causing them to support efforts to appease the Hitler government and even in some cases to sympathize with its expansionist designs. Catholic universities sponsored many speakers who minimized or even justified Nazi anti-Jewish measures, and who provided a rationale for Germany's rearmament and aggressive foreign policy.

Catholic university administrators, faculty members, and students also helped Nazi Germany enhance its image in the United States by providing passionate and highly visible public support for the Fascist regime in Italy and for the German-backed insurgency in Spain. Their endorsement of rightist antisemitic dictatorships in Eastern Europe made many Americans more accepting of Germany's suppression of democratic and Jewish rights. Jesuit enthusiasm for Franco caused St. Louis University to discharge a distinguished professor of bacteriology whom it had employed for twenty-two years, a blatant violation of academic freedom. Catholic university symposia and lectures promoting Mussolini and Franco, and the absence of campus debate over such issues as the Spanish Civil War and Italy's invasion of Ethiopia, caused many Americans to view Fascism more sympathetically.
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Re: The Third Reich in the Ivory Tower: Complicity and Confl

Postby admin » Mon Sep 17, 2018 2:10 am

8. 1938, Year of the Kristallnacht

The Limits of Campus Protest


Only in late 1938, after the Kristallnacht pogroms in Germany, did American universities become significantly involved in protest against Nazism. Even then, the initiative came largely from students. College and university administrators remained unwilling to press for strong retaliatory measures against Germany, or to assume much responsibility for raising funds to bring refugees from Nazism to their campuses.

As the plight of Europe's Jews became ever more desperate in the months preceding the Kristallnacht, the campus remained largely quiescent. At the newly established Queens College in New York City, President Paul Klapper cancelled a scheduled lecture by one of the most prominent anti-Nazi refugees and playwrights of the Weimar Republic, Ernst Toller, on the grounds that the majority of faculty and many students considered him too controversial. After the Anschluss, college and university administrations failed to react to the Nazi threat to destroy the Jewish collections at the Austrian National Library in Vienna, although small groups of students on a handful of campuses launched a campaign to rescue the books. The leaders of the World Youth Congress, an international student organization, made major concessions to the Hitler Youth in an ultimately futile effort to persuade it to send delegates to its second biennial convention at Vassar College, even promising to bar criticism of the Hitler government.

American Academia's Reaction to the Polish Ghetto Benches

During 1937 and early 1938, some American educators sought to focus attention on the intensifying antisemitic discrimination in the universities of Poland, the nation with Europe's largest Jewish population, although most of American academia was slow to react. The Fordham Danubian Congress ignored the issue. In 1935, Polish universities began to segregate Jewish students in their classrooms and laboratories. Jews had been ghettoized before in Poland, but universities had never forced them into segregated seating. Many Jews in both Poland and the United States believed that the confinement of Jewish students to "ghetto benches" was intended to prepare the way for their elimination from the universities. This, in turn, constituted an important step toward the economic strangulation of Poland's Jews, as already made evident in Nazi Germany. Indeed, Poland's antisemitic press joyfully proclaimed that the ghetto benches were a "welcome step which shall lead soon to the segregation of Jews in ghettoes in the towns and ultimately force them out of Poland." [1]

Otto Tolischus reported from Warsaw in the New York Times on February 7,1937, that Jews faced disaster in Latvia, Lithuania, Hungary, and Romania as a result of mounting antisemitism, and that the crisis was approaching its "high water mark" in Poland. He noted that the number of Jewish students enrolled in Polish universities was rapidly diminishing. Tolischus declared that Jews in the above-mentioned Eastern European countries, 30 percent of the world's Jewish population, had only two choices: to repeat the Exodus "on a bigger scale than that chronicled in the Bible," a task rendered nearly impossible by immigration barriers erected against them almost everywhere, or to die "a slow death from economic strangulation." In the meantime, Jews were subjected to pogroms in which they were killed or wounded, and their shops wrecked. Antisemites threw incendiary bombs into Jewish tenements at night while the Jews slept. In several Polish towns, they drove Jews from markets and forcibly ejected them from cafes and restaurants. Tolischus concluded by quoting Polish Jews who bitterly commented that, were a Polish Hitler to arise, "there would be little work for him left to do." [2]

Jewish students who refused the humiliation of segregated seating, which was often at the back of the room, and chose to stand were invariably severely beaten by gentile students, fined by the university administration, or expelled from the university entirely. At Warsaw Law School, gentile students stormed into a classroom and assaulted Jews who had taken seats outside the "ghetto" section, injuring six of them. That same month, twelve Jewish students were expelled from the Warsaw Engineering School, which two Jewish-born bankers had founded and funded a half century before. [3]

On October 19, 1937, Poland's Jews staged a nationwide strike against the ghetto benches. Jewish businesses and schools shut down all day across the country, and housewives did no shopping. Jewish students in Warsaw colleges began a strike five days before, when administrators announced that they would discipline students who refused assignment to ghetto benches. The colleges prohibited Jewish students from standing in classrooms or laboratories. On October 15, Jewish students extended their strike to all universities in Poland. [4]

In December 1937, Dr. Stephen Duggan, director of the Institute of International Education, prepared a petition that denounced the ghetto benches, warning that the place of Poland's Jewish students "in the life of scholarship is threatened with extinction." When attempts had been made in Hungary in late 1933 to force Jewish university students "to occupy only the back benches in lecture rooms," sparking antisemitic riots at the Universities of Budapest, Szegeg, and Bebrecen, American academic leaders had remained silent. This was also the case in November 1935, when 500 antisemitic rioters at the University of Budapest physically attacked Jewish students, injuring several of them and smashing the furniture in their rooms. [5]

Duggan was able to secure the signatures of fifty-nine American college and university presidents on the petition, which was published in the New York Times. Only one president from the schools of the present-day Ivy League, Henry M. Wriston of Brown, was among the signers. Cornell's former president, Livingston Farrand, also signed. By contrast, four of the Seven Sisters presidents signed -- Marion Edwards Park of Bryn Mawr, Ada Comstock of Radcliffe, William A. Neilson of Smith, and Mildred H. McAfee of Wellesley -- as did former president Mary E. Woolley of Mount Holyoke. Among the more prominent presidents endorsing the petition were Harry Woodburn Chase of New York University, Frank P. Graham of the University of North Carolina, Daniel Marsh of Boston University, George Norlin of the University of Colorado, R. A. Millikan of the California Institute of Technology, Alexander G. Ruthven of the University of Michigan, and J. L. Newcomb of the University of Virginia. [6]

No presidents of Catholic colleges and universities signed the petition. Nor did any of them speak out against the earlier antisemitic violence and attempts to force Jewish students into segregated seating at Hungarian universities. Catholics prominent in American higher education made no effort to persuade Catholic prelates in Poland or Hungary to use their influence against the persecution of Jews in those nations' universities.

Although antisemitism in Poland and other Eastern European countries was increasing at a frightening rate, President Isaiah Bowman of Johns Hopkins University expressed a view that remained common among presidents of elite universities when, in refusing to sign the petition, he complained that it was time to "protest against the protests." He questioned whether it was wise to "take the initiative in appeals that affect the internal situation" of other countries. [7]

Duggan in January 1938 expressed to President Bowman his deep disappointment about his refusal to sign the petition against the ghetto benches and voiced his irritation at Bowman's suggestion that protest was improper. He asserted that the Polish universities' introduction of ghetto benches was merely the latest in a series of events occurring in Central and Eastern Europe whose objective was "not merely the relegating of the Jews to the ghetto of the medieval times but the destruction of every opportunity for them to secure an education." Moreover, there was "now manifested every desire to drive the Jews out" of Central and Eastern Europe entirely. Duggan noted that because "the doors of practically every other country" were closed to Jews, "such action looks to the destruction of the Jewish race itself." That, Duggan informed President Bowman, constituted "a crime not only against culture but against humanity." [8]

Bowman displayed not only callousness but antisemitism in explaining his refusal to sign the petition to Stephen Duggan. By late 1937, the plight of Poland's Jews was desperate, as Jews were slaughtered in pogroms across the country and as Jewish businesses were picketed and boycotted, synagogues invaded and desecrated, and Jewish stands smashed in the marketplaces. Yet President Bowman declared to Duggan that "[t]here are other minorities than the Jews" and asked, "Do you propose to be as active in their support?" "Or," Bowman continued, "are you responding to the pressure of Jews in New York?" He concluded, "as a friend," by again questioning the propriety of issuing an appeal about such a matter as the ghetto benches, and of "securing signatures and publishing the protest." [9]

The Toller Affair at Queens College: Administration Suppression of Anti-Nazi Speech

In early April 1938, Dr. Paul Klapper, president of Queens College, which had been founded the year before, withdrew an invitation to Jewish anti-Nazi exile Ernst Toller to present a lecture on campus at a symposium on the modern stage, citing opposition by faculty and students. The invitation had been issued by assistant professor Dwight Durling. The Nazis had burned Toller's books in May 1933 and revoked his German citizenship in August 1933. In early 1934, he published an autobiography in the United States entitled I Was a German that denounced "infatuated nationalism" as "the madness of this epoch." Toller was in Switzerland when the  Nazis invaded his home and confiscated virtually everything he owned. He remained an exile until his death by suicide in New York in 1939. One of the Weimar Republic's premier dramatists, Toller was guest of honor at the dinner of the P.E.N. Club, the leading international association of writers, in London in 1925, to which he was welcomed by William Butler Yeats. In June 1934, Toller traveled to the Twelfth International Congress of P.E.N. in Edinburgh, Scotland, to join his fellow "men without a country" -- German Jewish writer Emil Ludwig, whose books the Nazis had also burned the previous year, and Dr. Rudolf Olden, former editor of the Berliner Tageblatt. [10]

Toller charged that President Klapper had cancelled his lecture on "Social Drama," scheduled for April 8 at Queens College, for "political and racial reasons," meaning that as a Jewish opponent of Nazism Klapper considered him too controversial. Toller asserted that Professor Durling had informed him, two days after he issued the invitation to speak, that Queens College could not allow the lecture because "the majority of the faculty felt that I was known internationally as an anti-Nazi, and because many students and constituents of the Borough of Queens were of the first and second generation of [German] extraction." Toller asked Durling to explain why the college considered his political views relevant, as it had asked him to speak on a literary topic. Durling "replied that the subject [of the lecture] would probably arouse discussion and that [Toller] might, in response to a question, introduce a point which could cause resentment." Toller expressed to the press his shock at this statement. [11]

President Klapper even denied to the press that the college had invited Toller to speak, claiming that it had "merely sounded [him] out about a speech," but conceded that he opposed inviting him. Both Klapper and Durling expressed concern to the Queens College student newspaper, the Crown, that "Toller might deviate from the topic and enlarge upon his political philosophy," which they considered "unsuitable at a discussion on the 'Social Drama.'" Klapper also stated that because Toller "was not known to the New York theatregoer" and "was an ardent propagandist," it was not appropriate for him to speak on "Social Drama" at Queens College. [12]

President Klapper's refusal to permit Toller to present his lecture on campus precipitated a storm of criticism from liberal, trade union, and radical groups not affiliated with Queens College, including the League of American Writers, the New York College Teachers Union, the American Society for Race Tolerance, and the New Theatre League. The New York Civil Liberties Committee called on the New York City Board of Higher Education to take action "to preserve academic freedom and free speech in ew York colleges." Toller accepted the invitation of the New York College Teachers Union to present his lecture on social drama to its Washington Square College Chapter at New York University (NYU). [13]

The Communist Daily Worker called "ludicrous" Klapper's stated desire for "a speaker more familiar with America." It noted that the college had substituted as a speaker in Toller's place at the symposium Paul Vincent Carroll, who had been in the United States for only one month. Toller, by contrast, had established permanent residency in New York, had applied for American citizenship, and had spoken on social drama before numerous audiences throughout the United States. [14]

John W. Gassner, Queens College professor and member of the New York Drama Critic Circle, who was also scheduled to speak at the Queens College symposium, announced his withdrawal in protest against the administration's cancellation of Toller's presentation. Gassner planned instead to present an address to Queens College students on "Why Ernst Toller Is So Prominent on the Social Stage." [15]

Embarrassed by the adverse publicity in the press, President Klapper rescinded his cancellation of the invitation to Toller. Disputing Toller's charge, he claimed he had not intended to deny a platform to an anti-Nazi speaker. The whole controversy had been "an unfortunate misunderstanding." Toller, however, notified Klapper that he would participate only if the administration sent him a written invitation. Just as Toller was about to speak at the meeting sponsored by the New York College Teachers Union at NYU, a messenger arrived from Queens College to deliver the written invitation. [16]

Toller assailed the Hitler regime in his Queens College address, renamed "The Theatre as a Social Force," before a capacity audience of 600. He traced the history of drama over 2,500 years, telling his listeners that the theater "must serve not national but international interests; not war but peace; not race hatred but understanding." He contrasted artistic freedom in the United States with the stifling of artistic expression in Germany. [17]

The Queens College student newspaper was primarily concerned with defending President Klapper's handling of the controversy, which it claimed had been "grossly mistreated by the daily press." In an editorial, it denounced as "absurd" the press's "double-barreled charge" that the administration had used "Fascistic tactics" against Toller, and that it stood "in the way of free expression of opinion." But the Crown's only argument was that President Klapper was a "man of calibre" whose "vast record of achievements and thoughts have consistently shown him to be of broadly liberal leanings." [18]

The Queens College administration's cancellation of Toller's lecture, and its duplicity in denying it had ever invited him, may well have contributed to the depression that led to his suicide in a New York City hotel room in May 1939, at the age of forty-six. In its obituary of Toller, the New York Times cited friends who "attributed much of his depression" not only to his "gloomy view" of recent events in Europe but also to the "threat he saw of the extension of totalitarianism to the American continent." [19] After all, Toller, a Jewish refugee from Nazism, had accused Queens College of cancelling its invitation to him to speak because it might upset pro-Hitler German-American students and residents of Queens. He might have perceived an American college's suppression of academic freedom, and desire to placate Nazi sympathizers, as a sign of incipient totalitarianism.

The Campaign to Prevent the Burning of Jewish Books at the Austrian National Library

Later that April, immediately after Germany's Anschluss with Austria, students at three of America's elite men's colleges -- Yale, Princeton, and Williams -- initiated a movement to rescue Jewish and other "non-Aryan" books in the Austrian National Library in Vienna that many feared the  Nazis planned to burn. College and university administrations took no part in this effort. The New York Times, New York Herald Tribune, Chicago Tribune, and other major American newspapers reported on April 24, 1938, that the Nazis had sent the Austrian National Library's chief librarian a list of books they wanted removed for burning from among the 1.2-million-volume collection housed in the Hofburg, the palatial former home of the Habsburgs. The New York Times noted that as soon as the Nazis assumed power in Austria, the bookstores had removed from circulation "all volumes likely to prove objectionable to the new rulers" and had destroyed many of them. [20]

Students on three campuses reacted the next day by starting a fundraising campaign to purchase the books in the Austrian National Library that the Nazis intended to burn and to transport them to the United States. At Williams College, a small group, including James MacGregor Burns, Class of 1939, editor of the college newspaper and literary monthly, and Woodrow W. Sayre, Class of 1940, grandson of Woodrow Wilson, sent a cablegram to the Austrian National Library's chief librarian offering to purchase all the books the Nazis intended to burn. Four juniors at Princeton sent Hitler a telegram asking him to donate the books to the new library that their university was building, an act they thought "would mark a friendly gesture from Germany to America." One of the students was chairman of the Daily Princetonian, the campus newspaper, which editorialized that the "destruction of the books contravenes our ideas of liberal education." [21] The Yale Daily News also joined the campaign to prevent a book burning, publishing an editorial that called on its university to "administer a well-justified backhand slap" against the Nazis, "while adding to its intellectual equipment" by acquiring books targeted for destruction. [22] Brooklyn borough president Raymond V. Ingersoll cabled the Austrian National Library as well, offering to pay for the transportation of the books to the Brooklyn Public Library. [23]

Taking sharp issue with the Yale Daily News, the head librarian for Yale University's Sterling Memorial Library, Professor Andrew Keogh, denied that the Nazi takeover of Austria endangered Jewish books. He emphatically declared that "under no circumstances would the Yale Library buy non-Aryan books" from the Vienna collection. Keogh announced: "I must stay clear of politics." He claimed that Yale's purchasing literature banned by the Nazis constituted "a political violation," because the Hitler regime prohibited exporting the books. Professor Keogh insisted that "European bonfires are never so serious as the newspapers would make them" and suggested that they resulted merely from "students letting off steam." [24] The Yale Daily News identified Keogh as "one of the country's best known librarians." Two weeks earlier, when Keogh had announced that he planned to retire in June 1938, after thirty-nine years of service at Yale, the Yale Daily News editorial board had lamented "the loss of a man who was excellently fitted for [the] very important position" of head librarian at Yale. [25]

Harvard University showed little interest in becoming involved in the campaign to save the Austrian National Library's Jewish books. The chairman of the Yale Daily News sent the Harvard Crimson a telegram asking its cooperation in acquiring the threatened books for the "Big Three" university libraries, but the Crimson only acknowledged receipt and withheld comment. Authorities at Harvard's Widener Library stated that "we are willing to purchase any worthwhile books that we do not have" but expressed doubt that the Austrian National Library had many books they could use. [26]

The campaign to save the Jewish books precipitated what the campus newspaper called a "riotous campus civil war" at Williams College, as 500 undergraduates "turned the Berkshire quadrangle into a shambles." One group of students prevented the burning of a brown-shirted effigy of Hitler that was to have provided the centerpiece for a campus anti-Nazi rally. When the anti-Hitler collegians sought to substitute a huge red swastika emblem, their opponents brought out two fire hoses to protect it. The Williams Record dismissed any suggestion that the resulting "free-for-all" possessed political significance. It compared it to the nineteenth-century cane rushes, a rite of spring that permitted the student body "to get winter out of its veins," and it noted that "a good time was had by all." But the Record did praise the attempt to acquire the "non-Aryan" books that the Nazis had "consigned to the flames of bigotry" as "a magnificent gesture from a liberal college to an intolerant state." [27]

The publicity that the campaign to save the Jewish collection generated may have prevented a public book burning of the Austrian National Library Jewish collection. The Library announced it would not consider American offers to purchase the books, calling them insulting. It would not destroy the books but instead remove them from public access and lock them in special rooms. [28]

The 1938 Convention of the World Youth Congress at Vassar College

The second biennial convention of the World Youth Congress (WYC), which promoted contacts among student leaders across national boundaries as a means of fostering international understanding, revealed that one of academia's most liberal organizations was very reluctant to isolate  Nazi Germany. The convention of the Geneva-based WYC, held from August 16 to 24, 1938, at Vassar College, brought together more than 700 representatives, mostly college and university students, from fifty-four nations on six continents. Among the principal issues it scheduled for discussion were whether an international system to maintain peace could work without all nations participating and how to stop the arms race. [29]

The WYC leadership failed to secure Nazi Germany's participation in the convention, although it offered to concede almost everything the Hitler Youth demanded. International secretary Elizabeth Shields-Collins of Britain announced that the WYC's leaders had decided unanimously to prohibit criticism of the Hitler regime at the convention, to deny representation to anti-Nazi refugee groups, and to make German the language of the convention. The WYC balked only at the fourth request, that no Communists be included in other nations' delegations. The denial of the fourth request was not acceptable to the Hitler Youth, and it refused to participate. [30]

Henry Noble MacCracken, president of Vassar, who delivered the welcoming address, informed his college's board of trustees at the end of the convention that he considered it a success, although he stated that it "may ... be criticized for having omitted to make clear that the matter of Soviet Russia is just as much a dictator as the leaders of Germany and Italy." He also believed that had conservative organizations in the United States officially appointed delegates, as Britain's appeasement-oriented Conservative Party did, the American delegation "would have been more truly representative of the total public opinion in this country." [31]

The American delegation divided over the issue of collective security, with a majority favoring "concerted action, by boycotts and embargoes" as "the only practical and quick way to a peace." However, a significant minority of the Americans participating, undoubtedly pro-appeasement conservatives, isolationists, and pacifists, argued that any "aggressive attitudes" nations displayed were caused by "injustices" that had been inflicted on them. These delegates asserted that "a lasting peace" could not be achieved "by a condemnatory attitude toward any nation," meaning that they opposed criticism of Nazi Germany, Fascist Italy, or Japan and believed that their foreign policies were at least partly justifiable. [32]

The WYC convention was sharply criticized by the acting mayor of Poughkeepsie, where Vassar was located, and by the American Catholic Church, reflecting deep mistrust of efforts to promote collective security against fascism. The acting mayor refused to officially greet the convention because he claimed that it promoted "internationalism." [33] The Church was suspicious that the convention would be heavily influenced by Communists. In June 1938, Archbishop Michael J. Curley, chancellor of Catholic University in Washington, D.C., called the upcoming convention an "international meeting of Communism." [34] The administrative board of the National Catholic Welfare Council appealed to Catholic youth groups not to participate in the convention, arguing that it provided "an opportunity for the fostering of irreligion and ... the class hatreds of sovietism." [35] The Right Reverend Msgr. Edward J. Maginn, vicar general of the Albany Catholic Diocese, declared after the convention that it had been dominated by "Atheistic Communism." [36]

Although the Hitler Youth had not sent delegates to Vassar, the WYC, which had made "valiant efforts" to include them, vowed to maintain contact. The WYC announced after the convention, "We refuse to be cut off from the youth of Germany and Italy," and sent the Hitler Youth and the Italian Fascist youth organization messages of good will. [37]

Universities Respond to the Kristallnacht

The horrifying Kristallnacht pogroms of November 10, 1938, for the first time sparked widespread protest against Nazism in the American campus mainstream. Students, faculty members, and some administrators added their voices to those of several prominent politicians and labor leaders, and many ordinary Americans. But although the Kristallnacht precipitated a significant student-initiated movement to raise funds to enroll refugee youth in American institutions of higher learning, academia did not join those pushing for reducing immigration barriers or economic sanctions on the Third Reich.

The assassination on November 7,1938, of a German diplomat, Ernst vom Rath, in Paris by a seventeen-year-old Jewish youth, Herschel Grynszpan, provided the Hitler regime with a pretext for launching a violent and sweeping attack on Germany's entire Jewish population. Hitler the previous month had ordered the expulsion from Germany of more than 12,000 Polish-born Jews, who for many years had been legal residents of Germany. In a single night, these Jews were driven out of their homes into trains bound for the Polish border. The Nazis permitted each Jew to take only one suitcase, forcing them to permanently abandon their homes and nearly everything they owned. Herschel Grynszpan, then residing in Paris, determined to exact revenge against the Nazis after he received a postcard from his sister, informing him that she and his parents were trapped at the Polish border. The Nazis had taken everything they had, and they were penniless, with nowhere to go. [38]

The highly coordinated pogroms across Germany that the Hitler regime unleashed during the early hours of November 10 resulted in the destruction by fire of more than 1,000 synagogues, leaving almost none remaining anywhere in the Third Reich. Nazi storm troopers, joined by many ordinary Germans, smashed up 7,000 Jewish shops and businesses, whose broken window-glass gave the pogroms their name, Kristallnacht (Night of Broken Glass). In every part of the country, the Nazis physically assaulted Jews, killing about 100, and ransacked Jewish homes, burning the furniture and books inside. They seized 30,000 Jewish men, about one-quarter of those who remained in Germany, and imprisoned them in concentration camps. The German government compelled the already-impoverished Jews to pay a substantial fine for the damage that the Nazis had caused to Jewish property. [39]

The Kristallnacht sparked considerable outrage in the United States, as leading newspapers provided detailed coverage and issued strong editorial condemnations. Hitler's ambassador to the United States, Hans Dieckhoff, reported to Berlin from Washington, D.C., on November 14 that "a hurricane is raging here." [40] That day, President Roosevelt recalled the U.S. ambassador to Germany, Hugh R. Wilson, as a "dramatically framed method of protest," according to the New York Times, "calculated to be more emphatic than any diplomatic note could be." In a press conference that day, Roosevelt declared that he "could scarcely believe that such things could occur in a twentieth-century civilization." The Times noted that Roosevelt had rebuked Nazi Germany for the Kristallnacht in language as strong as an American president had ever used to a "friendly" nation. [41]

Other prominent Americans immediately denounced the Hitler regime for the pogroms. Former New York governor Al Smith and New York City district attorney Thomas E. Dewey spoke out in a radio broadcast sponsored by the Non-Sectarian Anti-Nazi League. Dewey called the Kristallnacht "sickening" and appealed "to world opinion to rebuke a dictatorship gone mad." Governor Charles F. Hurley of Massachusetts assailed Nazi "bestiality." [42] American Federation of Labor (AFL) president William Green declared that words could not express "his deep sense of horror" over the Nazis' brutality toward Jews. [43] Speaking over nationwide radio, he urged all of the AFL's affiliated trade unions to intensify their efforts to make the boycott of German goods and services fully effective. AFL vice-president Matthew Woll called for "a moral ring around Germany" and denounced Nazism as "savagery." In New York, 600 members of the theatrical profession staged an anti-Nazi protest meeting at which Orson Welles, Raymond Massey, and Manchester Guardian reporter Robert Dell spoke. [44]

Journalist Dorothy Thompson, whom Hitler had expelled from Nazi Germany in August 1934, tried to rally non-Jewish Americans to appeal to the French government to spare the life of Herschel Grynszpan. She asserted over the radio that the Nazis' brutal antisemitic persecution had provoked his desperate act. Thompson told her listeners that she felt she knew Grynszpan, because she had met many Jews who had suffered what he had:

He read that Jewish children had been stood on platforms in front of a class of German children and had had their features pointed to and described by the teacher as marks of a criminal race. He read that men and women of his race, amongst them scholars and a general decorated for his bravery, had been forced to wash the streets, while the mob laughed.


Thompson declared that the entire Christian world was on trial, along with "the men of Munich," who had recently signed a pact with Hitler ceding to him the Sudetenland, "without one word of protection for helpless minorities." She concluded her radio appeal for Grynszpan with the words: "We who are not Jews must speak, speak our sorrow and indignation and disgust in so many voices that they will be heard." [45] Thompson's appeal generated almost no response on American campuses.

On November 17, 1938, several presidents of major universities "added their voices" to the public condemnation of the Nazis' Kristallnacht rampage. President Conant of Harvard declared that American educators "may well unite in expressing their horror at this latest example of the barbaric spirit of the present German government." Also speaking out were the presidents of Yale, the University of Wisconsin, the University of Chicago, Stanford, the University of North Carolina, and the University of Rochester. [46] None of the university presidents, however, called for changes in U.S. immigration policy or mentioned the boycott of German goods and services, nor did any of them endorse Dorothy Thompson's appeal on behalf of Herschel Grynszpan. They did not join in the picketing of German consulates or of German liners at the New York City docks.

University presidents were not among the seventeen speakers at New York City's massive "protest against Nazi outrages" at Madison Square Garden on November 21. A capacity audience of more than 20,000 people, with 2,000 more listening over loudspeakers in the streets outside, heard Dr. Harry F. Ward of Union Theological Seminary call for an international conference of democratic nations to evacuate the Jews from Germany. He proposed that the cost be paid by the Hitler regime, collected by impounding any money democratic nations owed to German citizens and by instituting a trade embargo against Germany. Vito Marcantonio of the International Labor Defense declared that  Nazism "must be smashed ... with guns." Dorothy Thompson spoke about her appeal for Grynszpan, announcing that Nazi Germany must be made the defendant at his upcoming murder trial in Paris. [47]

Two days after the Madison Square Garden rally, 30,000 merchants in New York City shut their grocery stores, butcher shops, bakeries, drug stores, and other retail establishments between noon and 1:00 P.M. in a coordinated protest against antisemitic persecution in Germany. In some sections of the city, stores remained closed for as long as two or three hours. In the Bronx, the County Pharmaceutical Association and the Retail Drug Store Employees Union Local 1199, CIO reported "virtually 100 percent" cooperation between the drug store owners and the employees in the protest. [48]

Within academia, protest was student-initiated, beginning at Harvard and quickly spreading to a multitude of other colleges and universities. On November 16, 1938, 500 Harvard and Radcliffe students attended a meeting called by eleven undergraduate organizations to express outrage over the Kristallnacht. They formed a committee to raise funds to bring to Harvard refugee students from Germany, Austria, or the Nazi-occupied Sudeten land. This Harvard Committee to Aid German Student Refugees planned to bring twenty refugee students to Harvard by soliciting donations from the university's faculty, students, and alumni and persuading the administration to waive the tuition. U.S. immigration law permitted some "properly accredited" foreign students to enter the country on a non-quota basis, provided that an American college or university admitted them and arranged to cover their expenses. [49]

The Harvard Crimson identified the refugees to be assisted as "Catholic and Jewish victims of Nazi persecution." [50] This suggested that the Crimson and others involved in the project either did not understand the uniqueness of the Jews' plight, or that they did not consider it feasible to rally administration and alumni support behind a cause that focused primarily on the rescue of Jews.

A delegation from the newly formed committee, including leaders of the liberal American Student Union and the Zionist Avukah, met with President Conant to discuss its plan. Conant received the group "very cooly" but was eventually persuaded to endorse its plan. The Harvard Corporation voted $10,000 to establish twenty scholarships for qualified refugee students, with the provision that the student committee provide funds for living expenses. Half of the money that the Harvard Corporation earmarked for scholarships, $5,000, had been donated by the wealthy Boston reformer Elizabeth Glendower Evans. [51]

The Harvard administration indeed would not acknowledge that Germany's Jews faced a uniquely dangerous predicament. It announced to the press that "a large number of the recipients of these scholarships would be young men who were refugees from Germany for reasons other than the Nazi persecution of racial minorities," meaning non-Jews. [52]

The Harvard administration almost immediately clashed with the students' Harvard Committee to Aid German Student Refugees. It denied the committee permission to distribute pledge cards and collect contributions at its mass meeting to raise funds for the refugee students' living expenses, which was scheduled for Harvard's Sanders Theater on December 6, 1938. The administration justified its action by citing a Harvard Corporation rule that prohibited the collection of money at meetings without written permission in advance. [53]

Nonetheless, more than 2,000 people jammed into Sanders Theater to inaugurate the fund-raising campaign. The meeting's featured speakers were Massachusetts governor-elect Leverett Saltonstall and Jewish comedian Eddie Cantor, who pledged $1,000. [54]

Bryn Mawr students, also quick to react to the Kristallnacht, held an emergency mass meeting on November 17, 1938, and voted to raise funds to pay for the room and board of two refugee students. They raised $1,700 "almost overnight," with 357 of 450 undergraduates, 40 of 70 resident graduate students, and more than 50 faculty members contributing. In addition, President Marion Edwards Park provided not only tuition for one graduate student but the funds to cover her other expenses for one year. Bryn Mawr's campaign precipitated a similar one at nearby Swarthmore College. [55]

Alarmed by the Kristallnacht, students at numerous colleges and universities prodded their administrations to take action on behalf of refugee students from Nazi Germany. Among the first to do so were Yale, MIT, Barnard, Radcliffe, Wellesley, and Vassar. At Yale, a group of law students almost immediately began a collection to aid refugees, and several days later graduate students established a committee for the same purpose. [56] College and university administrations invariably implemented plans similar to Harvard's, in which they covered tuition but required the students to raise the funds for living expenses.

At Yale, undergraduates were slower to display interest in the movement to assist refugee students. The Yale Daily News, which strongly supported fund-raising for refugees in the weeks after the Kristallnacht, complained in an editorial on December 2, 1938, that there had as yet been "no practical demonstration of humane feeling on the part of the [undergraduate] students." On December 14, it reported that Yale undergraduates had contributed more than $300 to a newly formed Committee for Refugee Students, whose purpose was "to bring to Yale a small number of ... graduate students ... driven from Germany for religious, racial, or political reasons." It said that the amount raised did not compare favorably with that collected at other colleges. [57]

Impeding the fund-raising efforts at Yale was an indifference or hostility toward Jewish refugees widespread among the undergraduates. The Yale Daily News editorialized on December 14 that "[o]ne of the sobering features of the present undergraduate drive to raise money for German Jewish refugees is the prejudice and narrowness of outlook which it is uncovering right here on the Yale campus." The editorial bluntly identified antisemitism as a serious problem in the student body, declaring that "an all too large group of students has said: 'We don't like Jews."' [58] The Daily News had a short time before interviewed Yale undergraduates who expressed sympathy for the Hitler regime, or argued that press reports of Kristallnacht atrocities were exaggerated. Jack Arrington, Class of 1939, declared that American newspapers gave "far too much attention ... to the more spectacular and cruel aspects" of Nazi treatment of Jews. Eugene Metz, Class of 1941, endorsed measures he said the Hitler government considered "necessary to building a strong united race." [59]

In January 1939, a new Yale Daily News editorial board warned that the anti-Nazi feeling that had resulted in mass meetings and petition campaigns since the Kristallnacht had "ominous aspects." Lacking "the control of reason and balance," such "moral fervor" could "do little but harm." The anti-Nazis' efforts might well "stir up a hornet's nest of hate and anger," which could prove impossible to control. [60]

Most college and university presidents appeared reluctant to devote much energy to the campaign to bring refugee students to the United States. President Robert Maynard Hutchins of the University of Chicago refused several requests by students to speak at protest meetings, although he publicly expressed his outrage at the Nazis' Kristallnacht atrocities. On November 15, President Hutchins declined to see a delegation of his students who were "very anxious" to speak with him about arranging a campus protest meeting on "the Jewish situation in Germany." During the next ten days, he turned down invitations to speak in Detroit and in Ann Arbor, Michigan, at mass meetings convened to denounce the Nazi persecution of Jews. Hutchins had the previous year responded to the Non-Sectarian Anti-Nazi League's request that he become a member by informing it that "I have an iron clad rule that I will not join organizations or committees of any kind." [61] Dean Virginia Gildersleeve, head of Barnard College, emphasized to her students that tuition waivers for refugees would require denying scholarships to needy Americans. [62]

Efforts to assist refugees were limited by the determination of trustees and administrators not to identify their colleges and universities too openly with the rescue of European Jewry. Mount Holyoke president Roswell Ham reported strong trustee reservations about the student refugee campaign. He stated that the trustees opposed granting refugee scholarships exclusively to Jews, and he expressed doubt about the college's ability to assimilate more than three refugee students. The trustees required the college to have commitments to all the funds needed to support the refugee students before accepting any students. Mount Holyoke's Committee for Giving Aid to Refugees from Germany in January 1939 announced that it would not ask the college's trustees for any money, and it stipulated that "not more than half of those aided by the college shall be Jews." The committee reported that New York alumnae had sent a letter of protest "reflecting the sentiment prevailing in New York against encouraging refugees of Jewish faith to come to the United States." [63]

President Robert C. Clothier of Rutgers University also was equivocal in his support for the refugee campaign. He refused the request of the Rutgers student committee for refugee scholarships that he affiliate with it as a sponsor. Clothier claimed it was improper for a university president to sponsor what he called a student project. Dean Fraser Metzger of Rutgers College recommended that he decline the invitation. President Clothier informed the chair of the student committee, John H. Ludlum, that "while we all have profound sympathy for [the refugees] there are those who feel that our first responsibility is to our young people here in America." Ludlum reminded Clothier that the plight of Germany's Jews was especially desperate: "[T]he American student's handicap is economic only, whereas the handicap of the students to be helped is racial and religious, or other arbitrary discrimination." [64]

Although Rutgers and New Jersey College for Women each accepted one refugee student, President Clothier was not significantly involved in the effort to bring them to the university. He declined the invitation to speak at the campus rally for German Student Refugee Aid in April 1939, on the grounds that he had an appointment in New York that evening. [65]

The Rutgers administration relied heavily on Jews, both on and off campus, to provide the funds to support the refugees. One Jewish fraternity at Rutgers provided the male refugee student, Walter Sokel, with a free room, and another promised free meals, for his four years at the university. His tuition was paid by Newark department store magnate Louis Bamberger, who was Jewish, and anonymously by Chester I. Barnard. [66]

President Clothier could not even remember who Walter Sokel was when Sokel wrote in May 1941, prior to graduating from Rutgers, to thank the university for its assistance. Clothier wrote the following note to a member of his staff: "Before I reply to Walter Sokel's letter, can you get some information on him for me? Is he a graduate student, what's his field, has he been an undergraduate student, where did he come from?" [67]

Because college and university administrations were almost always unwilling to cover any of the refugee students' expenses besides tuition, Jewish fraternities and sororities became especially involved in the campaign on many campuses. Hillel, the Jewish student organization, often assisted them. Such cooperation among Jewish students on behalf of the refugees occurred on such campuses as the University of Illinois, Cornell University, Pennsylvania State University, the University of Southern California, and the University of Texas, along with Rutgers. The University of Texas Hillel raised $40,000 for refugee students by persuading movie houses throughout the state to donate a percentage of their income for the ca use. [68]

Students at the nation's only Jewish liberal arts college, Yeshiva University in New York City, and at the overwhelmingly Jewish "subway colleges" there, such as City College of New York (CCNY) and Brooklyn College, worked vigorously to bring refugee students to the United States. By June 1939, Yeshiva had taken in fifteen refugee students and faculty from Nazi Germany, and twenty-seven students were enrolled in October 1941. Raising funds for the refugees was a "continuous activity" at Yeshiva. In early 1939, Yeshiva's president, Bernard Revel, organized a large dinner to benefit the school's refugee aid campaign, which President Roosevelt's son James addressed. New York City movie executives provided strong backing for the dinner and fund-raising effort. Students at CCNY donated the proceeds of its basketball game with Brooklyn College to its refugee fund. Brooklyn College raised a considerable amount for refugee students through cake sales and rallies. [69]

In protesting the Kristallnacht pogroms, college and university students and faculty often suggested that Nazi persecution of Jews was not significantly different from that experienced by other groups, and they absolved the German people from responsibility for Nazi atrocities. Helen Douglas, Vassar Class of 1940, writing in her college newspaper in January 1939, declared that "[a]lthough the desperate plight of the Jews in Nazi Germany is most before the public eye at present, we must remember that students of other faiths and nationalities are equally a prey to persecution." [70] A week after the Kristallnacht, the faculty council of CCNY's College of Liberal Arts and Sciences passed a resolution that strongly condemned the Hitler government's "persecution of Catholics, Protestants, and Jews." [71] President Karl Compton of MIT presided at a campus rally billed as a protest against the "persecution of Jews and Catholics in Germany."  [72] The editors of the Wellesley College News on November 23, 1938, lectured the student body that it "will do well to remember that disapproval of a government's policy should not bring unfriendly action toward the people who happen to be ruled by that government." [73]

Professor Philip H. Davis of the Vassar Greek Department circulated a petition at a mass meeting at Poughkeepsie High School that called on President Roosevelt to cut off all trade with Nazi Germany but also displayed a failure to grasp the uniqueness of the Nazis' persecution of Jews. The petition assumed that the German people were the unwilling victims of a dictatorship whose outlook most of them did not share, and it overlooked the complicity of the Catholic and Protestant churches in  Nazi rule. It condemned the" brutality exercised against the Jewish people and Christian churches of Germany by the Nazi government." Ignoring the German public's overwhelming backing of the Hitler regime's antisemitic policies, it called the Nazi Kristallnacht pogroms "an attack upon all civilized people, including the great majority of Germans themselves." Professor Davis insisted that the Germans "are not a Nazi people ... but a people like us, separated from us only by a wall of tyrannical repression." [74]

At the initiative of students from Harvard and Bryn Mawr, delegates from 35 of the 100 colleges and universities that had established committees to aid student refugees met in New York City during the winter vacation on December 27-28, 1938, and formed the Intercollegiate Committee to Aid Srudent Refugees (ICASR). Headquartered in New York City, its purpose was to extend and coordinate the campaign to assist "students who are the victims of racial and religious persecution in fascist countries." It planned to establish a national fund to permit students who could not persuade their administrations to provide tuition scholarships to send the money they raised to another college that would cover tuition but lacked the funds to pay for living expenses. The ICASR also provided information to colleges about the visas and affidavits that refugees needed. Ingrid Warburg, a Jewish refugee from Germany and member of the wealthy banking family, paid the ICASR's initial office rent. [75]

Despite the hopes engendered by the formation of the ICASR, a poll taken in December 1938 by the Student Opinion Surveys of America revealed that the overwhelming majority of students at American colleges and universities believed that "Jewish refugees should not be admitted to the United States in great numbers." Asked whether the United States should "offer a haven in this country for Jewish refugees from Central Europe," only 31.2 percent of undergraduates responded "Yes," whereas a whopping 68.8 percent said "No." The Harvard Crimson commented that students clearly wanted "Uncle Sam [to] come to the aid of oppressed German minorities in some way, perhaps by the offering of homes in United States possessions." [76]

In February 1939, Harvard president James B. Conant resisted an appeal from Bryn Mawr president Marion Edwards Park to use his influence to persuade the State Department and the Labor Department's Immigration and Naturalization Service to encourage U.S. consulates to exercise more flexibility in granting visas. Park told Conant that U.S. consular officials in London refused to grant a visa to the second recipient of Bryn Mawr's refugee student scholarship, a resident of England for two and a half years, because she could not meet the requirement of identifying a permanent residence to which she could return after completing her studies. [77] Since 1933, the State Department had instructed American consulates to apply very strictly the clause of the Immigration Act of 1917 permitting exclusion of "persons held liable to become public charges." [78] The consulates used refugee student applicants' inability to identify a permanent residence in Europe to which they could return to claim that they risked becoming financially dependent, even though their educational level would be significantly higher than that of most Americans. Park stated that the American Friends Service Committee had reported to her that about fifty students to whom American colleges and universities had awarded refugee scholarships were unable to obtain visas for this reason. [79]

Conant replied that he was aware that U.S. immigration barriers made it very difficult for many of the recipients of refugee scholarships to enter the country. He noted that the immigration quotas from central European nations were already filled, in several cases, for a number of years in advance. Conant was also well aware that the State Department had granted to American consuls "absolute power to decide" individual cases. [80]

Nevertheless, Conant declared to President Park that "it would be very unfortunate for college presidents, either individually or collectively, to attempt to exert any pressure on the State Department or the Labor Department." He believed that the consuls were "doing the best they can in the very difficult and awkward circumstances." Conant told Park he was satisfied that the students had made "the moral gesture" of initiating a call for refugee student scholarships. He found it sufficient that colleges and universities could grant an estimated one hundred scholarships to the refugee students "trickling into this country." [81]

The campus refugee aid movement of 1938-39 was able to assist only a relatively small number of students from Nazi Germany and  Nazi-dominated parts of Europe because of U.S. immigration restrictions and insufficient donations by college and university administrators and alumni. Although Harvard's alumni included many of the nation's wealthiest men, written appeals that the Harvard Committee to Aid German Student Refugees sent to 10,000 of the university's graduates had brought in only $2,300 by February 1939, as opposed to $11,000 from Harvard students and faculty. Many of the students that the movement assisted were not Jewish. Although Harvard, which had initiated the refugee campaign, had planned to award twenty refugee scholarships, the largest of any university, it provided only fourteen in the end. [82]

Conclusion

American academia remained largely quiescent for most of 1938, as Jews faced economic strangulation, or worse, not only in Germany but in much of Central and Eastern Europe. In December 1937, many American university presidents had at least been willing to engage in a limited verbal protest against the Polish universities' segregation of Jewish students in their classrooms. But none of them pressed for firmer measures, such as reducing immigration barriers to permit Polish Jews to take refuge in the United States. Several of America's most prominent university presidents, such as James B. Conant of Harvard and Nicholas Murray Butler of Columbia, did not sign the petition. President Isaiah Bowman of Johns Hopkins remarked testily that he saw no point in any protest on behalf of European Jewry.

President Paul Klapper's cancellation of Ernst Toller's lecture at Queens College in April 1938 reflected an insensitivity concerning Nazi persecution of Jews then prevailing in much of American academia. Rather than educating the American public about the increasingly precarious situation of Europe's Jews, President Klapper questioned the legitimacy of inviting one of the most prominent anti-Nazi exiles, a distinguished playwright, dismissing him as a propagandist.

Although some students at Williams, Princeton, and Yale made a brave effort after the Anschluss to protect Jewish books housed at Austria's National Library at Vienna, college and university presidents declined to speak out. At Williams College, a large body of students aggressively protected an effigy of Adolf Hitler and a swastika emblem. Administrators at the nation's leading university library, Widener at Harvard, expressed very little interest in the Vienna collection that the Nazis threatened to destroy.

University administrators' unwillingness to extend protests against the Kristallnacht beyond verbal condemnation of the pogroms, or to acknowledge the uniqueness of the Jews' plight, seriously limited the impact of the first large-scale national campus protests against Nazism, which students initiated. Most importantly, without a lowering of immigration barriers preventing the entry into the United States of Jews and other anti-Nazi refugees, only a handful would ever make their way onto the campus. In his account of growing up in Nazi Berlin, Peter Gay, a Jew who witnessed the Kristallnacht and escaped from Germany with the last group of refugees allowed to land in Cuba, recalled that the protests abroad against the November pogroms "sounded very good" to him and other German Jews but were "completely hollow." He emphasized that "[n]one of this verbal onslaught led to the action we needed: a place to go." [83] University presidents would not endorse the Vassar Miscellany News's call to drastically revise U.S. immigration laws and sever commercial relations with Germany. [84] On the very eve of the Holocaust, universities sharply limited the proportion of refugee scholarships that they granted to Jews.

Moreover, the college and university administrations provided only tuition scholarships for the refugees. They required that students and others sympathetic to the refugees' plight raise the funds for all their living expenses and often for transportation. Sometimes faculty members provided a room in their homes and some meals for a refugee student. It was left to the Jewish community, including the campus Hillel and the Jewish fraternities and sororities, to raise much of the necessary money to support the refugees.
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Re: The Third Reich in the Ivory Tower: Complicity and Confl

Postby admin » Mon Sep 17, 2018 2:45 am

Epilogue

James B. Conant and the Parole of Nazi War Criminals


James B. Conant was significantly involved in paroling vast numbers of  Nazi war criminals, including those who engaged in the most heinous atrocities, when he served as U.S. high commissioner for Germany from 1953 to 1955, and as U.S. ambassador to the Federal Republic of Germany (West Germany) from 1955 to 1957. He resigned as president of Harvard in January 1953.

During the last year of Conant's presidency, Harvard hired the formerly high-ranking Nazi physicist Carl Friedrich von Weizsaecker to teach a course on scientific method during the summer session. Von Weizsaecker was a leader, along with his mentor Werner Heisenberg, of the team of Nazi scientists assigned to develop an atomic bomb during World War II. He was the son of Baron Ernst von Weizsaecker, Hitler's deputy foreign minister and wartime ambassador to the Vatican. An Allied military court at Nuremberg convicted the senior von Weizsaecker of war crimes, including officially approving the deportation of 6,000 Jews from France to the gas chambers at Auschwitz. It sentenced him to seven years in Landsberg prison. [1]

After World War II, Carl Friedrich von Weizsaecker was the prime architect of the myth that Nazi Germany's scientists chose not to build an atomic bomb but devoted their efforts instead to developing peaceful applications for atomic energy. The Americans, by contrast, focused on creating a "ghastly weapon of war." In his study of German scientists during World War II, John Cornwell labeled von Weizsaecker's claim a "full blown assertion of [Nazi scientists'] moral superiority." For several months after V-E Day, the Allies detained von Weizsaecker and other leading German physicists who participated in Hitler's wartime nuclear research program at Farm Hall in England. Cornwell noted that the Farm Hall detainees "shared in common the remarkable fact that they failed to acknowledge moral responsibility for their collusion with the Nazi regime." [2]

In the early 1950s, von Weizsaecker persuaded one of his father's defense attorneys at Nuremberg to intervene in the case of convicted Nazi war criminal Dr. Martin Sandberger, sentenced first to hang and then to life imprisonment, in an effort to reduce his punishment. Sandberger, an SS officer, had commanded a Nazi mobile killing unit that annihilated Estonia's Jewish population in 1941-42. [3]

While teaching at Harvard, von Weizsaecker openly revealed his virulent antisemitism and racism. Marie Allen, Harvard's first African-American secretary, described to me in 2008 her chilling encounter with von Weizsaecker in 1952. She was then working in a Harvard office that handled typing and other secretarial work for professors and students. When von Weizsaecker entered the office with some letters he wanted to dictate and have transcribed, he was directed to Allen. Allen recalled that when von Weizsaecker saw that she had been assigned his work, he "was visibly surprised, disturbed, and clearly did not want to acknowledge me in any way." Von Weizsaecker deliberately spoke very rapidly while dictating the letters. Several times he asked Allen "to repeat what he had dictated," which she "did without any trouble whatsoever." Then, "for the first time, [he] looked at me and said, 'Here's a letter from a dirty kike.''' Allen responded with "a stony glare." She stated, "When Professor von Weizsaecker came back into the office to pick up his neatly and perfectly typed letters, he seemed annoyed that he couldn't find one error in them." Allen concluded: "I've had many poignant uncomfortable moments in my life, but this one was particularly cutting to my soul." [4]

As U.S. high commissioner to Germany and as ambassador, Conant served as public apologist for the clemency boards that released most of the convicted Nazi war criminals that Allied courts had tried immediately after World War II. He invariably endorsed the boards' decisions to parole those imprisoned after they served only a fraction of their sentences, often for directly ordering or participating in mass murder. In November 1953, the World Jewish Congress, alarmed by the rapid release of Nazi war criminals, pleaded with U.S. secretary of state John Foster Dulles not to extend further clemency, but to no avail. [5] In the spring of 1950, the Western allies -- the United States, Britain, and France -- had held 3,649 Nazi war criminals in prison. By January 1955,3,300 had been released. [6] With Conant's support, the United States paroled 250 Nazi war criminals from Landsberg prison in the eighteen months prior to June 1955, leaving only forty-two behind bars. Conant, then U.S. ambassador, expressed confidence in July 1955 that the new clemency board would "act promptly to consider the cases of all those who remain in confinement." [7]

As U.S. high commissioner, Conant approved the release from Spandau prison in November 1954 of Konstantin von Neurath, Hitler's foreign minister from 1933 to 1938 and Reich protector of Bohemia and Moravia from 1939 to 1941, after he had served only eight years of a fifteen-year sentence. Conant did not comment when delirious Germans gave von Neurath what the Los Angeles Times called a "hero's welcome" upon his return to his ancestral home. Von Neurath was the first paroled of the seven top Nazi leaders held at Spandau, all of whom had escaped hanging at Nuremberg. The Chicago Tribune noted that "[n]one ever had been expected to see the outside again." [8] When von Neurath returned home, "[c]hurch bells pealed" and villagers lined the streets to cheer him. As the  Nazi leader rode by in a flower-bedecked sedan, "men doffed their hats and women wept," while "little girls waved bouquets of flowers." [9]

In March 1954, American Jewish organizations, Representative Jacob Javits of New York, and the International League for the Rights of Man challenged High Commissioner Conant's approval of the West German government's appointment of former Nazi diplomat Peter Pfeiffer to be its observer at the United Nations (UN). UN secretary-general Dag Hammarskjold initially acquiesced in the appointment on the grounds that he had to respect Conant's favorable recommendation of Pfeiffer to the U.S. State Department. Pfeiffer, who directed the Personnel Department of West Germany's Foreign Office, had joined the Nazi party in 1940 and served as Hitler's consul-general in Algiers during World War II. [10] In July 1952, a West German Bundestag committee, responding to the Frankfurter Rundschau's charges that many former Nazis held positions in the Foreign Ministry, recommended to Chancellor Konrad Adenauer that Pfeiffer not be sent on missions abroad. [11] As a result of the protests, the West German government withdrew Pfeiffer's appointment as UN observer but reassigned him to a new post at the ambassadorial level. [12]

In May 1955, Judge William Clark, chief justice of the Allied Appeals Court in Nuremberg from 1948 to 1953, testified before the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee against High Commissioner Conant's confirmation as U.S. ambassador to West Germany, accusing him of "encouraging the release of German war criminals." [13] Several months later, Judge Clark declared that Ambassador Conant was implementing a policy that amounted to a massive prison release of Nazis guilty of "murder, torture, and general brutality." Clark noted that one of Conant's early acts as high commissioner was to appoint Henry Shattuck, Harvard's former treasurer and trustee, who had no criminal law experience, to head a mixed American-German clemency board that considered cases of Nazi war criminals. As a result, Clark stated, "a lot more murderers and torturers were let out." The former chief justice also charged that, in an effort to avoid criticism, Conant had "imposed a censorship" on the releases of Nazi war criminals. This, Clark asserted, "led to the absurd situation" of the West German press interviewing a paroled  Nazi war criminal at his home "while the High Commissioner refused to acknowledge that he was out." [14]

Judge Clark sharply differed with Ambassador Conant on the release in October 1955 from Landsberg prison of the "monstrous" Waffen SS general Josef "Sepp" Dietrich, the "Butcher of Malmedy," who had ordered the massacre of several hundred unarmed American prisoners-of-war and Belgian civilians in a series of atrocities during the Battle of the Bulge. A nine-man U.S. military court sentenced Dietrich to life imprisonment for war crimes, reduced in 1951 on recommendation of the War Crimes Modification Board to twenty-five years imprisonment. [15] An early follower of Hitler who participated in the 1923 Munich Beer Hall Putsch, Dietrich "won favor" in the Nazi party "through his prowess in fighting at political meetings and in the streets" during the 1920s. In 1931, Hitler appointed Dietrich to head his bodyguard. Dietrich directed the SS firing squad that executed six leaders of the Sturmabteilung (SA) at Munich's Stadelheim prison during the Night of the Long Knives. [16] William L. Shirer, who knew Dietrich personally when he was a correspondent in  Nazi Germany, described him as "one of the most brutal men of the Third Reich." [17] During World War II, Dietrich had supervised the annihilation of the Jewish population of Kharkov, in the Ukraine. [18]

Ambassador Conant supported Dietrich's parole after only ten years in prison in part because a joint American-German clemency board in which he "had such confidence" recommended it. Conant insisted that U.S. authorities should release any Nazi war criminal "serving a thirty-year sentence ... whose record in prison and plans for parole were satisfactory" after ten years. The United States should honor the sovereignty of West Germany, whose government favored leniency toward most war criminals. [19]

Conant was angered when the American Legion and the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW), America's two leading veterans' organizations, and Senator Estes Kefauver of Tennessee forcefully condemned the paroling of Dietrich. Timothy Murphy, the VFW's national commander, denounced Dietrich as "one of Hitler's most vicious killers" and declared that he was "shocked beyond words" by his release. [20] Kefauver, who had served on the three-member subcommittee of the U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee that investigated the Malmedy Massacre, warned Secretary of State John Foster Dulles that releasing Dietrich would send a signal that convicted murderers "are to be forgiven for their crimes." Moreover, it would open the way for the parole of several of Dietrich's lieutenants, men "who [had] violated every principle of the Geneva convention," such as Joachim Peiper, a Waffen SS colonel who had ordered his tank crews to machine-gun American soldiers after they surrendered. [21]

Conant, alarmed that the criticism from veterans' groups and Senator Kefauver was "damaging German-American relations," asked the State Department to arrange a meeting so that he could justify the paroling of Nazi war criminals to the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee. [22] He believed that committee members would be sympathetic to Chancellor Adenauer's pleas "to have as many of the war criminals released as possible at this time." Conant considered this especially desirable because West Germany had recently become sovereign and was "in the process of building up a new army." [23] He was willing to trivialize Nazi war crimes and let those who had committed atrocities go free after serving minimal time in prison, in order to promote U.S. friendship with a rearmed West Germany.

After his parole, Dietrich remained an unreconstructed Nazi who addressed a reunion of the Waffen SS. In 1957, a West German court tried him for supervising the executions of six SA leaders during the Night of the Long Knives. At the beginning of the proceedings, Dietrich praised the men who had served in the Waffen SS: "If you study their careers in and after the war, you will have to agree that they were a respectable, clean, and loyal lot." The court sentenced him to eighteen months in prison for the killings. The court's position was that it was illegal to execute imprisoned political opponents without trial. Dietrich admitted his role in the executions, but his attitude was that "[m]y Fuehrer [did] not give illegal orders." The presiding judge, in issuing sentence, declared that he had taken Dietrich's military career into consideration, as a point in his favor. He declared that the defendant's "bravery and comradely bearing are generally recognized." [24] Conant criticized neither the judge's extreme leniency nor his praise of the Waffen SS general who had ordered the execution of American prisoners-of-war.

As Senator Kefauver had predicted, Joachim Peiper was paroled not long after Dietrich, with Ambassador Conant's approval. His death sentence, pronounced by an American military court in July 1946, had later been commuted to life in prison. The panzer unit Peiper commanded was known as the "Blowtorch Battalion" for having burned Russian villages to the ground earlier in World War II, with flamethrowers mounted on half tracks. [25] Peiper's release drew angry protests from American veterans' organizations, and from Senator Kefauver. Kefauver called Peiper "the worst kind of sadistic murderer" and declared that his parole "would destroy any hope" of deterring "similar atrocities in the future." [26]

In January 1958, having recently stepped down as U.S. ambassador to West Germany, Conant presented a series of three lectures at Harvard University before audiences that included prominent politicians and educators, in which he emphasized that "[contemporary] Germany today repudiates the Nazi past." [27] Later that year, Conant published the lectures as a book entitled Germany and Freedom. In it, Harvard's president emeritus declared that persons who had not lived in a totalitarian society had no right to condemn the German people for their behavior when Hitler was in power. He dismissed any threat of a neo-Nazi revival in Germany and implied that neither Germans nor Americans need dwell any longer on the Nazi era. Conant approvingly cited the distinction many contemporary Germans made between persons who had joined the Nazi party under Hitler but were "never 'real Nazis,''' and "terrible Nazis." He did not explain why as ambassador he had supported the parole of persons even he would admit were "terrible Nazis," such as Sepp Dietrich and Joachim Peiper. Conant called on "former resistance sympathizers and former [Nazi] party members (not terrible Nazis)" to work together to build a new Germany. Seemingly still defensive about Harvard's relations with Nazified universities during his presidency, Conant claimed that [the] "universities of Germany have been blamed (perhaps unduly) for much that has happened in the past." [28]

During the late 1950s and early 1960s, Conant, often cited in the American press as an authority on German affairs, remained indifferent about the rehabilitation of Nazi war criminals and their reentry into influential positions in government, education, and the military. Chancellor Adenauer's chief personal aide from 1953 to 1963, Hans Globke, state secretary of the West German Chancellery, had headed the Office of Jewish Affairs in Hitler's Ministry of the Interior and co-authored the official Nazi commentary on the Nuremberg race laws, introduced in September 1935. [29] Globke was responsible for having the passports of Jews stamped with the letter "J," facilitating their apprehension, confiscation of their property, and deportation to death camps. [30] Theodor Oberlaender, who became Adenauer's minister for refugees in 1953, was a former SS officer who became a Nazi party member in 1933. He served as national chief of the Federation German East, which carried out Nazi Germany's territorial policy in Eastern Europe. Oberlaender had signed articles in Nazi organs calling for the "expulsion and resettlement" of the non-German inhabitants of lands into which the Third Reich expanded and for "racial purity." [31]

Image
FIGURE E.1. Retiring U.S. ambassador to West Germany James B. Conant (left) shakes hands with Dr. Hans Globke in Bonn, February 19, 1957. Courtesy of AP Images, photo by Horst Faas.

Frederick Wallach accused Conant in the New York Times of having followed a "policy of moral amnesia" as high commissioner. [32] Critics charged that by endorsing the process of rapid release of Nazi war criminals, Conant encouraged the Germans to minimize, and even forget, Nazi crimes. In 1960, Minister for Refugees Oberlaender left the cabinet amid charges that in 1941 he had directed a massacre of Jews and Poles in Lvov, as an officer in the infamous "Nightingale" battalion of Hitler's army. The New York Times noted that "the mass of Germans" took no interest in a former Nazi serving in the cabinet: "They have long since given up trying to evaluate their fellow citizens on the basis of their pasts, possibly because so many of them were members of the Nazi party or possibly because they see so many who were higher-ranking Nazis than the Minister in top-paying non-governmental jobs." [33]

Differing sharply with Conant's sanguine view of West Germany, William L. Shirer, author of the recently published The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich, in 1961 declared in a lecture at Boston's Ford Hall Forum that Adenauer's Foreign Ministry was "shot through and through with Nazis." He stated that a Nazi past was not a handicap to anyone's career in West Germany. Shirer also emphasized that antisemitism remained "fairly strong" there. He found most appalling the refusal of West Germany's schools "to inform students concerning the atrocities of the Third Reich." [34]

Mircea Eliade: Iron Guardist Honored by American Universities

The honors that many American universities bestowed on Mircea Eliade, a leading supporter during the 1930s of Romania's virulently antisemitic Legion of the Archangel Michael, also known as the Iron Guard, reflected widespread indifference in academia after World War II about the Fascist past. Established by Corneliu Codreanu in 1927, the Legion considered Romanian nationalism intrinsically linked with the Eastern Orthodox Church. It viewed Jews as foreigners contaminating Romania's "Dacian-Roman" racial structure. Marta Petreu noted that antisemitism was "the most conspicuous and violent component of the Legion's all-encompassing chauvinism." [35] The cover of the Legion's magazine Pamantul stramosesc (Land of Our Fathers) displayed the image of the warrior St. Michael, venerated by the Orthodox Church, and a map of Romania that showed "with black spots, the extent of the Jewish invasion."  [36] The Legion conceived of its struggle as one between its patron saint and the Jewish dragon. Its main goal "was to eliminate the Jews from Romania." [37] Legionnaires were prohibited from any contact with Jews: "They could not enter a Jewish home or shop; they could not shake hands with a Jew." [38]

Eliade was drawn to the Legion in the late 1920s at the University of Bucharest, where he studied with its leading ideologist, Professor Nae Ionescu. In his autobiography, Eliade acknowledged that Ionescu became his spiritual guide: "I considered him my 'master.''' [39] Drawn to Eastern religious thought and mysticism, Eliade received his Ph.D. in 1932 after completing a dissertation on yoga, which he researched in India. Inspired by Mussolini, Eliade traveled to Italy and established contact with Fascist theorists Giovanni Papini, Giovanni Evola, and Giuseppe Tucci, whose writings he admired. [40]

During the 1930s, Eliade propagandized for the Legion in Romanian rightist newspapers, including Cuvantul (The Word), which his mentor Ionescu edited. He condemned both Jews and Western influence, sometimes conflating them, as when he expressed outrage at "the Judaic spirit of the French." [41] He considered Jews an invasive and destabilizing presence in Romania, intent on dominating it: "Jews have overrun the villages of Maramures and Bucovina, and have achieved an absolute majority in all the cities of Bessarabia." [42] In the face of this Jewish "onslaught," he warned, "Romanian villages are disappearing." [43] Like his mentor Ionescu, Eliade considered democracy a dangerous Western import. In 1935, voicing "disgust" with "Europe," by which Eliade meant Western liberal thought and the heritage of the revolutions of 1848, he wrote that he wished Romania did "not actually belong to the continent that discovered profane science, philosophy, and social equality." [44]

A strong supporter of Franco's insurrection in Spain, Eliade in January 1937 published an article in which he extolled as martyrs two Romanian Iron Guardists, Ion Mora and Vasile Marin, killed in combat against Loyalist forces. Eliade knew both men personally. Underscoring Mora and Marin's status as fascist martyrs, the ministers of Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy attended their funeral in Bucharest. An early collaborator with Codreanu in the founding of the Legion, Mora was fiercely antisemitic. While a student at the University of Cluj in 1923, he translated into Romanian from French the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, a czarist secret police forgery that purported to demonstrate a Jewish conspiracy to conquer the world. [45] Marin, a University of Bucharest Ph.D. who joined the Legion in 1932, was also an antisemitic ideologue, who polemicized against universal suffrage and what he called Romania's "putrefying democracy." In his writings, Marin claimed that "international finance," "masonic lodges," and the "Jewish press" constituted a "democratic octopus" that held Romania in a stranglehold. [46] Eliade's article appeared in Vremea (The Times), a Bucharest newspaper "under Iron Guard influence" that regularly printed antisemitic caricatures. In the article, Eliade accorded "mystic significance" to the "volunteer death" of Mora and Marin, calling it a "sacrifice in the name of Christianity." [47]

A year after Mora and Marin were "martyred" in Spain, Eliade declared in Vremea that it was his generation's destiny to "start a revolution like no other" in Romanian history. Helping to bring about this "Christian revolution, set in motion by the Legionary movement," to eradicate Jewish and other foreign "contamination" in Romania gave his life "a precise and greater purpose." [48]

In 1938, King Carol II, fearing the Legion's destabilizing influence, imprisoned many of its members and sympathizers, including Nae Ionescu and Eliade. Eliade noted in the second volume of his autobiography: "I had been tracked down and arrested for my friendship with Nae Ionescu and because I was a contributor to his newspaper." He refused the inspector of security's repeated requests to sign declarations dissociating himself from the Legion. Eliade was released after a few months' confinement. Remaining intensely loyal to Nae Ionescu, Eliade was one of four pallbearers at his funeral in March 1940. [49]

During World War II, when Romania was allied with Nazi Germany, Eliade served it in diplomatic posts. Having become friendlier with the Legion of the Archangel Michael during the spring of 1940, King Carol II's government appointed Eliade cultural attache in London, although the British Foreign Office objected, aware that he was an Iron Guard supporter. British intelligence called Eliade the "most Nazi member of the [Romanian] Legation." [50] After General Ion Antonescu, a friend of Hitler, and the Iron Guard forced King Carol II to abdicate in September 1940, the new regime appointed Eliade press and propaganda attache at Lisbon, where he remained until September 1945. During this period he wrote an admiring biography of Portuguese dictator Antonio de Oliveira Salazar, celebrating his opposition to "democratic chaos." Eliade considered Salazar "the ideal model of a Christian leader." [51]

The Romanian regimes Eliade served participated enthusiastically in forcing the Jews into ghettoes, and then in their genocide. The Iron Guard launched a savage pogrom in January 1941, months before the German invasion of the Soviet Union, when the Einsatzgruppen began their mass executions. In Bucharest, the Iron Guardists sang hymns as they butchered Jews and hung them on hooks in a slaughterhouse. [52] Romanian-Jewish writer and physician Emil Dorian, who witnessed the pogrom in Bucharest, wrote in his diary on January 24, 1941, that the Iron Guardists' atrocities "cover the complete range of a demented imagination -- Jews forced to drink gasoline with Epson salts -- crosses cut on the skin of their back -- torture and killing -- on and on." Sometimes before killing the Jews, the Iron Guardists gouged out their eyes, cut out their tongues, and broke their limbs. They left Jewish corpses in the street to be chewed up by dogs. [53] Lucy S. Dawidowicz noted that Romanian army units collaborating with Einsatzgruppe D in southern Russia "dismayed the Germans with their passion for killing and their disregard for disposal of the corpses." By late 1942, almost two-thirds of the at least 200,000 Jews Romania had deported to Transnistria had died from epidemic disease or starvation. [54]

Emigrating to the United States after eleven years in Paris, Eliade developed a highly successful professional career as a professor of comparative religion. The New York Times Sunday book review in 1981 called Eliade a "Renaissance man" and "one of the greatest scholars of religion in our times." [55] Had Eliade returned to Romania after the war, he would have been tried for collaborating with Antonescu's fascist regime, toppled in August 1944, immediately prior to that nation's surrender to the Allies. [56] But his academic career flourished in the United States. In December 1955, Eliade was appointed Haskell Lecturer and visiting professor at the University of Chicago for the academic year 1956-57. The university paid the entire cost of his travel from Paris to Chicago. The next year Eliade became a permanent professor at the University of Chicago and chair of the Department of the History of Religion of the Federated Theological faculty, which included the Divinity School. According to the Washington Post, Eliade's visiting lectures so impressed the University of Chicago administration that it "created a department for him to direct." [57]

When the University of Chicago administration learned that it had brought Eliade and his wife to the United States on a visa that stipulated that he leave the country after its expiration for at least two years before reentering, it went to great lengths to persuade the federal government to waive that requirement. It prevailed on University of Chicago trustee James H. Douglas, then assistant secretary of defense in the Eisenhower administration, to have the government declare Eliade's work at the Divinity School "indispensable to the security and welfare of the United States." The Defense Department had a special waiver prepared for the State Department that on May 1, 1961, permitted Eliade and his wife to remain in this country indefinitely. [58]

The University of Chicago expressed the deepest pride in having Eliade on its faculty. In 1963 it made him the Sewell L. Avery Distinguished Service Professor at the Divinity School. He taught a joint seminar with Paul Tillich on theology and the history of religion for two years. [59] The administration waived the mandatory retirement age of sixty-five for Eliade and allowed him to teach for many more years. His department, in petitioning the provost for the extensions, noted that "[o]ther schools are already soliciting Professor Eliade in anticipation of his retirement from the University of Chicago." [60] Eliade taught at the Divinity School until 1983, when he was seventy-six. In 1981, University of Chicago president Hanna Holborn Gray wrote to Eliade to congratulate him on the publication of the first volume of his autobiography. She declared: "You have had a fascinating life, and I'm delighted that you've put it down to inform and instruct all of us. It's a wonderful story." She concluded: "The Divinity School and the entire University are honored to have you among us." [61]

In the second volume of his autobiography, begun at the University of Chicago in 1963, Eliade remained favorable to the Legion of the Archangel Michael, describing it as "the only Romanian political movement [in 1938) which took seriously Christianity and the church." He portrayed the Legion as the victim of King Carol II's brutality and continued to justify his involvement in it during the 1930s, explaining, "I could not conceive of dissociating myself from my generation in the midst of its oppression, when people were being prosecuted and persecuted unjustly." [62]

In 1972, Eliade visited the dying Vasile Posteuca in Chicago's Columbus Hospital, having maintained contact with the prominent Iron Guard activist since his arrival at the University of Chicago. [63] Active in the Iron Guard when it wielded power in Romania in 1940-41, Posteuca had assumed a position in the National (Phantom) Government that its leader Horia Sima established in Vienna after Romania's capitulation to the Allies in August 1944. [64] In 1955, the FBI had evidence that Posteuca, who immigrated to Canada after World War II, had assumed leadership of that country's Iron Guard exiles. [65] The exiled Iron Guardists disseminated antisemitic propaganda, including the "theory that the U.S.A. is led and controlled by Jews and Freemasonry." Posteuca was a professor of language arts at Mankato State University in Minnesota from 1966 until 1972. [66]

In 1985, a year before his death, the University of Chicago paid tribute to Eliade by establishing an endowed chair in his name in the history of religions. It was the first time that the Divinity School had named an endowed chair in honor of a faculty member. Divinity School dean Jerald C. Brauer wrote that" [f]or almost thirty years Mircea Ehade has brought honor and distinction both to the University and to its Divinity School." [67]

Eliade's death elicited glowing tributes from the University of Chicago. At a memorial service following Eliade's death in 1986, University of Chicago religion professor Martin E. Marty, in a eulogy entitled "That Nice Man," declared that those who had gathered to toast him "agreed that he was the only true genius we had known." [68] In a letter of condolence to Eliade's widow, President Gray wrote that "Mircea was truly a great figure in the history of our University." She praised Eliade for promoting "an understanding of mankind's deepest yearnings and cultural differences and relationships." President Gray concluded: "His was a full life and his presence will remain among us as long [as] our University endures, an example to those of us who knew him and those of us who learned from him." [69]

Several other American universities bestowed honorary degrees on Eliade. Loyola University of Chicago (1970), Oberlin College (I972), and George Washington University (1985) presented him with honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degrees, and Ripon College gave him a Doctor of Sacred Theology degree. [70] Canada's University of Windsor gave Eliade the Christian Culture gold medal for I968, presented each year "to an outstanding lay exponent of Christian ideals." [71] In I966, President Kingman Brewster Jr. of Yale University, as he bestowed an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree on Eliade, proclaimed: "You belong to the world .... [Y]ou have helped to find a human language for eternal truth." [72]

Yale in 1964 had invited Eliade to address a university-wide audience, under the sponsorship of its prestigious Woodward Lectureship. The university's Department of Religious Studies, awaiting his acceptance "with keen anticipation," informed him that its faculty was "eager to ... solicit your advice about our own program in the History of Religions." [73]

Mircea Eliade's obituaries did not mention his Iron Guard past, but Saul Bellow made a point of raising the issue in his novel Ravelstein, published in 2000. Bellow clearly based the character Radu Grielescu, a scholar of religion and myth, on Eliade. The novel's principal character, Abe Ravelstein, a professor at a Midwestern university modeled on the University of Chicago, tells the narrator that Grielescu was "an Iron Guardist connected with the Romanian prewar fascist government .... a follower of Nae Ionescu," who became "something of a cultural big shot in London" and then "in Lisbon under the Salazar dictatorship." Ravelstein continues: "Grielescu is making use of you. In the old country he was a fascist. He needs to live that down. The man was a Hitlerite."

The narrator responds, "Come, now .... "

"Has he ever denied that he belonged to the Iron Guard?"

"It's never come up."

"You haven't brought it up. Do you have any memory of the massacre in Bucharest when they hung people alive on meat hooks in the slaughterhouse and butchered them -- skinned them alive?"

Grielescu's past was forgotten. Bur Ravelstein notes that "The record ... shows what [Grielescu] wrote about the Jew-syphilis that infected the high civilization of the Balkans," and he urges the narrator to "[j]ust give a thought now and then to those people on the meat hooks." [74]
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