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.

The Third Reich in the Ivory Tower: Complicity and Conflict

Postby admin » Thu Jul 26, 2018 2:51 am

The Third Reich in the Ivory Tower: Complicity and Conflict on American Campuses
by Stephen H. Norwood
University of Oklahoma
© Stephen H. Norwood 2009

Librarian's Introduction: In today's political world, we are accustomed to hearing about the "liberal bias" of the elite universities, and are regularly treated to high-minded diatribes by ink-stained wretches laboring for reactionary media outlets, about the war on "conservative thought" in academia. If there is any validity to these claims, it would have to be because these institutions have engaged in a dramatic about-face, completely reversing their prior, deeply-held faith in fascism as the savior of western democracies. If this is surprising to you, make haste to read Stephen H. Norwood's extremely well-researched tome, reproduced here below for students of world history, at least those willing to endure the convicting criticisms of Ivy League schools that embraced Mussolini, Hitler, and other fascist movements without restraint, engaging in student exchanges that provided ideological cover for the Hitler takeover of German life, and giving the regime the benefit of the doubt with respect to the anti-semitic purges that were evident human rights violations.




This is the first systematic exploration of the nature and extent of sympathy for Nazi Germany at American universities during the 1930s

Praise for The Third Reich in the Ivory Tower

"Stephen Norwood's groundbreaking research and eloquent pen have added immeasurably to our understanding of how Americans responded to Nazism in the 1930s. The Third Reich in the Ivory Tower reveals a painful but important chapter in our nation's history."
-- David S. Wyman, author of The Abandonment of the Jews: America and the Holocaust. 1941-1945

"This pioneering work by an accomplished scholar contains much that will be new and compelling to both historians and the general reader. Well-organized and gracefully written, it is a significant work that systematically exposes and analyzes the tangled and often sordid responses of American universities to Nazism. Norwood's research is deep and wide, drawing on evidence from a very broad range of often untapped sources."
-- Steven Katz, Boston University

"Through a methodical marshaling of evidence, Professor Norwood demonstrates that university administrators reacted with both temerity, in maintaining ties to German institutions long after the Nazi influence was clear, and timidity, in refusing to protest Nazi outrages on either academic or moral grounds. In doing so, he exposes the prejudices and predilections that shaped the American academy in the twentieth century."
-- Laurel Leff, Northeastern University School of Journalism, and author of Buried by The Times: The Holocaust and America's Most Important Newspaper

"A must-read also for those who want to understand the mechanisms that generate antisemitism and prejudice on American campuses today."
-- Radu Ioanid, author of The Holocaust in Romania


This is the first systematic exploration of the nature and extent of sympathy for Nazi Germany at American universities during the 1930s. Universities were highly influential in shaping public opinion, and many of the nation's most prominent university administrators refused to take a principled stand against the Hitler regime. Universities welcomed Nazi officials to campus and participated enthusiastically in student exchange programs with Nazified universities in Germany. American educators helped Nazi Germany improve its image in the West as it intensified its persecution of the Jews and strengthened its armed forces. The study contrasts the significant American grassroots protest against Nazism that emerged as soon as Hitler assumed power with campus quiescence, and with administrators' frequently harsh treatment of those students and professors who challenged their determination to maintain friendly relations with Nazi Germany.

Stephen H. Norwood, who holds a Ph.D. from Columbia University, is Professor of History at the University of Oklahoma. His two-volume Encyclopedia of American Jewish History, co-edited with Eunice G. Pollack (2008), received the Booklist Editor's Choice Award. He is also the author of three other books in American history and the winner of the Herbert G. Gutman Award in American Social History and co-winner of the Macmillan/SABR Award in Baseball History. His articles have appeared in anthologies and numerous journals, including American Jewish History, Modern Judaism, and the Journal of Social History.

The Third Reich in the Ivory Tower: Complicity and Conflict on American Campuses

This is the first systematic exploration of the nature and extent of sympathy for Nazi Germany at American universities during the 1930s. Universities were highly influential in shaping public opinion, and many of the nation's most prominent university administrators refused to take a principled stand against the Hitler regime. Universities welcomed Nazi officials to campus and participated enthusiastically in student exchange programs with Nazified universities in Germany. American educators helped Nazi Germany improve its image in the West as it intensified its persecution of the Jews and strengthened its armed forces. The study contrasts the significant American grassroots protest against Nazism that emerged as soon as Hitler assumed power with campus quiescence, and with administrators' frequently harsh treatment of those students and professors who challenged their determination to maintain friendly relations with Nazi Germany.

Stephen H. Norwood, who holds a Ph.D. from Columbia University, is Professor of History at the University of Oklahoma. His two-volume Encyclopedia of American Jewish History, co-edited with Eunice G. Pollack (2008), received the Booklist Editor's Choice Award. He is also the author of three other books in American history and the winner of the Herbert G. Gutman Award in American Social History and co-winner of the Macmillan/SABR Award in Baseball History. His articles have appeared in anthologies and numerous journals, including American Jewish History, Modern Judaism, and the Journal of Social History.

To Eunice G. Pollack

Table of Contents:

• 1. Germany Reverts to the Dark Ages: Nazi Clarity and Grassroots American Protest, 1933-1934
• 2. Legitimating Nazism: Harvard University and the Hitler Regime, 1933-1937
• 3. Complicity and Conflict: Columbia University's Response to Fascism, 1933-1937
• 4. The Seven Sisters Colleges and the Third Reich: Promoting Fellowship Through Student Exchange
• 5. A Respectful Hearing for Nazi Germany's Apologists: The University of Virginia Institute of Public Affairs Roundtables, 1933-1941
• 6. Nazi Nests: German Departments in American Universities, 1933-1941
• 7. American Catholic Universities' Flirtation with Fascism
• 8. 1938, Year of the Kristallnacht: The Limits of Campus Protest
• Epilogue
• Notes
• Bibliography
• Index

List of Figures

• 1.1 Every available seat in New York City's Madison Square Garden is filled at a mass rally against antisemitism in Nazi Germany, March 27, 1933.
• 1.2 Mass demonstration against Nazi antisemitism in the heavily Jewish neighborhood of Brownsville in Brooklyn, New York, Stone and Pitkin Avenues, March 27, 1933.
• 1.3 Anti-Nazi protesters march through New York City's Washington Square Park on their way to a mass rally in Battery Park against antisemitism in Germany, May 10, 1933.
• 2.1 Dr. Hans Luther, Nazi Germany's ambassador to the United States, gives the Nazi salute on board the Karlsruhe during its visit to Boston, May 1934.
• 2.2 Officers and diplomats from Nazi Germany at Baron von Tippelskirch's estate in Newton, Massachusetts, May 1934. Left to right: (front row) Baron Kurt von Tippelskirch, Nazi Germany's consul general in Boston; Captain von Enderndorf of the Karlsruhe; Dr. Hans Luther, Nazi Germany's ambassador to the United States; and Baroness von Tippelskirch and (back row) General Boetticher; Captain Witthoeft; and Lt. Commanders Gadow and Krabbe.
• 2.3 Diplomats from Nazi Germany at Harvard's Germanic Museum, May 1934. Left to right: Baron Kurt von Tippelskirch, Nazi Germany's consul general in Boston; Dr. Hans Luther, Nazi Germany's ambassador to the United States; and Gerrit von Haeften, attache at the German embassy in Washington.
• 2.4 Ernst Hanfstaengl (right) with Frank J. Reynolds at the Harvard Class of 1909 reunion, June 1934.
• 2.5 Rabbi Joseph Solomon Shubow (center), who confronted Ernst Hanfstaengl in Harvard Yard in June 1934 and demanded to know whether the Nazi plan for the Jews was extermination.
• 2.6 Ernst Hanfstaengl speaking with newspaper reporters at Harvard, June 1934.
• 2.7 Ernst Hanfstaengl (center, with raised arm) in the Harvard Class of 1909 parade, June 1934.
• 2.8 Dr. Hans Luther (right), Nazi Germany's ambassador to the United States, presents Roscoe Pound, dean of Harvard Law School, with an honorary degree from the University of Berlin, September 1934.
• 3.1 Nazi Germany's ambassador to the United States, Dr. Hans Luther (front row center), in Washington, D.C., April 21, 1933. With him in the front row, left to right: Dr. Rudolf Leitner, counselor of the German embassy; Gen. Friedrich von Boetticher, military attache; Richard Southgate, U.S. State Department; and Dr. Johann Lohman, secretary of the German embassy.
• 3.2 Columbia University president Nicholas Murray Butler and his daughter, Sarah Butler.
• 3.3 Columbia Spectator managing board, 1934-35.
• 3.4 Columbia fine arts instructor Jerome Klein, whose appointment was terminated by President Nicholas Murray Butler because he protested the administration's welcome to Nazi Germany's ambassador, Hans Luther.
• 3.5 Columbia students carry out mock book burning to protest President Butler's sending a delegate to Nazi Germany to participate in the University of Heidelberg's 550th anniversary celebration, May 1936.
• 4.1 Toni Sender, Jewish Social Democratic Reichstag deputy (1920-33), who narrowly escaped being murdered by the Nazis, forcefully denounced Nazi policies toward women while lecturing in the United States.
• 4.2 President Marion Edwards Park of Bryn Mawr College.
• 6.1 "Axis Sally" (Mildred E. Gillars) leaving U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C., during her trial for treason, February 17, 1949.
• E.1 Retiring U.S. ambassador to West Germany James B. Conant (left) shakes hands with Dr. Hans Globke in Bonn, February 19, 1957.

Site Admin
Posts: 33729
Joined: Thu Aug 01, 2013 5:21 am

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

Postby admin » Thu Jul 26, 2018 2:52 am


AAUP. American Association of University Professors
ACLU. American Civil Liberties Union
ACUA. American Catholic History Research Center and University Archives
ADL. Anti-Defamation League
AFL. American Federation of Labor
AJC. American Jewish Committee
AJCongress. American Jewish Congress
AL. Alexander Library
ALDJR. American League for the Defense of Jewish Rights
ASU. American Student Union
AUA. American University Archives
BL. Butler Library
BMCA. Bryn Mawr College Archives
BTCI. Board of Trustees Committee, Investigation of the Charges of Lienhard Bergel
CCNY. City College of New York
CF. Central Files
CU. Columbia University
CUACL. Columbia University Archives - Columbiana Library, Low Library
CURBML. Columbia University Rare Book and Manuscript Library
EC. Emergency Committee in Aid of Displaced German Scholars
ECADFS Papers. Emergency Committee in Aid of Displaced Foreign Scholars Papers
FBI. Federal Bureau of Investigation
FC. Foreign Counterintelligence
FS. Foreign Study
FSPDS. Records of Foreign Service Posts of the Department of State
FSR. Foreign Study Records
FUA. Fordham University Archives
GLLD. German Language and Literature Department
HAA. Harvard Athletic Association
HLSP. Herbert Lehman Suite and Papers
HUA. Harvard University Archives
ICASR. Intercollegiate Committee to Aid Student Refugees
IPA. Institute of Public Affairs
JBCPP. James B. Conant Presidential Papers
JGMP. James G. McDonald Papers
JHU. Johns Hopkins University
JRAPP. James R. Angell Presidential Papers
JSS.Newish Students Society
JTA. Jewish Telegraphic Agency
JWV. Jewish War Veterans of the United States of America
LC. Library of Congress
MAD. Manuscripts and Archives Division
MHCA. Mount Holyoke College Archives
MIT. Massachusetts Institute of Technology
MSEL. Milton S. Eisenhower Library
NA. National Archives
NCCJ. National Conference of Christians and Jews
NCWC. National Catholic Welfare Conference
NJC. New Jersey College for Women
NSANL. Non-Sectarian Anti-Nazi League to Champion Human Rights
NSL. National Student League
NYPL. New York Public Library
NYU. New York University
OAF. Office Administrative Files
QCA. Queens College Archives
RBML. Rare Book and Manuscript Library
RG. Record Group
RL. Regenstein Library
ROP. Records of the Office of the President
RU. Rutgers University
RUBTME. Rutgers University Board of Trustees, Minutes and Enclosures 1935
SA. Sturmabteilung
SC. Special Collections
SCA. Smith College Archives
SCRC. Special Collections Research Center
SCUA. Special Collections and University Archives
SL. Sterling Library
UC. University of Chicago
UCLA. University of California at Los Angeles
UDA. University of Delaware Archives
UFA. Universum-Film Aktiengesellschaft
UN. United Nations
UVA. University of Virginia
VCA. Vassar College Archives
VFW. Veterans of Foreign Wars
WYC. World Youth Congress
YU. Yale University
YWCA. Young Women's Christian Association
Site Admin
Posts: 33729
Joined: Thu Aug 01, 2013 5:21 am

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

Postby admin » Thu Jul 26, 2018 2:54 am

Part 1 of 2

1. Germany Reverts to the Dark Ages: Nazi Clarity and Grassroots American Protest, 1933-1934

As soon as Hitler came to power on January 30, 1933, the American Jewish press compared him to Haman, and the plight of Germany's Jews to those of ancient Persia, whom Haman had threatened with extermination. Boston's Jewish Advocate declared on March 7 that Germany's entire Jewish population of 600,000 "is under the shadow of a campaign of murder which may be initiated soon." It drew its readers' attention to an article published a few days before in the London Daily Herald that predicted that the Nazis would initiate a pogrom "on a scale as terrible as any instance of Jewish persecution in 2,000 years." [1] At Purim in mid- March 1933, the festival celebrating the Jews' deliverance from Haman, many rabbis devoted their sermons to condemning the rise of Nazi antisemitism in Germany. Rabbi Mordecai Kaplan indicated that Hitler was even more threatening than Haman in that he was attempting to make the whole world unsafe for Jews. Kaplan predicted that Nazi Germany could ultimately destroy modern civilization and thrust all of humanity "back to the days of ancient barbarism." [2]

On March 20, 1933, shortly after the Nazis assumed power in Germany, the New York Times declared that testimony from Americans returning home from visits to Germany left no doubt that to be Jewish there "now constitutes a crime." It reported the declaration of Prussian high commissioner Hermann Goering and minister of propaganda Josef Goebbels that the "Jewish vampire" was responsible for "all the troubles from which the Reich is suffering." The Nazi leaders proclaimed that it was "the duty of all Germans to persecute and harass" the Jews. [3] No Jew was exempt from such treatment. The Nazis physically attacked Jews; forcibly shut down Jewish businesses; drove Jewish professors from their lecture halls; barred Jews from practicing law, medicine, and other professions; and embarked on a campaign to prevent them from finding gainful employment in nearly any field. The Manchester Guardian noted that by shutting down Jewish-owned stores and savagely beating Jews in the streets, the Nazis had graphically demonstrated that they were immediately putting into effect a sweeping antisemitic doctrine. [4]

That same month German Jewish refugee Lion Feuchtwanger, whose home had been ransacked by Nazis while he was abroad and his manuscripts destroyed, told the New York Times that the Nazis had initiated "pogroms such as Germany has not seen since the Jewish persecutions of the fourteenth century," which were precipitated by the ludicrous accusation that Jews had caused the Black Death that destroyed one-third of Europe's population. Feuchtwanger had spoken with Jewish refugees in Paris, who told him of acts of antisemitic violence they had experienced or witnessed in Germany compared to which "the atrocities during the war paled." These refugees had insisted to Feuchtwanger that "[elvery Jew in Germany must expect to be assaulted in the street or to be dragged out of bed and arrested, to have his goods and property destroyed." Jews were dragged from automobiles and beaten, just because they were Jews. "Day after day," the corpses of Jews slain in antisemitic attacks were found "mutilated beyond identification." [5]

An American just returned from Berlin told the New York Times that he had cut short his trip there after witnessing a platoon of Nazi storm troopers brutally beat Jewish businessmen at a restaurant who had refused to purchase Goebbels's newspaper Der Angriff. Seizing the Jews, the storm troopers formed a double line and forced them to pass through a gauntlet to exit the restaurant. As each of the Jews attempted to make his way to the door, every storm trooper, "first on one side and then on the other, smashed him in the face," with brass knuckles and "kicked him with heavy boots," turning his face into "beef steak." [6]

A British visitor to the German capital described a similar anti-Jewish atrocity to the London Daily Herald not long afterward. As he sat in a cafe, five Nazis entered and without any provocation repeatedly beat the Jewish proprietor with rubber truncheons. They left the premises shouting, "Get out, you cursed Jew!" As the proprietor lay unconscious on the floor in a pool of blood, his wife rushed to his side and cradled his battered head in her lap. When the British visitor asked her to call for an ambulance, she replied, "What good is that? There are only Nazi doctors ... and they will not attend to anyone attacked by the Nazis." [7]

The American and British press provided extensive coverage of such incidents of antisemitic violence, which occurred with great frequency during the early months of Nazi rule. On March 25, 1933, the Manchester Guardian emphasized that the Nazi terror "did not consist of sporadic excesses [and] was not a series of disorders" but was "systematic and integral" to the Nazi system of government. [8]

The Nazis delighted not only in beating defenseless Jews, including the elderly and women, but in publicly degrading them. On April 4, 1933, the Manchester Guardian published a photograph, taken at Chemnitz in Saxony, that a Social Democratic refugee had smuggled out of Germany, showing grinning Nazis parading a Jew through the streets in a refuse cart. At Worms in late March 1933, the Nazis arrested three Jews, took them to a Sturmabteilung (SA) headquarters, and subjected them to a terrible beating. The storm troopers then entertained themselves by forcing the Jews to strike each other with cudgels. [9] Several days later in the same city, theNazis confined arrested Jews in a pigsty. [10]

On April 1, 1933, the Hitler government staged a nationwide boycott of Jewish businesses and professional establishments, signaling the Nazi intention of making it impossible for Jews to earn a living. Fully half a million Nazi storm troopers enforced the boycott, forming squads in front of Jewish stores and offices that warned customers not to enter them. H. R. Knickerbocker, Pulitzer-prize winning Berlin correspondent of the New York Evening Post, reported that storm troopers had forcibly prevented his Evening Post colleague Albion Ross from entering a Jewish-owned department store in the Rosenthalerstrasse, and beat him after they ejected him from the doorway, shouting, "Damn dog!" while a policeman looked on indifferently. [11]

After reading Knickerbocker's dispatches from Berlin in the Evening Post, John Haynes Holmes, minister of New York City's Community Church, wrote to him that Germany had reverted to the Dark Ages. [12] Particularly frightening was the symbol that the storm troopers pasted over the entrance to every Jewish-owned store and physician's and lawyer's office as a "badge of shame": a yellow circle on a black background. This was the mark Christians had required Jewish businessmen, lawyers, and physicians to use during the Middle Ages to identify themselves, and it indicated a reversion to the vicious antisemitism of that era. [13]

James G. McDonald, League of Nations high commissioner for refugees from 1933 to 1935, stated that the boycott, which he observed in Berlin, was effective because it demonstrated "that Jewish trade could be completely stifled." McDonald noted that although the Nazis had scheduled the boycott to last only a day, "an equally destructive discrimination against all Jews in law, medicine, school, civil service, shops, and industry ... continue[d] unabated." [14]

The day after the boycott, the National Socialist Women's Federation in Berlin called on German women to never again patronize a Jewish store, physician, or attorney, and to ensure that their families did not "until Jewry has been destroyed." It reminded German women that they were "fighting a holy war." [15]

On April 7, 1933, the Hitler government enacted a law discharging Jews from the civil service. Professors were included because universities in Germany were administered by the state. Jews were defined as persons with at least one Jewish grandparent, and non-Jews married to Jews were included in the decree. Only those who were war veterans or had been appointed to their posts prior to 1914 were exempted, because of pressure from President Paul von Hindenburg. As a result, many of Germany's leading academics and intellectuals were forced into exile. [16]

As succeeding chapters will show, Germany's institutions of higher learning quickly deteriorated to the point that they could not properly be called universities. Martha Dodd, daughter of William E. Dodd, U.S. ambassador to Germany from 1933 to 1938, who had served as president of the American Historical Association, stated that when she lived with her father in the Third Reich, Germany's universities were just "elevated institutions of Nazi propaganda." She recalled that Ambassador Dodd, a longtime professor who had studied in Germany at the University of Leipzig around the turn of the century, "was so shocked and sickened" by the damage the Nazis inflicted on higher education that "he dreaded even passing through a university town." He refused to accept any honorary degree from a German university. [17]

On April 24, 1933, Frederick T. Birchall, New York Times correspondent in Berlin, wrote that the Jews in Germany were facing an impending catastrophe. The Nazis had relegated them to a position even lower than second-class citizens - they were "to be like toads under the harrow." [18] Thousands of them had been deprived of homes and driven from employment but lacked the funds necessary to leave. American reporter Dorothy Thompson wrote in Berlin in May 1933 that Germany's Jews were "truly in a hopeless state," because they were no longer permitted to earn a living. [19] Those Jews with the means to escape Germany were required by the Hitler government to leave behind nearly everything they had. The New York Times reported in early May that Jewish refugees were arriving in Paris at a rate of 200 a day, and that nearly all were "reduced to a state of poverty." [20]

During the spring and summer of 1933, American and British journalists continued to publish alarming reports about Nazi persecution, drawn from their own observations and investigations, and from refugees able to flee to France, the Saar, the Netherlands, Poland, and Spain. By April 1933, the Nazis had confined an estimated 45,000 political opponents and Jews in newly established concentration camps and in SA headquarters, known as Brown Houses, that the Manchester Guardian called "nothing less than torture chambers." [21] (SA members were known as Brown Shirts, and brown was the Nazi color.)

A Manchester Guardian correspondent, reporting from Germany, declared that "[t]he inquirers by digging only an inch below the surface, will in city after city, village after village, discover such an abundance of barbarism committed by the Brown Shirts that modern analogies fail." He considered the storm troopers far more dangerous and sadistic than American gangsters, professional killers whom they somewhat resembled. The American gangster at least led a life of danger, confronting far more powerful armed government forces. By contrast, the German government's armed police and military forces were allied with the storm troopers. The Brown Shirts, carrying revolvers and pistols, and in some places armed with carbines and steel helmets, confronted as adversaries "helpless Jewish shopkeepers" and "defeated and unarmed Republicans." [22]

American newspaper reporters posted in Berlin emphasized to James G. McDonald on his visit there in the spring of 1933 the horror of Nazi brutality and antisemitism. Charles Elliot of the New York Herald Tribune told McDonald that "the degree of violence and intolerance was unprecedented in Western Europe." McDonald found Pulitzer Prizewinning reporter Edgar Ansel Mowrer, Berlin correspondent for the Chicago Daily News, "highly overwrought" when he met with him on March 30, 1933. Mowrer "could talk of little but terror and atrocities" and described the Nazi leaders as "brutes [and] sadists," McDonald noted in his diary. [23]

McDonald also found very ominous Adolf Hitler's remarks to him about what he planned to do to Germany's Jews in a personal conference with the Fuehrer in Berlin on April 8, 1933. When McDonald returned to the United States later in the month, he reported that Hitler had told him: "I will do the thing that the rest of the world would like to do. It doesn't know how to get rid of the Jews. I will show them." McDonald told James Warburg, son of prominent Jewish banker Paul Warburg, that Hitler had said at their meeting, "I've got my heel on the necks of the Jews and will soon have them so they can't move." In his conversation with Warburg, McDonald "predicted that German Jews would retrogress to medieval ghetto status." [24]

Because no country allowed any significant number of Jewish refugees to enter, Germany became, as Lord Melchett stated in May 1933, "an absolute death trap" for its 600,000 Jews. Lord Melchett emphasized that "there was no escape of any kind" for them. [25] New York Times correspondent Otto Tolischus wrote from Berlin in September 1933 that, if other countries including the United States lowered their immigration barriers, there was no doubt that "the vast majority" of Jews would leave Germany immediately. But unfortunately, "few of those seeking to emigrate entertain any hope of finding room in the other western countries." [26]

Tolischus stated that the majority of Jews in Germany were doomed. Because under the Hitler regime "Jews are in practice barred from all higher schooling and all the 'academic' professions," they had no prospects other than manual laborer. He noted that German Jews already referred to the older members of their community as "the lost generation," fated to struggle for a short time living on handouts "and then die out." [27]

Michael Williams, editor of the Catholic magazine The Commonweal, returning in June 1933 from a trip to Germany to investigate Nazi persecution, also considered the plight of Jews in Germany so desperate that they could not survive there. Williams stated that the Nazis' intention was to "absolutely eliminate the Jewish portion of the German nation." Williams asserted in the New York Times that the Nazi oppression of Jews "probably surpasses any recorded instance of persecution in Jewish history." He called the situation of Jews in Germany "deplorable beyond words." Williams appealed to the League of Nations to "come quickly and strongly to the rescue!" to prevent "the worst crime of our age" from proceeding: "the deliberate extinction of nearly 1,000,000 men, women, and children." [28]

That same month, the American Jewish Committee (AJC) published the 112-page White Book, designed to provide the American public with as complete an account as possible of the Hitler government's antisemitic laws and regulations, and of Nazi brutality and threats against Jews, from 1923 until May 1933. The AJC White Book, whose publication was announced in the New York Times, presented translations of the complete text from the official German law gazette, of "the numerous decrees promulgated under Chancellor Hitler prohibiting the employment of Jews in the professions, State services, [and] the schools." This was followed by eyewitnesses' reports of "the acts [of] oppression and violence" against Germany's Jews. [29]

American Jewish leaders observing developments in Germany during the summer and fall of 1933 concluded that Jews had no future there. Rabbi Stephen S. Wise, honorary president of the AJCongress, who spent time in Europe that summer speaking with refugees from Germany, wrote that "the Jews of Germany are finished." Judge Julian Mack stated that the Jews in Nazi Germany faced a fate worse than they had in Inquisitorial Spain, [30] Alexander Brin, editor of Boston's Jewish Advocate, one of America's leading English-language Jewish weeklies, on his return to the United States in October 1933 after a trip to Germany, called the Hitler government "the most barbaric and savage movement since the Dark Ages." [31]

In September 1933, Germany's most eminent novelist, Thomas Mann, winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature, expressed the deepest pessimism about the impact of Hitler's rule. Mann had chosen to go into exile in France because of his anti-Nazi convictions. Emphasizing that Nazi rule was not an ephemeral phenomenon but would have long-term impact, he declared that Nazi policies would transform Germany into a place "intellectually so barren" that it would take "centuries before she can regain something of her former intellectual and cultural prestige." [32]

Albert Einstein, the most renowned exile from Nazi Germany, publicly condemned the Hitler regime from the beginning. Outside the country when the Nazis assumed power, Einstein declared that he would never return to Germany, and stated: "I do not desire to live in a country or belong to a country where the rights of all citizens are not respected and where freedom of speech among teachers is not accorded." [33] He appealed for world protest against Nazism. Shortly after the Nazis came to power they ransacked Einstein's weekend home at Caputh, outside Berlin, and confiscated his belongings. They also seized his bank account and securities.  [34] In March 1933, Einstein resigned from the Prussian Academy of Sciences, to which he had belonged since 1913, in protest against Nazi policies. He expressed disgust with German scientists who had "failed in their duty to defend intellectual values." [35] Einstein sailed permanently for the United States in October 1933 and never went back to Germany. He became a faculty member at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, New Jersey, a center for research and postgraduate training organized by Jewish educator Abraham F1exner on an endowment by Jewish department store magnate Louis Bamberger and his sister, Caroline Bamberger Fuld. [36]

Because of Einstein's stature as one of the most eminent scientists of modern times, the American press gave particular attention to his denunciations of Nazi persecution of Jews and political opponents. The Hitler government's abusive and insulting treatment of such a highly respected man of learning was further confirmation to many in the West that Germany had lapsed into barbarism.

When the Hitler government arrested British journalist Noel Panter of the London Daily Telegraph in late October 1933 on charges of transmitting "atrocity reports" abroad and espionage, the American press speculated that the Nazis were attempting to extend to the foreign press the censorship it enforced on German newspapers. Panter was charged with espionage because, in reporting on a speech Hitler made in Kelheim, Bavaria, he had noted the military character of the massive storm troopers' demonstration that accompanied it. Panter described 20,000 uniformed storm troopers goose-stepping past SA chief of staff Ernst Roehm, "with rifles at the slope and with steel bayonets," and noted participation by the Reichswehr (German army) in the demonstration. Germany had recently withdrawn from a League of Nations disarmament conference, and the SA's display of military equipment raised fears in the West that the Hitler government was preparing for a significant military buildup. [37]

The American press, like the British, voiced grave concern about Panter's arrest and the Nazis' refusal to allow him counselor any contact with British consular officials, although academia remained silent. The New York Times reported that British public opinion was "thoroughly aroused" over Panter's imprisonment. The Nazis held Panter incommunicado for three days, denying him even a toothbrush or razor, while the British cabinet met to discuss its options and the British press expressed "the strongest editorial indignation." Panter faced at least two years in prison under the charges. British emissaries managed to gain access to Panter after three days, and six days later the Hitler government expelled the British journalist from Germany. Arriving in Britain, Panter declared in a radio address that liberty had completely vanished from Germany. [38]

Summing up eleven months of Nazi rule in late December 1933, the New York Times concluded that the calendar year was ending with Germany's Jews in a dismal situation. They had been degraded to "pariahs." The Hitler regime had shut down a large proportion of Jewish-owned businesses and forced a great many others to "replace Jewish directors, managers, and other important employees with Nazis." The minister of finance had decreed that tax and customs officials refuse contact with "non-Aryan" representatives of businesses, even if they were war veterans. The New York Times noted that many marketplaces and fairs prohibited Jews from engaging in any business, and that some of Germany's towns now forbade Jews from entering them. [39] Jews were virtually barred from the professions and from higher education.

The New York Times also reported that the Nazis had made life miserable for Jewish children in the common and intermediate schools. They were ostracized and harassed by their fellow pupils and teachers. The Times cited the account of the twelve-year-old daughter of an American diplomat in Germany, who described how the teacher on a class excursion had separated the Jewish pupils from the rest of the class and ordered them to keep their distance from the" Aryans" on their walk. School curricula gave significant emphasis to the propagation of Nazi antisemitic doctrines. [40] Alexander Brin wrote in October 1933 that Germany's public schools had promulgated so much antisemitism in the classrooms that were the Hitler regime to be "overthrown tomorrow," it would probably take generations to repair "the damage that has been done by the poison instilled into the minds of the children." [41]

During late 1933 and early 1934, some of the journalists in the West best informed about German affairs, who had visited Nazi Germany for extended periods during the early phases of Hitler's rule, astutely warned about the very real possibility of a large-scale genocide of Germany's Jews. Writing in November 1933 in the Jewish magazine Opinion, edited by Stephen S. Wise, Belgian journalist Pierre van Paassen, drawing on interviews with Jews that he had recently conducted in three widely separated cities in Germany, stated that "the position of the German Jews is getting worse every day" and called for international action to save the German Jewish community "from physical extinction." He endorsed Rabbi Wise's call for the settling of 150,000 German Jews in Palestine. But van Paassen warned that unless such a plan were carried out at once, "there will be no 150,000 German Jews left to be settled in Palestine." [42]

Dorothy Thompson wrote in Opinion in March 1934 that the Nazis' aim was "to eliminate the Jews." Thompson, wife of novelist Sinclair Lewis and a non-Jew, had served as Berlin correspondent for theNew York Evening Post and had published a series of articles in May 1933 on Nazi atrocities against Jews in the Jewish Daily Bulletin and for the Jewish Telegraphic Agency. In her Opinion article, entitled "Germany Is a Prison," Thompson stated that because the Nazis were unable "to assassinate half a million Jews in cold blood," they had launched a "cold pogrom," forcing the Jews to leave Germany "by closing down one by one opportunities to earn a living or educate their children beyond the elementary grades, and by social ostracism." This "campaign of persecution" had caused a large number of Jews in one year of Nazi rule to leave Germany, despite the enormous difficulties of stiff immigration barriers everywhere in the world. Those Jews remaining in Germany, driven by the Nazis from their businesses, jobs, and schools, faced economic catastrophe. [43]

By the spring of 1934, the American reading public had access to books in which prominent journalists, politicians, and Jewish leaders described Nazi Germany as barbaric and detailed Nazi atrocities. In March a symposium entitled Nazism: An Assault on Civilization was published that included passionate denunciations of the Hitler regime by former New York governor and presidential candidate Al Smith, Unitarian minister John Haynes Holmes, Rabbi Stephen S. Wise, and writer Ludwig Lewisohn. AFL president William Green and reformer Alice Hamilton analyzed and forcefully condemned Nazi labor and women's policies, respectively. Dorothy Thompson described the "wanton cruelties" inflicted by the Nazis. In the concluding article, Governor Smith wrote that if Nazism prevailed, those who had fought "for spiritual and political freedom have fought in vain." [44] Germany Unmasked by Robert Dell, veteran Manchester Guardian correspondent, appeared at the same time. It opened with a statement by a diplomat stationed in Berlin: "The conditions here are not those of a normal civilized country and the German Government is not a normal civilized Government and cannot be dealt with as if it were one." [45]

That spring, the American and British press reported yet another ominous development in Germany: the Nazis' revival of the medieval blood libel accusation, which they aggressively disseminated throughout the Reich using official party newspapers. The blood libel, which had no basis in fact, charged the Jews with kidnapping Christian children, torturing and murdering them to mock Jesus, and draining their blood to mix with matzoh at Passover (Pesach) and with Purim pastries. On May 1, 1934, Julius Streicher, Nazi gauleiter of Franconia and political commissar of the Bavarian state government, published a special May Day edition of the Nazi newspaper Der Sturmer of 130,000 copies, devoted to documenting 131 alleged Jewish ritual murders from 169 B.C.E. to 1929 C.E. The May Day ritual murder issue contained two heavily underscored red banner headlines declaring "Jewish murder plot against non-Jewish humanity exposed." The cover depicted two Jews, one holding a bloodstained knife and the other collecting in a dish streams of blood gushing from the slashed throats of "Aryan" women. Other illustrations showed "children being done to death in the most revolting circumstances by Jews." [46]

The London Times called Der Sturmer's ritual murder issue "a crudely horrible production" that was "designed to excite racial fanaticism to a bloodthirsty pitch." [47] Besides the "obvious incitements to violence" against Jews, the Times editorialized that reviving the ludicrous and long-discredited blood libel accusation "did grave damage to the intellectual reputation of the new Germany." [48]

Western journalists believed that the publication of Der Sturmer's special ritual murder issue placed all of Germany's Jews in immediate physical danger because, as the London Times noted, the person responsible was no less than Julius Streicher, "one of the most prominent members of the Nazi 'inner circle.'" The New York Times reported that succeeding issues of Der Sturmer were "as full of anti-Jewish hatred as their predecessors" and that they published "the usual caricatures and epithets." [49]

Indeed, belief in the blood libel accusation against the Jews was sufficiently widespread in Germany that it had inspired a pogrom shortly before the appearance of Der Sturmer's May Day issue. During the night of March 25-26, 1934, residents of the town of Ellwangen, Mittelfranken (Central Franconia), in Bavaria smashed the windows of Jewish homes, while onlookers shouted in chorus: "In this Pesach there flows no Christian but Jewish blood." [50]

The publication of the ritual murder issue of Der Sturmer coincided with the Hitler regime's opening of a series of special performances of the intensely antisemitic Oberammergau Passion Play, discussed in Chapter 4, which was highly popular among American exchange students studying in Germany and visiting American academics. The Nazis believed that exposing Americans to the passion play's images of the Jews as a race forever cursed for their crime of deicide would help them spread antisemitism abroad. In May 1934, they decided to exploit Der Sturmer's ritual murder issue in the same manner. The New York Times reported that Julius Streicher, in a storm trooper's uniform, had in Nuremberg personally presented a copy of the issue to each of the nineteen members of a delegation of British journalists on their way to attend the passion play at Oberammergau. [51]

In the latter part of the month the Berlin periodical Fridericus and Der Deutsche, organ of the German Labor Front, also put forward the blood libel accusation. Fridericus warned that "[t]hrough the Jews, peoples and their culture die" and predicted that there no longer would be any more room for Jews in Germany. How the Jews' removal was to be accomplished, by expulsion or by extermination, it did not say. [52]

Anti-Nazi Protest in the United States During the Early Months of the Third Reich

From the very beginning of Nazi rule in Germany, there was an outpouring of protest in the United States, largely initiated by Jews, but joined by some concerned non-Jews. The leaders of America's universities, however, remained largely silent. On March 19, 1933, 1,500 representatives of Jewish organizations met at New York City's Hotel Astor to plan nationwide protests against Nazi antisemitism. Bernard Deutsch, president of the AJCongress, stated that his organization's offices were "being flooded with messages from all over the country demanding protest action." The assembled representatives passed a resolution to stage mass protest meetings "in every Jewish community" in the United States. [53] Two days later, on March 21, the AJCongress announced that the mass meetings would be staged in at least eleven U.S. cities, including New York, Boston, Chicago, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Cleveland, Miami, and Pittsburgh. [54]

The three orthodox rabbinical associations in New York City announced that these meetings would be marked by a day of fasting to protest the Nazi persecution of Jews. They issued a proclamation in Hebrew calling on rabbis in New York City to devote their upcoming Sabbath sermons to the plight of Germany's Jews, and to urge their congregations to participate in the mass protest rally at Madison Square Garden. [55]

On March 23, several days before the nationwide protests, the Jewish War Veterans of the United States (JWV) staged a disciplined anti-Nazi protest march in New York City, in which 4,000 participated. Mayor John P. O'Brien reviewed the march and received its demands for a boycott of German goods and for the U.S. government to issue a diplomatic protest against Nazi antisemitism to Germany. Mayor O'Brien expressed his solidarity with the march, declaring that Nazi Germany was "bound to meet the moral opposition of the entire world." [56]

Three days later in Boston, 8,000 Jews turned out for a mass rally at Temple Mishkan Tefila in the heavily Jewish district of Roxbury, "resolved to stand shoulder to shoulder with their persecuted brethren in Germany." To accommodate all those wishing to participate, it was necessary to hold two overflow meetings, at the Temple's school and at a nearby synagogue. [57]

FIGURE 1.1. Every available seat in New York City's Madison Square Garden is filled at a mass rally against antisemitism in Nazi Germany, March 27, 1933. Courtesy of AP Images.

So many people turned out to protest against Nazi antisemitism in the nationwide protests of March 27 that the streets surrounding the auditoriums were jammed with huge throngs of people unable to gain entry, who listened to the speeches over amplifiers. The Christian Science Monitor estimated that I million Jews joined in the protest. In New York City, 35,000 people, standing shoulder to shoulder, filled the blocks around Madison Square Garden, where former New York governor Al Smith, Senator Robert Wagner, and Rabbi Stephen S. Wise delivered speeches denouncing Nazi persecution of Jews to a packed house. It was the largest protest meeting in the city's history until that time. Chicago's huge Auditorium Theater was similarly filled to capacity, with thousands more gathered outside. [58]

Numerous well-attended protest gatherings held throughout New Jersey and on Long Island, New York, to coincide with Madison Square Garden's revealed significant grassroots determination to combat Nazism outside the larger cities. Such meetings were held in Newark, Jersey City, Hackensack, Trenton, and Atlantic City in New Jersey, and in Mineola, Port Chester, and Nassau County on Long Island. The New Jersey state legislature unanimously passed a resolution denouncing the persecution of Jews in Germany. [59]

FIGURE 1.2. Mass demonstration against Nazi antisemitism in the heavily Jewish neighborhood of Brownsville in Brooklyn, New York, Stone and Pitkin Avenues, March 27, 1933. Courtesy of AP Images.

The next day the New York Evening Post reported that, in the wake of the nationwide mass rallies against Nazi antisemitism, there was a definite movement among many New York City merchants and consumers toward a boycott of German goods and services, which the JWY had already proposed. AJCongress president Bernard Deutsch stated that because of the last reports from Germany of anti-Jewish persecution, a boycott was "almost unavoidable." [60] An anti-Nazi meeting attended by 3,000 Jews in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, revealed considerable grassroots support for the boycott in the Jewish community. The meeting, in the name of 100,000 Jewish residents of Williamsburg, adopted a resolution strongly endorsing a boycott to protest Nazi atrocities against Jews in Germany. Those present pledged themselves to persuade their friends to join the boycott. The meeting voted to send copies of the resolution to President Roosevelt, New York's senators Robert Wagner and Royal Copeland, and the American embassy in Berlin. The New York Times on March 30 reported that famed Yiddish theater actor Ludwig Satz had announced he would not travel on any German ship so long as Germany persecuted the Jews. [61]

At a mass protest rally in Baltimore on March 30, three U.S. senators forcefully denounced the Hitler regime's antisemitic policies. Senator William H. King of Utah urged the U.S. government to sever diplomatic relations with Germany if Nazi persecution of the Jews continued. Senator Millard Tydings of Maryland strongly encouraged further mass anti-Nazi protest, informing the crowd that previous demonstrations and rallies had made the German government aware that "a wave of indignation" against its antisemitic policies was sweeping across the United States. Maryland's other senator, Phillips Lee Goldsborough, delivered an "impassioned speech" in which he predicted that Jews would still be living in Germany in a thousand years, long after Hitler was gone, implying that the Nazi objective was their expulsion or annihilation.  [62]

College and university presidents and administrators did not convene protest meetings against Nazi antisemitism on the campuses, nor did they urge their students and faculty members to attend the nationwide mass rallies held on March 27, 1933. With very few exceptions, they did not encourage them to attend subsequent protests, or to speak at them, at least until after the Kristallnacht in November 1938. To be sure, there were students and professors at some universities sufficiently concerned about the plight of Germany's Jews to organize protests or forums about it on campus, but these rarely attracted significant participation or press coverage.

President James Rowland Angell of Yale University refused the request of Rabbi Edgar E. Siskin to speak on March 27, 1933, at a community-wide mass meeting in New Haven called to voice "dismay and indignation at the anti-Semitic excesses now being carried out in Germany." President Angell told Rabbi Siskin: "I greatly fear the unfavorable effect of public demonstrations." Rabbi Siskin was deeply disappointed that President Angell declined his invitation and told him, "Your presence with us would have added greatly to the effect of our protest locally." [63]

At the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), a meeting held on March 30, 1933, to protest "the violation of rights of German Jews by the Hitler government" failed to achieve its objective when President Karl Compton personally intervened. The MIT chapters of the Menorah Society (a Jewish students' organization), the Liberal Club, the radical ational Student League ( SL), and the Socialist Club sponsored the meeting. These groups had obtained about thirty student and faculty signatures on a petition that condemned the Nazis' "unprincipled terrorism on unarmed and defenseless" political opponents and Jews. It was the intention of these groups in convening the campus meeting to gain endorsement for sending the petition, in the form of a telegram, to Adolf Hitler. The meeting was attended by about 100 MIT students and faculty members.

When the petition was put forward for discussion, President Compton, "an unexpected visitor at the meeting," was the first to object to sending it. He argued that the petition represented the views of only "a meager number" of MIT students and faculty.

President Compton was supported by MIT mathematics professor orbert Wiener, who, "while decrying [Nazi] violence," declared that public protest against Nazi persecution "would exert no influence." When Elihu Stone, attorney and president of the New England Zionist Region, "pleaded the Jewish cause," MIT mechanical engineering professor Wilhelm Spannhake "sprang indignantly to Hitler's defense." His son, MIT senior Ernst Spannhake, declared that the Nazis had committed no atrocities and justified the April I boycott of Jewish businesses in Germany. The meeting accepted President Compton's argument that the telegram should not be sent to Hitler because it "might easily be misconstrued" as expressing the position of the MIT student body and therefore "misused," and they voted overwhelmingly not to do so, by a margin of eighty-four to twelve. [64]

A very different mood prevailed at a meeting in early April attended by 7,000 people at Boston's Faneuil Hall, at which Jewish leaders and sympathetic non-Jews, including Mayor James Michael Curley and reformer Alice Stone Blackwell, excoriated Nazi persecution of Jews. This meeting adopted resolutions expressing to the U.S. State Department "profound concern" and indignation over official discrimination against Jews in Germany, "the removal of Jewish judges from the bench, exclusion of Jewish lawyers and physicians from the bar and hospitals, the closing of universities to Jewish professors and students," and the April 1 boycott of Jewish businesses. The Boston Herald reported that "the great gathering" had "with a tremendous display of emotion ... jeered the name of Hitler each time it was mentioned." Alice Stone Blackwell declared that for the Hitler regime "to deprive the Jews of Germany of the right to a livelihood" was an atrocity. Mayor Curley praised American Jews for their patriotism and their tremendous contributions to the United States. He noted that George Washington had held the Jews in high esteem, and that the completion of Boston's Bunker Hill monument had been made possible by a Jewish philanthropist. Among the speakers was President Daniel Marsh of Boston University, one of the very few university presidents or administrators to speak publicly against Nazism at protest rallies or forums. [65]

A few days later, Jewish college organizations in the Boston area held an anti-Nazi protest rally at Boston University's School of Education. They enlisted as speakers Jewish leaders and rabbis and a few liberal professors and journalists, but no college or university administrators. [66] Professor Thomas Chalmers of Boston University's History Department, in an address to students the previous day, took strong issue with anti-Nazi protest, urging instead a "hands off" policy toward Hitler. He argued that Germany must be allowed to solve its own problems, and that American intervention could "do no good." [67]

On April 15, representatives of Jewish organizations assembled at the Hotel Pennsylvania in New York City to formulate a program of "rigorous resistance" to the Hitler government's antisemitic policies. The call for the conference, issued by the AJCongress, stated that immediate action was needed to combat the "dry pogrom" that the Nazis were carrying out "with shocking vigor." The Nazis were driving from their positions "Jewish lawyers, physicians, teachers, nurses ... students, and even Jewish school children." Germany's Jews were "being cut off from every source and avenue of economic activity." [68]

The next day delegates affiliated with the Hebrew Sheltering and Immigrant Aid Society met in New York City to plan a campaign to raise funds to make it possible for Jewish refugees to leave Germany and to assist them in other ways. The New York Evening Post noted that the Society's branches in Chicago, Philadelphia, Boston, Baltimore, and San Francisco were initiating similar fund-raising campaigns for the Jewish refugees from Germany. [69]
Site Admin
Posts: 33729
Joined: Thu Aug 01, 2013 5:21 am

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

Postby admin » Thu Jul 26, 2018 2:55 am

Part 2 of 2

The Nazis' announcement that they would conduct public burnings of Jewish and other "un-German" books at universities across Germany on the night of May 10, 1933 (discussed in Chapter 3), led American Jewish organizations to schedule mass street demonstrations against Nazism in major American cities on that date. Surprisingly, university presidents and administrators did not organize any campus protests against the Nazi book burnings, a blatant display of anti-intellectualism and antisemitism. Nor did they publicly express support for the mass protest marches.

On May 14, the boycott movement againstNazi Germany, in which the JWV and many Jews at the grass roots were already engaged, received a significant boost when the newly founded American League for the Defense of Jewish Rights (ALDJR) held a conference to promote it at the Hotel Astor in New York City. The ALDJR's Samuel Untermyer, a very wealthy New York attorney and the most prominent Jewish boycott leader, had given a highly publicized address on May 7, entitled "Germany's Medieval Challenge to World Jewry and Civilization," asking Americans not to purchase goods manufactured in Germany, and not to sail in German ships or to visit Germany. The ALDJR proceeded to form district councils to organize the boycott at the neighborhood level throughout New York City. The persons participating invested considerable effort in investigating stores to determine whether they were selling German goods, and in identifying sources where substitute products could be obtained. The day after the Hotel Astor conference, the New York Times reported that the boycott call had assumed nationwide proportions, as the ALDJR was being "swamped with telegrams pledging support of the movement." [70]

Because it wanted to emphasize that it had a significant non-Jewish membership, the ALDJR changed its name later in the year to the on- Sectarian Anti-Nazi League to Champion Human Rights (NSANL), with Untermyer as president. It vigorously championed the boycott during the next several years, urging all Americans to "REMEMBER That every cent you spend on German steamers and in Germany is aiding Germany's war preparations and the spread of Nazism the world over." [71]

In New York City and its environs particularly, the boycott movement's impact was significant. By the end of March 1934, many of the nation's leading department stores, a majority of them Jewish-owned, had stopped importing German goods, including Macy's, Gimbel's, Saks, Bloomingdale's, Hearn, Best, Constable, Lord & Taylor, and Sears, Roebuck. That month the New York store of Wanamaker's, which was not Jewish owned, notified the SA L that it had not imported any German goods since November 1933 and maintained no offices in Germany. In April 1934, Kresge's department store in Newark, New Jersey, announced that it had terminated purchases from Germany when the Nazis assumed power. In July 1934, Bamberger's department store in Newark issued a statement proclaiming that "[t]he consumer boycott of German merchandise has been so effective that the store has not purchased a dollar's worth of German goods in many months. The old and broken stocks of German goods are probably as small as in any department store in the metropolitan area." [72]

From the beginning, the NSANL appealed to universities and to their students, urging them to participate in the boycott. In 1933, the NSANL sent out a circular letter to students asking them to notify it if their university was selling goods manufactured in Nazi Germany. The NSANL asked students to particularly check the source of goods in the following categories: stationery, pencils, art supplies, scientific and calculating instruments, chemicals and laboratory supplies, medical and dental supplies, musical supplies, sporting goods, and c1othing. [73]

University administrations showed no interest in the boycott against Nazi Germany but did provide Untermyer with an immediate specific opportunity to bring the boycott to wider public attention. Untermyer announced the day after the Hotel Astor conference that he and others were engaged in efforts to change the scheduled sailing of a group of nineteen Columbia University students, booked on a German ocean liner "in connection with their work in the university." The group included eight Jewish students, whom the university administration required to sail on the German ship with the rest of the party. Untermyer attempted to persuade the Columbia administration to transfer the students to an American liner. The New York Times reported that he had offered to pay the difference in cost himself for the entire group, to spare the Jewish students the indignity and humiliation of having to travel on a vessel flying the swastika flag and manned by a Nazi crew, as well as to deprive the Hitler government of much-needed foreign currency. [74]

University presidents themselves frequently traveled across the Atlantic on German liners flying the swastika flag, choosing to publicly violate the boycott. Newspapers such as the New York Times regularly published lists of prominent passengers making Atlantic Ocean voyages, on German and other ships. Those who traveled on Nazi Germany's vessels felt no shame about the public knowing what they were doing. President Nicholas Murray Butler, head of the Carnegie Foundation for International Peace, who attended numerous European conferences, often sailed on German vessels, as mentioned in Chapter 3. Harvard's newly inducted president James Bryant Conant traveled to Europe on Nazi Germany's North German Lloyd liner Europa in May 1933. When Robert Maynard Hutchins, president of the University of Chicago, sailed across the Atlantic on the Europa in August 1933, it "provoked much adverse comment." President Hutchins told Chicago attorney Leo F. Wormser upon his return to the United States that "the propriety or impropriety of the selection of a German ship under existing conditions had not occurred to him." [75] He continued to sail on the Europa, however, making trans-Atlantic trips on the German liner in July 1934 and in August 1937. [76]

College students regularly crossed the Atlantic on German vessels, most notably on their way to study at German universities, often as participants in Junior Year Abroad programs, as described in Chapter 4. Nazi Germany's North German Lloyd and Hamburg-American lines often placed advertisements in college newspapers. In May 1935, the Harvard Crimson reported that the Harvard student band, the Serenaders, was booked to perform on the Hamburg-American vessel S.S. Albert Ballin from June 27 through the end of the summer. Bands from six other American colleges signed agreements with the Hamburg-American line to play on its ships that summer. [77] In March 1936, the University of Chicago Daily Maroon ran an advertisement for Hamburg-American and North German Lloyd voyages to Europe on the Bremen, Europa, and St. Louis that proclaimed: "Your brothers and sisters are already booked, many with their cars, on the special student sailings - college orchestras aboard." The advertisement specifically appealed to students interested in taking summer courses at German universities, enrolling in Junior Year Abroad programs or pursuing graduate studies "at leading lGerman] universities," vacationing in the Third Reich, or attending that summer's Olympic games in Berlin. [78]

On May 10, 1933, massive numbers of people in New York City, Chicago, Philadelphia, Cleveland, Pittsburgh, and other cities answered the call of the AJCongress to join a second wave of nationally coordinated street demonstrations against Nazi persecution of Jews in Germany. In ew York, 100,000 marched for six hours, as thousands more lined the streets to show their support. In the history of the city until that time, the demonstration was equaled in size only by the victory parades that followed the Armistice. Mayor O'Brien reviewed the parade from the steps of City Hall. Jewish stores, offices, and other businesses shut down early in the afternoon to permit their employees to participate. The marchers included uniformed veterans of the World War, members of Zionist organizations, students at high schools, colleges, and Jewish religious institutions, "a labor contingent of many thousands, scores of rabbis in long black robes, bearded denizens of the East Side, dapper young men and women, professional men, and representatives of the literary, artistic, and theatrical worlds." Many carried placards that read "Hitler - This is Not the Period of the Dark Ages," and "Hitler - Remember What Happened to Spain." The undertakers' union marched with a sign that said "We Want Hitler." A large group of city officials and judges, led by the Manhattan borough president, also joined the procession. Major general John F. O'Ryan declared that he had accepted the AJCongress's invitation to lead the parade because "of the conviction that non-Jewish Americans owe it to our Jewish citizenry ... to indicate where we stand in relation to the insult by the Hitler Government to their race and before the world." There was no mention in the press of any college or university president or administrator participating. [79]

FIGURE 1.3. Anti-Nazi protesters march through New York City's Washington Square Park on their way to a mass rally in Battery Park against antisemitism in Germany, May 10, 1933. Courtesy of AP Images.

The demonstrations in other cities were equally enthusiastic and socially diverse. In Chicago, 25,000 marched to protest not onlyNazi antisemitism and the burning of books but Hitler's sending of an emissary to Chicago's Century of Progress exposition. The Chicago Tribune reported that "children and gray-bearded men with skullcaps marched side by side ... [and] all professions were represented." In Philadelphia, "patriarchal Jews with long, flowing beards, smooth-shaven shopkeepers and business men and hundreds of earnest housewives" marched together against Nazism. [80]

In early June 1933, the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), established in 1913 to combat antisemitism, began a sweeping investigation of "Nazi activities in American universities." Alarmed by numerous reports that exchange students from Nazi Germany were "making addresses justifying the anti-semitic methods of Hitler" on American campuses, the ADL sent a circular letter to its supporters in academia asking them to document such activity. It also requested information about efforts by German exchange students to organize pro-Nazi student groups at American colleges and universities. The ADL emphasized that the German exchange students were engaged in "extremely destructive" political activities on the American campus. Fearing that Nazi propaganda was already seriously impacting the campus, the ADL asked its contacts to transmit the information they gathered by airmail, so that it could immediately respond to it. [81]

That same month, Arturo Toscanini, conductor of the New York Philharmonic Orchestra, canceled his contract to direct the program of Wagnerian music at the annual Bayreuth festival in Bavaria to protest the Hitler government's antisemitic policies and, specifically, its persecution of Jewish musicians. Toscanini, an Italian, had been the only non-German ever asked to conduct at Bayreuth. The New York Times reported that the Hitler regime was worried about the impact on its image abroad of the refusal of one of the world's preeminent symphony conductors to perform at its most important music festival. [82]

The American Jewish press highlighted Toscanini's bold defiance of the Nazis, contrasting it with American universities' academic exchanges with the Third Reich, which they carried on until nearly the onset of World War II. Arthur Bodansky, former director of the Metropolitan Opera, had asked Toscanini shortly after the April 1, 1933, Nazi boycott of Jewish stores to join eleven other musicians in a cable of protest to Chancellor Hitler against Nazi antisemitism. The American Hebrew reported that "Toscanini not only gave his instant assent, but put his own name at the head of the list." Toscanini later refused to conduct at the Salzburg Festival in Austria because the performance would be broadcast into Germany. In 1936, he traveled to Palestine to conduct an orchestra of Jewish refugee musicians from Germany. [83]

On June 10, 1933, two of the most prominent members of the u.S. Senate, majority leader Joseph Robinson of Arkansas and Senator Robert Wagner of New York, forcefully condemned Nazi persecution of the Jews on the Senate floor. In a prepared speech, Robinson called Nazi antisemitism "sickening and terrifying" and warned that it would lead the United States to curtail its trade with Germany. He noted that the Nazis had barred Jews from nearly "every profession and vocation" in Germany, and from universities. Making the Jews' plight even more desperate were the Hitler regime's decrees prohibiting them from leaving the Reich. Senator Wagner declared that he was horrified by the reports of "intolerance, discrimination, and ... violence" against Jews in Germany. Four other senators rose to express support for Senator Robinson's remarks. [84]

America's higher education leaders' lack of insight into, or indifference to, Nazism's core tenets and objectives was strikingly revealed in early July 1933 in their first joint public protest about events in Germany, when many of them signed a deeply flawed statement circulated by the National Conference of Christians and Jews (NCCJ). The document, composed by a group of prominent social scientists, received the backing of 142 presidents of American colleges and universities, the vast majority of them minor institutions. Addressed to the heads of German universities, it asked them to recognize and respect the rights of Jews and all minorities "as essential to culture and civilization." But the document was undermined by its trivialization of the Nazis' antisemitic campaign.

Everett R. Clinchy, director of the NCCJ, who solicited signatures on the document from college and university presidents, identified it as a statement about "the hostility between Christian and Jewish groups in Germany" and emphasized that it was "in no sense a 'protest.'" Astonishingly, he declared that "the time for protest is past." The document did not provide any sense of the savagery of the Nazis' antisemitic violence or the extent of the damage they had already inflicted on Germany's Jews, and it was vague about who was responsible for the turmoil in Germany. It began by explaining that the signers were "fully aware that the recent happenings" in the Third Reich, which were not specified, were "in large part the result of the lack of fair play to Germany" on the part of the Western democracies, and their "slighting of German rights and needs." Refusing to characterize Nazi persecution as unique, or even highly unusual, the document emphasized "that minorities are suppressed and discriminated against to some degree in every land." The most prominent college and university presidents signing the document were James Rowland Angell of Yale, Ernest M. Hopkins of Dartmouth, Clarence A. Barbour of Brown, Ray Lyman Wilbur of Stanford, Robert G. Sproul of California, Frank P. Graham of North Carolina, Mary E. Woolley of Mount Holyoke, Henry N. MacCracken of Vassar, Ellen F. Pendleton of Wellesley, and Frank Aydelotte of Swarthmore. [85]

Opening at Chicago's Century of Progress exposition on July 2, 1933, the "mighty pageant" titled The Romance of a People rivaled the mass demonstrations of March and Mayas a spectacular display of grassroots opposition to Nazism. With a cast of 6,200 actors, singers, and dancers, the largest ever assembled in the United States, The Romance of a People depicted forty centuries of Jewish history, largely in pantomime. The pageant, performed in Chicago's enormous Soldiers Field stadium, included scenes about the Jews' enslavement in Egypt and their liberation under Moses, their exile in Babylon, and the Roman wars against Judaea. When Titus's legions attacked Jerusalem, "Judah's sons fight like lions; they die, but do not surrender." Then "2,000 years of wandering and exile are thrown upon the stage in a tapestry of motion," until Jews were once again able "to turn thoughts" to restoring their "ancient civilization in Palestine." The pageant was designed to stimulate an intense pride in Jewishness, and to instill respect for the Jews' vitally important contributions to world civilization and empathy for their centuries-long suffering. Proceeds from the pageant were earmarked for the settlement of German Jewish refugees in Palestine. [86]

More than 125,000 people were seated at the opening performance, a larger turnout than the Dempsey-Tunney heavyweight title fight in Chicago had attracted to Soldiers Field in 1927, one of the most heavily attended sports events in history. Because the stadium was filled to capacity and had to turn away thousands of people, a second performance was held a few days later, which attracted 55,000 more. The New York Times noted that the two-day attendance was enough "to give any Broadway [play] performance a lengthy run." [87]

In September, The Romance of a People opened in New York City, with Samuel Untermyer and New York governor Herbert Lehman as honorary chairs of the sponsoring committee and Senator Robert Wagner as honorary vice-chair. The New York Times strongly endorsed the pageant, editorializing that "[g]iven Hitler's efforts to stigmatize a great people as an aggregation of pariahs and public enemies, perhaps the best thing is to let the historic record speak for itself." Originally scheduled for the Polo Grounds, the production was shifted after several days of rain indoors to the nation's largest armory, in the Bronx. A series of about a dozen performances there attracted 400,000 people, including former governor Al Smith and his wife and Albert Einstein, who attended in October, the night after his ship arrived in the United States, as the personal guest of Mayor O'Brien. [88]

In February 1934, The Romance of a People moved to Philadelphia, where the Philadelphia Public Ledger called it "unquestionably ... the greatest spectacle ever presented" there. On opening night, Mayor Moore of Philadelphia declared to the audience at the Convention Hall before the performance that he was greatly pleased to be present to lend official recognition to the pageant. The Public Ledger reported that a packed house that included Albert Einstein sat "enthralled" for two hours by "the splendor and beauty of the pageant." When the "swelling rhythm of traditional Hebrew music filled the auditorium," many in the audience wept "openly and unashamed." The Public Ledger stated that "[t]hroughout the prologue and the seven breath-taking episodes ran the single, unifying thread of Jewish courage and aspiration, which has been the dominant trait of the race for the forty centuries of its existence." [89] About 70,000 people attended the eleven Philadelphia performances of The Romance of a People. [90]

In September 1934, The Romance of a People was revived at New York City's Roxy Theatre in abridged form, with a reduced cast. Sponsors of the new version included both of New York's U.S. senators, Mayor La Guardia, and former governor Smith. [91]

Although The Romance of a People drew very large audiences in three of the nation's leading metropolises, none of America's higher education leaders were mentioned in the press as sponsors of the pageant, as speaking favorably about it, or even as having been in attendance. Nor is there any evidence that university presidents or administrators made any effort to promote it on their campuses.

On July 21, 1933, the New York Times directed attention to the international dimension of Jewish grassroots protest against the Hitler regime when it reported that 20,000 Jews had staged a massive parade and rally in London against Nazi antisemitism. The Times called it the largest demonstration in the history of British Jewry. Most of the participants came from the East End Jewish quarter, which was deserted for the "day of mourning." Shops were shut down everywhere in the district and no business was conducted. In the famous Petticoat Lane pushcart section, guards were posted to ensure that outsiders did not attempt to operate there. The Times noted that the East End shopkeepers had been "carrying on an effective boycott of German goods for many weeks." Upon reaching Hyde Park, the marchers joined an immense crowd that had gathered to receive them, and resolutions calling for a "boycott of everything German" were "carried with roars of acclamation." The London Times stated that "a substantial part of the Jewish population of London" participated in the demonstration. [92]

Former suffragist leader Carrie Chapman Catt's announcement in August 1933 that 9,000 women across the United States had signed a petition to the League of Nations against Nazi antisemitism, and the refusal of permission for the display of the swastika flag in Chicago and San Francisco, provided further evidence of the breadth and intensity of protest in the United States against Germany's oppression of the Jews. Catt's petition stated that "the German pogrom against the Jews" was the most shocking event since the Great War. It denounced the Nazis' removal of Jews from university faculties, the bench and bar, medical practice, and many other occupations. [93] In Chicago that month, threats by Jewish women's organizations to boycott the Women's Day celebration at the Century of Progress Exposition resulted in assurances that the swastika flag would not be flown at the German-American building.  [94] San Francisco's acting mayor, J. Emmet Hayden, would not allow the flying of the swastika flag at that city's German Day celebration in September 1933. As a result, the United German Societies, the sponsoring organization, which had planned to display it as a mark of respect for the German consul-general, the main speaker, had to celebrate German Day privately, without city sponsorship. In denying permission, Hayden noted that San Francisco's Board of City Supervisors had adopted a resolution denouncing Nazi policy toward Jews. [95]

At its annual convention in October 1933, the American Federation of Labor (AFL) announced it was joining the boycott of German goods and services, including shipping lines. AFL president William Green's "impassioned speech" against the Nazis' destruction of the German labor movement and persecution of Jews "brought the delegates to their feet in a spontaneous outburst of approval." Green declared that the AFL was determined to use the boycott "to strike a real blow" against Nazism. Selma M. Borchardt of the American Federation of Teachers, recently returned from a trip to Germany, told the delegates that she had seen a fifteen-year-old girl in Berlin forced to wear a placard stating "my father has sinned" because he, a Christian, had married a Jew, her mother. Senator James J. Davis of Pennsylvania, formerly U.S. Secretary of Labor, called Nazi Germany "an insult to civilization." [96]

Two months later, the boycott received strong endorsement from important professional associations representing physicians, dentists, and pharmacists at a meeting arranged by the Allied Dental Council in New York City. Its representatives, along with those of twenty-two other organizations representing those engaged in these occupations, whose combined membership totaled 15,000, declared their determination to combat Nazi intolerance with the boycott. [97]

The fiercest and most dramatic confrontation over Nazism in the United States during the first year of Hitler's rule occurred in Boston on November 26, 1933, as thousands protested the appearance at the Ford Hall Forum of one of Hitler's leading propagandists, Dr. Friedrich Schoenemann. The Forum had invited Schoenemann to speak on "Why I Believe in the Hitler Government." Professor of American literature at the University of Berlin, Schoenemann had been a German instructor at Harvard from 1913 to 1920. The Nazis considered him one of their top authorities on American affairs and culture. During the fall of 1933, Hitler sent Schoenemann on a speaking tour of the United States to promote the Nazi cause. [98]

Invited to deliver an address at Drew University in Madison, New Jersey, in late October 1933 by its treasurer, Noel Bensinger, Professor Schoenemann praised Hitler for achieving for Germany "a new dignity" and "a sense of social justice that it hard] lacked since the World War." Schoenemann told the campus audience that when he visited a German concentration camp, he found 1,800 men "living in cleanliness and order, almost as though they were in college." [99]

Boston's Ford Hall Forum, a public lecture hall, proved a far less inviting environment for Schoenemann than the campus. Frank W. Buxton, editor of the Boston Herald, one of the Hub's leading newspapers, had informed U.S. ambassador William E. Dodd in Berlin in July 1933 of an "anti-Hitler rage" in Boston. He noted that Boston's Jewish population "reads every word that comes from Berlin." Buxton was horrified by Nazism, which he believed denied "the fundamental truths of civilization." He considered Hitler's tactics "far more cruel than those of the Middle Ages." Hitler's objective was to make the Jews "a degraded race, condemned from birth to obscurity, inferiority, and contumely." Buxton told Dodd that an effective "quiet boycott" against German goods prevailed in Boston. [100]

Schoenemann's presentation at the Ford Hall Forum on Beacon Hill resulted in the most disorderly meeting in its twenty-five-year history, as those in attendance repeatedly challenged his statements from the floor, and thousands of anti-Nazi protestors clashed with the police outside. The Boston press emphasized the intensity of the anti-Nazi sentiment both inside and outside the hall. The Boston Globe considered the confrontations, which turned Beacon Hill "into an embattled area," the most violent to have occurred since the Sacco-Vanzetti case. The Boston Post stated that the demonstrations surpassed "the wildest of Boston's May Day riots." [101]

The highly engaged audience made clear it detested everything Schoenemann said and stood for from the moment Nazi Germany's consul-general in Boston, Baron Kurt von Tippelskirch, introduced him. It responded to Schoenemann's opening remark, that he was not at the Forum to dispense propaganda, "with laughter, hisses, and shouts of 'liar.'" More hisses and boos greeted his claim that the Nazi revolution was "among the most unbloody in history," and someone shouted, "Let's have some facts." Schoenemann's statement that he had noticed nothing "dirty, abnormal, or mean" during visits to concentration camps was greeted with derisive laughter. When he declared that the 1918 revolution in Germany was "started by a Jew named [Karl] Liebknecht," there were "a dozen cries of 'He was not a Jew. You're a liar.'" After Schoenemann claimed that the Nazis did not believe in confiscation, "'What about Einstein?' came from a dozen throats." A tremendous uproar broke out when Schoenemann asserted that the "genesis of the Jewish question" was Jewish involvement in corruption. The Boston Post reported that "liar" was the least of the epithets shouted at the speaker. Schoenemann concluded his speech "amid hisses and catcalls." [102]

As Schoenemann spoke, squads of police, many of them mounted, battled a crowd of demonstrators estimated at between 3,000 and 5,000 in the shadow of the State House. The police finally managed to drive the protestors, many of whom carried banners proclaiming "Down With Hitler" and "Down With the Nazi Butcher," down the steep slopes of Beacon Hill, chasing them a half-mile through the streets and "smashing heads right and left." The demonstrators, "fighting every inch of the way," pulled some policemen off their horses and pummeled them. Police reinforcements finally "lifted the siege of Beacon Hill." [103]

Prominent American opponents of Nazism formed the American Inquiry Commission to expand awareness of the Nazi terror by providing a platform for refugees from the Third Reich and others qualified to provide information about it by means of well-publicized hearings. On July 2 and 3, 1934, the Commission, chaired by Clarence Darrow and composed of seven notable Americans, including civil liberties attorney Arthur Garfield Hays and u.s. senator Edward P. Costigan of Colorado, heard testimony from nearly thirty individuals. Dr. Kurt Rosenfeld, former Prussian Minister of Justice and a Social Democrat, told the Commission that 165,000 persons were currently confined in Nazi concentration camps. He stated that the People's Courts, newly established to try political opponents of the regime and composed entirely of Nazis, offered the innocent "absolutely no chance of defense or acquittal." Rosenfeld told the Commission that the Nazis would take anyone into custody "if they don't like the shape of his nose ... and keep him indefinitely." Martin Plettl, formerly president of the German Federation of Clothing Workers, who had been a concentration camp inmate, described how the Nazis had destroyed Germany's trade unions. During a visit to New York City's mayor Fiorello La Guardia while the Commission was in recess, Clarence Darrow described Hitler as "very dangerous" and expressed the hope that he would be killed. [104]

Refugee Scholars: The Limits of University Assistance

In the spring of 1933, Americans alarmed by Nazi persecution of Germany's Jews created programs to find academic positions in the United States for professors whom German universities had discharged because they were Jews or political opponents of the Nazis. Their efforts were impeded by a longstanding tradition in American colleges and universities of excluding Jews from their faculties and by administrators' unwillingness to appoint refugees to anything but very short-term positions. American institutions of higher learning employed few Jews as professors through the 1930s.'05 Universities were also reluctant to recruit refugee scholars because of budgetary reductions during the Depression and concern about the impact of competition on the career prospects of younger American faculty members.

Some wealthy Jews privately communicated to university presidents their fear that granting faculty positions to Jewish refugees from Nazi Germany would provoke an antisemitic backlash in this country. When President Robert Maynard Hutchins of the University of Chicago approached Jewish philanthropist Albert D. Lasker about providing financial support for hiring refugee scholars, Lasker told him that "he was entirely opposed to bringing any Jewish professors to America" because "it might lead to a development of anti-Semitism." Hutchins noted that Lasker was "regarded as the key man" in Chicago for raising funds for Jewish victims of the Nazis and doubted he would be able to "unlock much money without him." [106]

The most significant achievement on behalf of refugee scholars from Nazi Germany was the opening of the University in Exile at the New School for Social Research in New York City in October 1933. In May 1933, Dr. Alvin Johnson announced plans to establish a university in exile that would employ a faculty of about fifteen "Jewish and liberal professors" in the social sciences whom the Nazis had forced out of German universities. They were to offer graduate courses only, in English. Established in 1919, the New School for Social Research in 1933 was a small adult education institution with only four or five full-time faculty members. Before Johnson announced the formation of the University in Exile, a Jewish businessman, Hiram Halle, had pledged to completely fund it. [107]

Alvin Johnson had decided to establish the University in Exile after encountering resistance from university administrators and department heads when he sounded them out about hiring Jewish refugee scholars. He had initially believed that "the appropriate thing to do was to induce every university faculty to extend its hospitality to one or more of the professors who have been dismissed [by German universities]." However, American academics' response to this proposal, which he had voiced in an article published in the American Scholar, suggested to him that advocating such a course would only provoke antisemitism inside the universities. As a result, he had decided to focus instead on placing refugee scholars in one small institution, his University in Exile, and to concentrate only on the social sciences. Because there was significant opposition to hiring refugee scholars, particularly Jews, both inside and outside of academia, Johnson was well aware that the University in Exile would only develop "inch by inch, painfully." [108]

Having secured the services of fourteen refugee scholars from Nazi Germany by August, Johnson described the University in Exile as "a most vigorous protest against the restrictions placed on scholarship by the Hitler government." The refugees were offered two-year appointments only, with the possibility that they might be extended. At the same time, Johnson emphasized that the University in Exile was designed "purely as a center of scholarship, instruction, and research." It would combat Nazism by providing an opportunity for talented scholars, mostly Jews, driven from their lecture halls and homes to conduct research and teach graduate seminars. [109] The University in Exile opened officially in October 1933 as the Graduate Faculty of Political and Social Science. Student enrollment was 92 for the fall semester of 1933 and increased to 520 by the fall of 1940. [110]

Perhaps to alleviate the concerns of business and higher education leaders unwilling to associate themselves with a project identified with Jewish rescue, Johnson informed the press that the University in Exile considered only scholarship, not "race," in selecting faculty. He emphasized that "[t]he University in Exile is not a charitable venture." The mostly Jewish faculty was hired strictly on the basis of merit. [111]

The faculty's largely Jewish composition, as well as the New School's marginality in American academia, provided refugee scholars with a far more supportive environment than could be found at any American university. As Dan A. Oren noted in a study of American university antisemitism: "Only on the graduate faculty of ... [the] New School for Social Research, founded in 1933 as the University in Exile, were refugee scholars truly welcome." [112]

Some university presidents appeared willing to endorse Johnson's plan for the University in Exile, at least privately, as an alternative to having a larger number of refugee scholars distributed among many American universities. President Isaiah Bowman of Johns Hopkins University, for example, while expressing support for the project, warned fellow academicians not "to bob up and down on waves of emotion." He urged them not to "load our university budget with burdens that are assumed because of sympathy." Moreover, he believed that universities' hiring of refugee professors undermined "the just claims of younger [American] men" to faculty positions, and their opportunities for promotion. Because American universities were experiencing financial distress, President Bowman recommended that those attempting to assist refugee scholars from Nazi Germany proceed "slowly and experimentally and on a small scale." [113] Johnson later informed Bowman that President James B. Conant of Harvard University had said the same thing to him. Indeed, Johnson indicated to Bowman that he himself shared the same outlook. [114]

In May 1933, the same month that Alvin Johnson founded the University in Exile, Jewish donors provided funding to establish and support the Emergency Committee in Aid of Displaced German Scholars (EC) to place refugee professors from Nazi Germany on the faculties of American universities. The EC covered half the salary (up to $2,000) of the refugee scholars the universities themselves appointed, for positions lasting up to two years. The EC recruited several gentiles to serve on its executive board, to downplay the uniqueness of the Jewish plight in Germany and to attract non-Jewish support. In part to offset fears that competition from refugees would reduce the job prospects in academia for younger American academics, the EC did not grant funds for displaced German scholars under the age of thirty. Unlike Alvin Johnson, who publicized the University in Exile in the press, the EC avoided newspaper coverage for fear of provoking antisemitism. [115]

The EC also disassociated itself from political protests against Nazism, such as the boycott of German goods and services, out of concern that they would drive away potential donors. Although Johnson believed that Nazism was strongly entrenched in Germany and hoped to establish the University in Exile on a permanent basis, the EC assumed that what it viewed as "Nazi excesses" would last only for a short time. As a result it lacked the sense of urgency shared by many anti-Nazi activists. Indeed, after only two years of Nazi rule, it considered the "emergency" to be "largely over," although it continued to operate until World War II. It refused the American Jewish Congress's invitation to become a sponsoring organization of its Madison Square Garden anti-Nazi mass rally in March 1934. [116]

Antisemitism and financial constraints seriously limited university assistance to refugee scholars, whose appointments were usually for two years or less. In December 1934, University of Chicago trustee James M. Stifler noted that although his institution, because of its large graduate school, was in a better position to hire refugee scholars than most universities, it had made no permanent appointments. It listed all German refugee appointees as visiting professors or lecturers. Most were hired for two years, and sometimes for only one. These positions were funded largely by the EC and the Rockefeller Foundation, which in 1933 established a special fund to provide matching grants to American universities that appointed displaced German scholars to their faculties. Individual Chicago Jews also contributed. Stifler stated that, given the University of Chicago's limited financial resources, "we would be quite unable to do anything else, nor have we any hope of doing more in the future." [117] By January 1938, the University of Chicago had managed to hire only ten displaced German scholars, on appointments ranging from one year to "indefinite tenure." [118]

Neither Harvard nor Yale, America's most prominent universities, displayed much interest in hiring refugee scholars from Nazi Germany. President James Rowland Angell of Yale was only "superficially concerned with the plight of the German refugees" and "reluctant to commit scarce university funds to provide them employment." Yale relied largely on EC grants in hiring six German refugee scholars, several of whom were not Jewish. Only two of the appointments lasted more than three years. The Yale faculty's attitude was "one of indifference." [119] During the 1930s, most of the university's departments were unwilling "to tolerate Jews on even a temporary basis." [120]

Harvard did not respond when the EC in May 1933 invited fifteen of America's leading universities to hire a displaced German scholar and promised to pay half the salary ($2,000), with the Rockefeller Foundation providing the other half. That month, President A. Lawrence Lowell declined the Schurz Memorial Foundation's offer to cover the salary if Harvard employed a refugee scholar as a visiting curator at the University's Germanic Museum. Lowell responded that the proposal "appeared as an attempt to use the College for purposes of propaganda." If Harvard hired a refugee scholar, "it would be trumpeted all over the country by Jewish organizations." At its May 29, 1933, meeting, the Harvard Corporation (equivalent to the board of trustees) decided to take no action on the EC's offer, and did not reply to it. [121] When James G. McDonald in March 1934 asked to talk to the newly retired Lowell about displaced German scholars, his secretary replied that the former president "wasn't interested in German refugees." [122]

Lowell's successor as Harvard's president, James Bryant Conant, who assumed office in September 1933, and the Harvard Corporation, indicated that the university was not interested in cooperating with the EC in hiring refugee scholars on its faculty. In January 1934, the New York Times reported that Harvard "adheres to the stand taken last year by Dr. A. Lawrence Lowell when president, that the university would not make a place on its faculty for any man because he was an emigre, or as a protest to theNazi removal of educators from German universities." [123] The next month, President Conant informed EC secretary Edward R. Murrow that "[n]o appointments have ever been made at the University by means of funds supplied by the Emergency Committee." [124]


During the early months of Nazi rule in Germany, many Americans recognized that the Hitler regime represented an unprecedented relapse into barbarism. James Waterman Wise declared in 1933, in one of the first books to be published about Germany under Nazi rule, that the Third Reich was conducting "[a] bloodless war of extermination" against the Jews, "which gives no quarter and recognizes no non-combatants." He emphasized that "[f]or what it has done, there is neither example nor parallel in the antiquity of primal brutality, in the Middle Ages of religious persecution, or in the darkest days of Tsarist Russia." [125] In May 1933, Lord Melchett described Germany as a death trap for its entire Jewish population. The Nazis had expelled Jews from the professions and university faculties, shut down their businesses, and brutally beat them in the streets, in torture cellars, and in concentration camps. They delighted in inflicting the most degrading and humiliating forms of punishment on Jews, often in full public view. Respected American and British journalists, reporting directly from Germany or drawing on interviews from refugees from the Third Reich in neighboring countries, regularly provided detailed accounts of Nazi antisemitic atrocities, discrimination, and harassment.

As succeeding chapters demonstrate, the leaders of America's colleges and universities remained for the most part uninvolved as others in this country forcefully protested the Nazis' barbaric treatment of Jews. The Nazis' antisemitic terror in 1933 precipitated demonstrations and boycotts on an unprecedented scale, often initiated at the grassroots level. Several U.S. senators and big-city mayors joined in these protests, which the American press widely publicized. But although academicians were the Americans most conversant with European affairs, few engaged in public anti-Nazi protest. As many working and lower-middle-class Americans marched in the streets and struggled to organize a nationwide boycott of German goods and services, American universities maintained amicable relations with the Third Reich, sending their students to study at Nazified universities while welcoming Nazi exchange students to their own campuses. America's most distinguished university presidents willingly crossed the Atlantic in ships flying the swastika flag, openly defying the anti-Nazi boycott, to the benefit of the Third Reich's economy. By warmly receiving Nazi diplomats and propagandists on campus, they helped Nazi Germany present itself to the American public as a civilized nation, unfairly maligned in the press. Influenced by their administrators' example, and that of many of their professors, college and university students for the most part adopted a similar outlook, although there was significant student protest against Nazism at some schools, such as Columbia, which is analyzed in Chapter 3.

Chapter 2 considers the role of America's most prestigious institution of higher learning, Harvard University, in legitimating the Hitler regime. It focuses particularly on President James Bryant Conant; on the undergraduate newspaper, the Harvard Crimson, which reflected the outlook of the most influential segment of student opinion; and on alumni. Chapter 3 examines the role of this nation's most prominent university president, Columbia's Nicholas Murray Butler, in enhancing the image of the Third Reich, and on his highly vocal student opponents, some of whom edited the undergraduate newspaper, the Columbia Spectator. The Columbia Spectator's outlook toward Germany and antisemitism differed significantly from that of the Harvard Crimson. Chapter 4 focuses on the Seven Sisters, the elite women's colleges, which were centrally involved in promoting student exchanges with Nazi Germany. Chapter 5 examines this nation's most prestigious foreign policy symposia, sponsored by the University of Virginia's Institute of Public Affairs. During the 1930s, these symposia provided an important forum that permitted apologists for Nazi Germany's domestic and foreign policies to reach American audiences. Chapter 6 explores the role of university German departments in the 1930s as disseminators of Nazi propaganda in the United States, and in hosting campus visits by Nazi Germany's diplomats. Chapter 7 analyzes the role of Catholic colleges and universities in promoting appeasement of Nazi Germany and providing a platform for propagandists for Mussolini and Franco. Chapter 8 examines the limits of protest against Nazism within academia during 1938, a year that culminated in the Kristallnacht, when German barbarity finally instilled widespread alarm. The Epilogue explores the role of former Harvard president James Bryant Conant in encouraging the parole of Nazi war criminals during the 1950s, as U.S. high commissioner for Germany and as ambassador to West Germany. It also focuses on the effusive praise and respect prominent American higher education leaders accorded Mircea Eliade during his long postwar career as a professor at the University of Chicago, despite his role as propagandist for Romania's antisemitic Iron Guard, enthusiastic collaborators with the Nazis during the 1930s and the Holocaust.
Site Admin
Posts: 33729
Joined: Thu Aug 01, 2013 5:21 am

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

Postby admin » Sat Jul 28, 2018 6:45 am

Part 1 of 2

2. Legitimating Nazism: Harvard University and the Hitler Regime, 1933-1937

The Harvard University administration during the 1930s, led by President James Bryant Conant, ignored numerous opportunities to take a principled stand against the Hitler regime and its antisemitic outrages and contributed to Nazi Germany's efforts to improve its image in the West. Its lack of concern about Nazi antisemitism was shared by many influential Harvard alumni and student leaders. In warmly welcoming Nazi leaders to the Harvard campus; inviting them to prestigious, high-profile social events; and striving to build friendly relations with thoroughly Nazified universities in Germany, while denouncing those who protested against these actions, Harvard's administration and many of its student leaders offered important encouragement to the Hitler regime as it intensified its persecution of Jews and expanded its military strength.

The few scholars who previously addressed this subject devoted insufficient attention to antisemitism in the Harvard administration and student body and underestimated the university's complicity in the Nazis' persecution of the Jews. William M. Tuttle Jr., to be sure, criticizes Conant's unwillingness to help place German scholars exiled by the Nazis at Harvard, calling this "a failure of compassion." Morton and Phyllis Keller, in their recent history of Harvard, similarly describe its administration as slow to appoint refugees from Nazism to the faculty, particularly Jews. They describe Conant as "shar[ing] the mild antisemitism common to his social group and time" but then go on to state that an alleged commitment to meritocracy "made him more ready to accept able Jews as students and faculty." The Kellers acknowledge that under Conant Harvard restricted the number of Jewish students admitted and hired few Jewish professors, so the trend toward meritocracy was limited. Tuttle, while conceding that Conant publicly criticized the Hitler regime only for suppressing academic freedom and "ignor[ed] other and related Nazi crimes," nonetheless praises him as "one of the more outspoken anti-Nazis in the United States" from 1933 until World War II. This, however, was hardly the case. [1]

From 1933, when he assumed the presidency of America's oldest and most prestigious university, through 1937, Conant failed to speak out against Nazism on many occasions when it really mattered. He was publicly silent during the visit of the Nazi warship Karlsruhe to Boston in May 1934, some of whose crew Harvard entertained. He welcomed the highNazi official Ernst (Putzi) Hanfstaengl to the June 1934 Harvard commencement. In March 1935, the Harvard administration permitted Nazi Germany's consul general in Boston to place a wreath bearing the swastika emblem in the university chapel. Conant sent a delegate from Harvard to the University of Heidelberg's 550th anniversary pageant in June 1936, and he extended warm greetings to the Georg-August University in Goettingen on its 200th anniversary in June 1937. In providing a friendly welcome to Nazi leader Hanfstaengl, President Conant and others prominently affiliated with Harvard communicated to the Hitler government that boycotts intended to destroy Jewish businesses, the dismissal of Jews from the professions, and savage beatings of Jews were not their concern. Conant's biographer, James Hershberg, trivialized Hanfstaengl's 1934 visit to Harvard by calling it "farcical"; it was, in fact, highly dangerous. [2]

President Conant remained publicly indifferent to the persecution of Jews in Europe and failed to speak out against it until after Kristallnacht, in November 1938. He was determined to build friendly ties with the Universities of Heidelberg and Goettingen, even though they had expelled their Jewish faculty members and thoroughly Nazified their curricula, constructing a "scholarly" foundation for vulgar antisemitism, which was taught as "racial science." The anniversary ceremonies in which Harvard participated, by sending a representative or friendly greetings, were simply brown shirt pageants designed to glorify the Nazi regime. James Hershberg admits that Conant "dignified a crudely Nazified spectacle," but he ascribes his eagerness to do so to "fear of igniting controversy," rather than to insensitivity to Jewish suffering. [3] Harvard invited Nazi academics to its September 1936 tercentenary celebration, which it held on Rosh Hashonah. (Conant ignored numerous requests not to schedule it on a Jewish High Holiday.) During this period Harvard engaged in an academic student exchange program with Nazi universities, refusing to heed the call for a boycott. Conant also displayed impatience with, and often contempt for, Jewish and other activists determined to publicly expose Nazi barbarism.

To be sure, Conant did express formal opposition to Nazism and never assumed the role of public apologist for the Hitler regime, as did the chancellor of American University in Washington, D.C., Joseph Gray, who in August 1936 returned from Europe filled with praise for the "New Germany." Chancellor Gray declared that Hitler had restored hope to a troubled nation, preventing it from going the way of strife-torn Spain. "Everybody is working in Germany," he gushed, liberal education was available, and the cities were "amazingly clean," without beggars. But even Gray a year and a half later signed the petition circulated among academic leaders denouncing Poland's 1937 introduction of segregated seating in universities for Jewish students, while Conant did not. [4]

President Conant's behavior was certainly influenced by the anti-Jewish prejudice he harbored. His predecessor as Harvard's president, A. Lawrence Lowell, had voiced his antisemitism publicly, notably during the controversy in 1922 surrounding his proposal that Harvard introduce a formal quota to reduce Jewish enrollment. In justifying a quota, President Lowell, a former vice-president of the Immigration Restriction League, had declared that "a strong race feeling on the part of the Jews" was a significant cause of the "rapidly growing anti-Semitic feeling in this country." [5] Lowell managed thus to blame the Jews for antisemitism. Conant, then a Harvard chemistry professor, had voted in favor of the anti-Jewish quota at a special faculty meeting. Early in his presidency, Conant appointed as chair of Harvard's Committee on Admissions the headmaster of a Philadelphia preparatory school who was known for having tightly restricted Jewish admissions. Harvard deliberately limited Jewish enrollment during Conant's presidency in the 1930s using more subtle methods than a formal quota. [6]

Conant's antisemitism is evident in his correspondence with the chemical director of the Du Pont Corporation, who sought his advice in September 1933 about whether to hire the Jewish chemist Max Bergmann, whom Germany's Kaiser-Wilhelm-Institute for Leather Research had discharged after the Nazis assumed power. Du Pont was impressed with Bergmann's record as a research chemist but worried that he might possess undesirable personality and physical traits that Du Pont executives, and President Conant, associated with Jews. Chemistry was a well-established scientific field from which Jews had for the most part been excluded in the United States.? Although President Conant could have exerted his influence against chemistry's highly restrictive approach to Jews, when given the opportunity, he chose not to do so. In fact, he was not just silent in the face of discrimination; he actively collaborated in it.

Du Pont's chemical director knew that Bergmann had "a great reputation" as an organic chemist, Conant's field, but he contacted Harvard's president because the corporation's London representative had alerted him that he was "decidedly of the Jewish type." If this were the case, Du Pont feared it could adversely affect its relations with American universities. Conant responded that Bergmann was "certainly very definitely of the Jewish type -- rather heavy," probably dogmatic, with "none of the earmarks of genius," a view he admitted many American chemists did not share. He recommended that Du Pont not hire Bergmann. [8] Thus given the opportunity to stand up against bigotry and exclusion, even behind closed doors, in a way that would cost him nothing, he chose to do the opposite: to shore up anti-Jewish prejudice. When he died a decade later, the New York Times identified Bergmann as "one of the leading organic chemists in the world." [9]

Conant reacted differently a few weeks later when Sir William Pope, director of the chemical laboratory at the University of Cambridge in England, wrote to him on behalf of a non-Jewish chemist, Wilhelm Schlenk of Berlin University in Germany. Pope was hoping that Conant might help secure an academic position for Schlenk in the United States. Berlin University had discharged Schlenk because he had attempted to assist Fritz Haber, one of Germany's top chemists and a Christian convert from Judaism, when the Nazis forced him out of his position. Pope assured Conant that Schlenk had "no Jewish blood." He was, in fact, "one of the most charming men" Pope knew. Schlenk had never been associated with "socialist or communistic politics," involvement in which, Pope asserted, was "the cause of the disgrace" of many German Jewish chemists. Conant did not challenge this claim. For an individual who was not "of the Jewish type," unlike Bergmann, Conant indicated a readiness to help. [10]

At the very beginning of Nazi rule in 1933, Boston's Jews mobilized in a massive parade and rally to protest against antisemitic persecution in Germany, but Conant and the other local university presidents did not take part. The November demonstration, sponsored by the New England branch of the American Jewish Congress, was staged in the Dorchester! Mattapan section, where most of Boston's Jews were concentrated, only a few miles from Cambridge. But unlike many of Boston's leaders, Conant did not even send greetings, much less speak. [11] By contrast, the president of Harvard during the next several years sent greetings to German universities when they were staging anniversary commemorations, even though they were clearly intended as Nazi propaganda spectacles, and American newspapers described them as such. Conant did not endorse the boycott of German goods that began in 1933, which was well organized in Boston, or call for Harvard not to buy them.

Nor did President Conant express support for the resolution that Senator Millard Tydings of Maryland introduced in Congress in January 1934 condemning Nazi oppression of Jews in Germany and asking President Roosevelt to inform the Hitler government that this country was profoundly distressed about Germany's antisemitic measures. Senator Tydings noted that the U.S. government had denounced antisemitic persecution in foreign countries at least nine times between 1840 and 1919. Few of America's academic leaders endorsed the resolution, and it remained bottled up in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. [12]

William M. Tuttle Jr. notes that President Conant was "timid at crucial moments" but minimizes his failure to take a consistent stand against the Nazis by arguing that "he was not alone in his reticence." Tuttle claims that "leaders with constituencies to serve," including university presidents, union leaders, and politicians, "were notoriously silent during the 1930S." Yet there were still some who took a principled stand. President William Green and the leadership of the American Federation of Labor (AFL) vigorously promoted the boycott of German goods almost from its inception in 1933. They specifically denounced "the ruthless persecution of Germany's Jewish population." Pennsylvania governor Gifford Pinchot prominently associated himself with the boycott from the beginning. Senator Tydings pressed vigorously for the U.S. government to confront Nazi Germany about its antisemitic persecution and helped bring it to wider public attention by introducing his resolution. Other leading politicians like New York City's Mayor Fiorello H. La Guardia frequently denounced Nazi antisemitism, and even U.S. representative John McCormack of Irish American South Boston sent greetings to the American Jewish Congress's November 1933 Dorchester/Mattapan rally against Nazi antisemitism. [13]

The university over which Conant presided itself remained largely indifferent to the persecution of Germany's Jews and displayed a shocking lack of awareness of Nazism. This is best revealed in a mock debate Harvard held on Adolf Hitler's conduct in late October 1934. After two teams of Harvard undergraduates presented arguments, a panel consisting largely of Harvard professors acquitted the Fuehrer on two of four charges. The panel "ruled out as irrelevant" the subject of Hitler's "persecution of Jews." By a 4-1 vote, it found Hitler guilty of having General Kurt von Schleicher killed without trial. Von Schleicher had preceded Hitler as chancellor and was murdered by the SS during the "Blood Purge" of June 30, 1934, directed primarily against the Sturmabteilung (SA) leadership. The panel also found Hitler guilty, by a 3-2 vote, of sending men to concentration camps without definite charges. But by 3-2 votes, it acquitted Hitler of "invading the sanctity of homes without warrant" and of ordering the murder of seventy-seven Germans in the June 30 purge. The panel accepted Hitler's own figure of seventy-seven slain; it was probably at least twice that, and may have exceeded a thousand. [14]

Harvard's student newspaper, the Harvard Crimson, strongly condemned another mock trial of Hitler staged in ew York City the previous spring, which had devoted serious attention to his persecution of the Jews and found him guilty of "a crime against civilization." Sponsored by the American Jewish Congress, the AFL, and approximately fifty other Jewish and liberal groups, it was held at Madison Square Garden before 20,000 people. Twenty "witnesses for public opinion" had presented "The Case of Civilization Against Hitlerism." They included former New York governor Al Smith, New York City mayor Fiorello H. La Guardia, Rabbi Stephen S. Wise, the honorary president of the American Jewish Congress, AFL vice-president Matthew Woll, and Senator Millard Tydings. Chancellor Harry Woodburn Chase of New York University explicitly denounced the Nazis for denying Jews the right to study and teach in universities. He declared that it was the duty of all "teachers, scientists, and men of letters" to "resist with all their power" Nazi Germany's higher education policies -- a view not shared by Conant or the other presidents of elite universities. The event's organizers had invited Germany's ambassador, Hans Luther, to defend Hitler, but he had declined. The Harvard Crimson dismissed the Madison Square Garden mock trial as having "proved nothing" because Hitler had not been provided with a defense. Moreover, it claimed that the audience, containing many Jews, was "rabidly prejudiced." [15]

Almost a year and a half later, in March 1936, one of Harvard's leading history professors, William L. Langer, a renowned authority on the World War, vigorously defended Nazi Germany's recent occupation of the Rhineland and disputed the charge that Hitler was a militarist. Hitler's retaking of the Rhineland removed a critical obstacle blocking a German military invasion in the West. The victorious powers in the World War had demilitarized the Rhineland to prevent just such a scenario. Langer claimed that Hitler's motives were no different from those of the French and the British. The latter had imposed an "unfair treaty" on Nazi Germany, which had rearmed to protect itself, "like everyone else." He insisted that "Hitler's desire to ... control" the Rhineland was "perfectly understandable," because "it belongs to Germany, and is populated with Germans." The United States in such a situation would have acted just like Nazi Germany: "If ... New York or Massachusetts were left unguarded against foreign enemies, our immediate instinct would be to fortify it, and that is just what Hitler has done with the Rhineland." [16] Langer was in a position to strongly influence Harvard students' view of contemporary European affairs.

Prominent Harvard alumni, student leaders, the Harvard Crimson, and several Harvard professors assumed a leading role in the ten-day welcome and reception accorded the Nazi warship Karlsruhe when it visited Boston in May 1934 on what the Nazi government described as a goodwill mission. President Conant did nothing to discourage this, although Boston's Jewish community was outraged. Boston's Port Authority had arranged the Karlsruhe's visit in 1932, before the Nazis came to power in Germany. By May J134, it was obvious that the Nazi government was fiercely persecuting the Jews, as well as political opponents of the regime, large numbers of whom had already been seized and confined in concentration camps. [17]

Massachusetts governor Joseph Ely and Boston mayor Frederick Mansfield nonetheless sponsored an official reception for the Karlsruhe, a 6,000-ton battle cruiser carrying a 589-man crew, a showpiece of Nazi Germany's navy. The crew included 119 naval cadets, the equivalent of Annapolis midshipmen, who were undergoing training on the vessel. Ely's lieutenant governor and the mayor were on hand to greet the Nazi warship as it sailed into Boston harbor flying the swastika and tied up at a berth next to the War of 1812 frigate U.S.S. Constitution, a venerated American patriotic symbol. [18] In the days that followed, leading members of the Harvard University community staged and were major participants in highly publicized social events designed to honor and entertain the warship's crewmen and officers, who loudly praised Adolf Hitler and the Nazi government.

FIGURE 2. I. Dr. Hans Luther, Nazi Germany's ambassador to the United States, gives the Nazi salute on board the Karlsruhe during its visit to Boston, May 1934. Courtesy of the Boston Public Library, Print Department.

When it was announced on the day of the Nazi warship's arrival that an "elaborate program" of "lavish reception[s]" was planned in Boston and Cambridge for its officers and crew, Boston's Jewish community erupted in protest. About five months before, Boston's Jews had vigorously protested to the U.S. State Department when the German consulate in Boston began openly displaying the swastika flag. [19] Conant had said nothing. Rabbi Samuel Abrams declared that "the coming to our shores of the German battleship, flying the swastika, emblem of hate and darkness, should be condemned and protested in no uncertain terms." Jennie Loitman Barron, director of the Women's Division of the American Jewish Congress in Boston, stated that the city's greeting of the Karlsruhe, representing a nation that "savagely flouts every American principle," was "an insult to the Jewish people [and] ... to every American citizen." [20]

These comments were ignored by Boston officials and prominent Harvard alumni, eager to welcome the Karlsruhe sailors, whose officers sported swastika pins on their caps. The Boston Herald noted that many of the officers' cabins displayed portraits of the "mustached man of destiny." Several Boston churches provided special religious services for the crewmen the day after their arrival. On May 16, a large bodyguard of Harvard students escorted four Karlsruhe cadets to the campus, where they were entertained at Lowell House. [21] The next evening, a supper dance to honor the warship's officers and crew was held at the Egyptian Room of Boston's Brunswick Hotel. The affair's patrons included several prominent Harvard alumni, as well as Professor Francis P. Magoun, who served as chairman of Harvard's Modern Languages Division. Magoun was an ardent Nazi sympathizer who had urged Houghton Mifflin to issue an English edition of Hitler's Mein Kampf. According to the Harvard Crimson, Magoun was a close friend of Harvard president James B. Conant. [22]

Boston Jews on May 17 joined with an assortment of anti-fascist groups, including most prominently the National Student League (NSL), to mount a massive demonstration against the Karlsruhe at the Charlestown navy yard, where it was docked. The protestors confronted what the Boston Herald described as "one of the most formidable police forces ever concentrated" in Boston. [23] The several Harvard and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) students who carried signs marked "No Welcome for Persecutors of the Jews" were outnumbered by classmates who arrived determined to give the anti-Nazis "a good licking." [24] A large contingent from Harvard shouted "Up with Hitler!" and "Hurrah for the Nazi!" Members of the Harvard Lampoon staff, intending to mock the demonstrators, arrived in an automobile carrying students dressed as Hitler and Mussolini. The Boston Post commented that "[o]f the undergraduates who were in the crowds, less than 2 percent appeared to be in sympathy with the purposes of the demonstration." [25]

Before the protestors could gather for speeches in Charlestown's City Square, the police charged, mounted and on foot, injuring scores with clubs and fists. According to the Boston Herald, City Square resembled Red Square in Moscow, as police "singled out and subdued in hand to hand battle" all the march's leaders. However, several witnesses described police arrests as indiscriminate. Of twenty-one people arrested, two were from Harvard and two were MIT students. They were charged with inciting to riot, illegal handbill distribution, and disturbing the peace. [26]

Although Harvard's administration was publicly silent, several liberal professors denounced the police for making arrests without cause and for brutality. They insisted that there was no evidence that the students had incited a riot. [27] By contrast, the Harvard Crimson's editorial justified the methods employed by the police. It also reprinted an editorial from the Dartmouth student newspaper supporting the police's "skull crunching," which remarked, "That supposedly intelligent students of two of the country's leading educational institutions should affiliate themselves with [such] a demonstration ... seems remarkable to us." The Crimson praised Boston's police commissioner for the courtesy he showed to the Karlsruhe's crew. Two years later, the Crimson continued to refer to the demonstration as "discourteous." [28] A judge sentenced seventeen of those arrested to prison terms of six months or more. [29]

MIT's administration, which had entertained a group of Karlsruhe cadets on campus, made no comment about the police's violent disruption of the City Square anti-Nazi rally. Dean Harold Lobdell, in fact, personally tore down posters in an MIT building advertising the demonstration. He also attempted to persuade Boston's newspapers not to report that MIT students were among the arrested protestors. [30]

The protest by Jews and other anti-fascists was overshadowed by a series of social events staged by Boston society leaders, many of them associated with Harvard, whose purpose was to convey appreciation for the Nazi warship's officers and men. As the police were breaking up the demonstration at the navy yard, many Karlsruhe cadets, escorted by Boston debutantes, were headed into Boston for a round of dinners and dances. Some rode in limousines driven by liveried chauffeurs. A sizeable number of Karlsruhe officers and cadets also attended Harvard's Military and Naval Ball, making it a "distinguished event," according to the Harvard Crimson. [31]

A few hours after the demonstration was suppressed, more than a thousand Bostonians, including Harvard faculty, assembled at the luxurious Copley Plaza Hotel to honor the officers and men of the Karlsruhe. The swastika flag hung over the stage alongside the Stars and Stripes. The Jewish Advocate, Boston's English-language Jewish newspaper, called this the "basest kind of blasphemy." The Karlsruhe's commander gave what the Boston Post called "a stirring defense of the Nazi government," and other speakers denounced the Jewish-led boycott of German goods. Those in attendance gave the Nazi salute when the Karlsruhe band played both the "Star-Spangled Banner" and the Nazis' "Horst Wessel Song." Harvard German professor John Walz, later president of the Modern Language Association, was one of the speakers. [32] Several Harvard faculty members also attended the reception for the Karlsruhe's officers and Nazi Germany's ambassador to the United States, Hans Luther, at the Newton estate of German consul Baron Kurt von Tippelskirch. [33]

Ambassador Luther visited Harvard a few days later as guest of the administration, touring the Germanic Museum and Widener Library. Concerned that Luther be insulated from anything critical of Nazism, his Harvard hosts "carefully protected" him from "the influence of an exhibition by [artist] Marta Adams, who [had] recently moved from Germany" because she found the Hitler regime distasteful. [34]

FIGURE 2.2. Officers and diplomats from Nazi Germany at Baron van Tippelskirch's estate in Newton, Massachusetts, May 1934. Left to right: (front row) Baron Kurt van Tippelskitch, Nazi Germany's consul general in Boston; Captain van Enderndorf of the Karlsruhe; Dr. Hans Luther, Nazi Germany's ambassador to the United States; and Baroness van Tippelskirch and (back row) General Boetticher; Captain Witthoeft; and Lt. Commanders Gadow and Krabbe. Courtesy of the Boston Public Library, Print Department.

When the Karlsruhe returned home to Germany the next month after its eight-month world tour, Nazi defense minister General Werner von Blomberg declared that the warship "had made friends for the Third Reich in all places where she dropped anchor." [35] The crew considered their reception in Boston the friendliest of any port in a trip that had taken them three-quarters of the way around the world. Undoubtedly influenced by the warm welcome Harvard and others in Boston had accorded the Karlsruhe, German seamen were soon "carrying anti-Semitic ... propaganda to 'ridiculous lengths'" in every American port in which they docked. [36]

The Karlsruhe later patrolled the coast of Spain during that country's Civil War and helped spearhead the German invasion of Norway in April 1940. It effectively protected Nazi landing parties at Kristiansand in southern Norway, before a British submarine torpedoed and badly damaged it, requiring the German navy to sink it. [37]

FIGURE 2.3. Diplomats from Nazi Germany at Harvard's Germanic Museum, May 1934. Left to right: Baron Kurt von Tippelskirch, Nazi Germany's consul general in Boston; Dr. Hans Luther, Nazi Germany's ambassador to the United States; and Gerrit von Haeften, attache at the German embassy in Washington. Courtesy of the Boston Public Library, Print Department.

Harvard's administration in many ways helped legitimate the Nazi regime during the next several years. It did not hesitate to publicly defend the Class of 1909's invitation to Ernst (Putzi) Hanfstaengl, a Nazi leader and close friend of Adolf Hitler, to attend the class's twenty-fifth reunion at the Harvard commencement on June 21-22, 1934. Hanfstaengl served as the Nazi party's foreign press chief. The Harvard administration joined with prominent alumni and the Harvard Crimson in extending Hanfstaengl a warm welcome. It made every effort to stifle protests against Hanfstaengl's participation in the commencement ceremonies. As they had with the Karlsruhe, Boston's Jewish leaders strongly denounced Hanfstaengl's visit, but to no avail. The appearance at Harvard of one of Hitler's inner circle again illustrated that Boston socialites, in these years very influential in Harvard's affairs, were favorably disposed toward Nazism. [38]

Scion of a wealthy Munich family, Hanfstaengl had been one of Hitler's earliest backers, joining his Nazi movement in 1922 largely because he shared Hitler's virulent antisemitism. [39] After the abortive Beer Hall Putsch in 1923, Hitler had taken refuge at Hanfstaengl's country villa outside Munich, where he was arrested. Hanfstaengl provided important financial assistance to the Nazi party when it was first establishing itself in the early 1920s. He also later claimed to have introduced the stiff-armed Nazi salute and Sieg Heil chant, modeled on a gesture and a shout he had used as a Harvard football cheerleader. [40]

Hitler considered Hanfstaengl valuable because his wealth, air of sophistication, and fluency in English helped legitimate the Nazi party in conservative, upper-class circles, both in Germany and abroad. Hanfstaengl was descended on his mother's side from a prominent Back Bay family, the Sedgwicks, which facilitated his entry into influential Boston Brahmin circles. [41]

Hanfstaengl was determined to use his office to aggressively spread Nazi antisemitism outside Germany. On April 3, 1933, he informed American diplomat James G. McDonald that "the Jews must be crushed." Hanfstaengl called the Jews "the vampire sucking German blood." McDonald noted in his diary that after defending "unqualifiedly" the Nazis' April 1 boycott of Jewish stores, Hanfstaengl "launched into a terrifying account of Nazi plans." April I was "only a beginning." Hanfstaengl declared to McDonald that "[o]ur plans go much further." Noting that Germany during the World War had taken 1.5 million prisoners, Hanfstaengl stated that "600,000 Jews would be simple." The Nazis would assign a storm trooper to each Jew, and "in a single night it could be finished." McDonald was not certain whether this meant that the Nazi plan was for the imprisonment of Germany's Jewish population, or its "wholesale slaughter." [42]

Hanfstaengl did not hesitate to express his virulent antisemitism in the Harvard College twenty-fifth anniversary report of the Class of 1909. He accused the U.S. government of forcing the sale of the New York branch of his family's Munich-based art reproduction business, considered "alien property" during World War I, to a Jewish firm for far less than its market value. Advancing the Nazi slur that Jews were war profiteers and parasites, he declared, "This may serve as a hint ... as to who in reality won the war." Hanfstaengl also informed his classmates that, in 1922, "I ran into the man who has saved Germany and civilization -- Adolf Hitler." [43]

Hanfstaengl also supervised the production of, and composed the music for, the fiercely antisemitic Hans Westmar, one of the earliest Nazi propaganda films. It was based on Hans Heinz Ewer's 1932 book romanticizing storm trooper Horst Wessel, the most prominent Nazi martyr, killed by anti-fascist workers in 1930. "Hans Westmar," a phonetic substitute for Horst Wessel, opened in New York City in December 1933. It portrayed Jews as villains spreading the viruses of Communism and "internationalism," and as cowards afraid of street fighting. During the filming, uniformed Nazis forced bearded Jews to act the part of Communists and cry "Red Front!" and "Hail Moscow!" from rooftops as a Nazi procession passed. In another scene, an "overfed Jew" greedily devoured a fat goose, while at a nearby table "a faint and hungry 'Aryan'" shared a meager herring with his wife. While the film was in production the New York Times noted that in Germany "there is much misgiving among the Jews about the effect of its exhibition on the public, especially in country districts where a few Jewish families live in virtual isolation." Hanfstaengl indicated that he was considering taking the film, which he had already screened for Benito Mussolini, to show at the Harvard reunion. [44]

In late March 1934, American newspapers reported that the chief marshal of the Harvard twenty-fifth reunion Class of 1909, Dr. Elliott Carr Cutler, Harvard Medical School professor and a leading heart surgeon, had invited Hanfstaengl to come to the June commencement ceremony as one of his aides, a position of honor. Cutler was a close friend of Hanfstaengl's and during medical school had spent a summer with him in the Bavarian Alps and in Munich. This sparked outrage from Jewish and other alumni, and from Boston's major Jewish newspaper, the Advocate.  [45] The first to publicly protest against the Nazi leader's visit was Benjamin Halpern, Harvard Class of 1932, a Jew who was then a Harvard graduate student, and later a distinguished historian of Zionism.  [46] He was immediately joined by Dr. William Leland Holt, Harvard Class of 1900, who charged in a letter to President Conant that the invitation implied Harvard administration approval of the Nazi regime. [47] Conant could have easily denounced the visit, but did not.

The administration refused to debate the issue, claiming it was entirely an alumni matter. As the commencement approached, it emphasized that "Ernst Hanfstaengl is a Harvard man" who would "be warmly welcomed." [48] The Harvard Crimson editorialized that Hanfstaengl, "as a man of ability and distinction," deserved consideration as a chief marshal's aide. It called the protests "extremely childish." The editors did not believe politics should "enter into this question." [49] Shortly before his arrival in the United States, the Crimson called for Harvard to bestow on the Nazi official an honorary degree, as a mark "of honor appropriate to his high position in the government of a friendly country." [50]

Hanfstaengl's visit to Harvard quickly became a national issue. The Baltimore Sun, which condemned Hanfstaengl's visit as insulting to "racial groups" whose relatives the Nazis had "tortured and harassed," called the Crimson's suggestion "puerile" and "absurd." [51]

Fearing an embarrassing demonstration at the commencement, Cutler and Hanfstaengl decided it would be better for the Nazi official to come just as a regular member of his class. Nonetheless, a large crowd shouting anti-Nazi slogans greeted Hanfstaengl's ship when it arrived in New York, presaging trouble in Cambridge. Well-known New York World-Telegram columnist Heywood Broun noted that there were "hundreds of thousands of people [in New York] who have relatives and friends ... suffering at this very moment under the heavy hand of Hitler." [52]

By contrast, Harvard administrators and distinguished alumni extended a friendly greeting to the Nazi official when he arrived in Cambridge. Elliott Carr Cutler entertained Hanfstaengl at his Brookline home, where he discussed German politics and history with Harvard's former president, A. Lawrence Lowell. The Boston Globe reported that "Hanfstaengl's voice was of worship every time he mentioned the name of Hitler." Hanfstaengl was also received by classmate Louis Agassiz Shaw, distinguished professor at Harvard Medical School, at his Beverly Farms estate, where he was an overnight guest. [53]

The next day, a "fashionable and sporty" party gave the Nazi official a "cordial welcome" at the home of George Saltonstall West, Harvard Class of 1910. After luncheon, Hanfstaengl accompanied the group to the country club horse races, where he shared a box with West, Dr. Shaw, and their wives. Hanfstaengl placed only one bet, choosing the horse, he told reporters, because its jockey wore a brown shirt like the Nazis. After the races, he attended a tea at the house of President Conant, who shook his hand. In his autobiography, published in 1970, long after the Holocaust, Conant continued to insist that Hanfstaengl "had every right" to participate in the reunion. [54]

Boston newspapers repeatedly emphasized how fond his Harvard classmates were of Hanfstaengl. Several of them were delighted to pose with him for newspaper photographers. These men included many of the nation's leading financiers, industrialists, educators, corporate attorneys, scientists, and physicians. The Boston Globe reported that Hanfstaengl was the most popular attendee at the Class of 1909 party held at the Harvard Union on the evening of June 18, where he was "surrounded constantly by his classmates." According to the Boston Post, "all through dinner ... he was besieged by the[ir] sons and daughters ... who sought his autograph." [55] Hanfstaengl recalled for his classmates the "many long nights" he and Hitler had spent at his villa near Munich, "talking of 'the day,''' and he exclaimed excitedly to his rapt listeners, "Now the day is here." [56] The following day the Boston Herald, a newspaper with a large circulation in the business community, described the Nazi official as the "Life of the Party" when his class gathered for a field day on the 5,000-acre estate of railroad tycoon Frederick H. Prince, whose fortune during the Depression was estimated at $250 million. [57]

FIGURE 2.4. Ernst Hanfstaengl (right) with Frank J. Reynolds at the Harvard Class of 1909 reunion, June 1934. Courtesy of the Boston Public Library, Print Department.

FIGURE 2.5. Rabbi Joseph Solomon Shubow (center), who confronted Ernst Hanfstaengl in Harvard Yard in June 1934 and demanded to know whether the Nazi plan for the Jews was extermination. Courtesy of the Boston Public Library, Print Department.

As the Nazi official partied with his classmates, campus and municipal police carefully prepared to suppress any protests against Hanfstaengl's visit. Following instructions from the Harvard administration, campus police tore down scores of anti-Nazi stickers that protestors had attached to the fence around Harvard Yard during the night. These signs proclaimed, "Drive the Nazi Butcher Out," and suggested that Harvard award Hanfstaengl the degree of "Doctor of Pogroms." [58] Each day during the week prior to commencement, Boston police arrested Jews and other anti-fascists picketing the German consulate, charging them with illegally displaying signs. The Municipal Court judge denounced the defendants as "troublemakers," fined them, and declared, "I cannot understand why you fight European battles in Boston." [59]

The joyous festivities were briefly interrupted when Rabbi Joseph Solomon Shubow confronted Hanfstaengl as he was talking to reporters in Harvard Yard. Rabbi Shubow demanded to know the meaning of a remark Hanfstaengl had made to the press on June 17, that "everything would soon be settled for the Jews in Germany." "Tremb[ling] violently," Rabbi Shubow cried out, "My people want to know ... does it mean extermination?" The Nazi official replied that he did not care to discuss political matters, and the Harvard police immediately ushered Hanfstaengl away to President Conant's house. [60]

FIGURE 2.6. Ernst Hanfstaengl speaking with newspaper reporters at Harvard, June 1934. Courtesy of the Boston Public Library, Print Department.

FIGURE 2.7. Ernst Hanfstaengl (center, with raised arm) in the Harvard Class of 1909 parade, June 1934. Courtesy of the Boston Public Library, Print Department.

The "traditional formality" that the Harvard administration so prized at commencement exercises was "momentarily shattered" when two young women chained themselves to a railing near the speakers' platform and interrupted President Conant's remarks by chanting, "Down with Hitler!" The Boston Post noted that "a record of three centuries of peaceful and orderly exercises centering around commencement at Harvard was broken." Policemen immediately arrested the two women. The disturbance shocked and angered the Harvard administration and an alumni audience that included "some of the wealthiest and most distinguished men in the country." [61] By contrast, Dr. Samuel Margoshes,

Zionist leader and editor of the New York Yiddish newspaper The Day, spoke with awe of the young women, extolling their "magnificent and undying courage." [62] Shortly after the disturbance in Harvard Yard, other demonstrators began a protest against the university's welcoming of Hanfstaengl in Harvard Square, but police squelched it by immediately arresting those who attempted to speak, seven in all. [63]

Although President Conant privately persuaded a judge to have the charges dropped against the two women arrested in the Yard, he declared that he had "very little sympathy" when the seven arrested in the Square received very harsh sentences. The demonstrators, six men and a woman, were charged with disturbing the peace and speaking without a permit. They were initially sentenced to thirty days in jail, but when they appealed, the Superior Court ordered each confined in the Middlesex House of Correction for six months at hard labor and fined $20. In arguing for stiff punishment, the district attorney declared that the defendants had "on a day ... sacred in the eyes of educated people ... staged a demonstration against one of the most respected of institutions." The Superior Court judge agreed, handing down sentences of six months at hard labor "as a deterrent to those who hold views similar to yours." [64]

President Conant refused to intervene after the Superior Court sentencing, claiming that Harvard was not concerned with actions that occurred outside university grounds. He declared that the protest in Harvard Square "seemed to me very ridiculous." President Conant rejected a professor's private request that the university "register its disapproval of the severe sentence imposed," although in his reply he expressed doubt that it would serve society's best interests. He warned the professor, however, not to quote him on that. [65]

Conant was unsympathetic when Mrs. Joseph Dauber, the wife of one of the convicted demonstrators, a recent MIT graduate, appealed to him to "disclaim any support" for the "cruelly repressive measures" the Superior Court had imposed after ordering her husband imprisoned for six months. She informed Conant that the prison permitted her to visit her husband only one half hour a week, and only allowed him to write a letter to her every two weeks. On Mrs. Dauber's letter, Conant or his secretary scrawled "write regrets," indicating he would do nothing. [66]
Site Admin
Posts: 33729
Joined: Thu Aug 01, 2013 5:21 am

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

Postby admin » Sat Jul 28, 2018 6:46 am

Part 2 of 2

Upon Hanfstaengl's triumphant return to Germany, Hitler bestowed on him the honor of opening the sixth convention of the Nazi party at Nuremberg in September 1934. As the Fuehrer made his entrance amid the throngs that cheered him as the "Savior of Germany," Hanfstaengl praised the adoption by the Third Reich of the doctrine of the "purity of the race." [67]

President Conant later that fall refused the Nazi official's offer to the university of a $1,000 scholarship to permit a Harvard student to study in Germany for a year, including six months in Munich. Conant explained that the Harvard Corporation was "unwilling to accept a gift from one who has been so closely associated with the leadership of a political party which has inflicted damage on the universities of Germany." [68] The Harvard Club of Berlin, whose secretary, a General Electric executive, was president of the American Chamber of Commerce in the German capital, passed a resolution protesting the rejection of Hanfstaengl's scholarship. The club fully endorsed Nazi higher education policy, which it claimed was part of a necessary "program of national sanitation." [69]

In Germany, the Nazi press noted that the Harvard Crimson had denounced the Corporation's decision, claiming it deprived students of

FIGURE 2.8. Dr. Hans Luther (right), Nazi Germany's ambassador to the United States, presents Roscoe Pound, dean of Harvard Law School, with an honorary degree from the University of Berlin, September 1934. Courtesy of the Boston Public Library, Print Department.

the opportunity to study in "one of the greatest cultural centers of the world." The Nazis declared that the Crimson's dissent exposed a wide gulf between a promising postwar American student generation that resembled Hitler's young followers and a decadent faculty "still clinging to old-fashioned Wilsonism." [70]

Columnist Paul Mallon reported that feeling was widespread at Harvard that the university had turned down Hanfstaengl's offer because of the adverse public reaction to Harvard Law School dean Roscoe Pound's recent acceptance, in a public ceremony on campus, of an honorary degree from the University of Berlin, personally presented by Nazi Germany's ambassador Hans Luther. Luther and Nazi Germany's consul, Kurt von Tippelskirch, had hosted a luncheon for Dean Pound and members of the Law School faculty after the ceremony. [71]

Dean Pound was known to be sympathetic to Hitler, which President Conant acknowledged in a personal conversation with Felix Frankfurter, the lone Jew on the Harvard Law School faculty. [72] Pound spent part of his vacation in Nazi Germany during the summers of 1934, 1936, and 1937. In July 1934, he attended a full-day performance of the virulently antisemitic passion play at Oberammergau in Bavaria (described in Chapter 4), and pronounced it "wonderful." [73] Describing his impressions of Bavaria to the Paris Herald on August 4, 1934, Pound declared, "I never saw any indication of tension or fear of the future." He claimed that freedom of speech prevailed in the Third Reich: "People discussed Hitler and everything else openly, just as we talk of Roosevelt in the United States." [74] On his return to the United States, Pound expressed his admiration for Hitler in the New York Herald Tribune and claimed that in Nazi Germany "there was no persecution of Jewish scholars or of Jews ... who had lived in [Germany] for any length of time." [75]

When Felix Frankfurter learned that Ambassador Luther was to present Dean Pound with his degree at the Law School, he protested to President Conant that Harvard was tying "a tail to the Nazi kite" -- that is, lending its prestige to the Hitler regime. He did not ask Conant to forbid Pound from accepting the degree, but he did not want the ceremony held at Harvard. Conant replied that there was nothing he could do, and that, moreover, he "could not stay away" from the ceremony himself "without insulting a friendly government." Deeply disappointed, Frankfurter terminated the meeting after fifteen minutes and left. He noted in a personal memorandum about the encounter: "I abstained from pointing out to Conant that to exercise a veto power on Pound's personal right to accept the degree from Germany is one thing; to allow Langdell Hall [the Law School building] to be turned into a Nazi holiday quite another." [76]

Unlike Conant, Frankfurter refused invitations from both Dean Pound and Ambassador Luther to attend the ceremony. He wrote to Pound: "I cannot attend any function in honor of a representative of a government which Mr. Justice Holmes has accurately characterized as 'a challenge to civilization.''' Frankfurter declared that he could not "suppress my sense of humiliation that my beloved Law School, the centre of Anglo-American law, should confer special distinction upon an official representative of enthroned lawlessness." [77]

The Harvard administration's friendly reception of Hanfstaengl at the June commencement provided a rationale for Yale University president James Rowland Angell's decision to welcome a delegation of Italian Fascist students to his campus in October 1934. The Yale Daily News rushed to President Angell's support, justifying his decision by "cit[ing] President Conant's hospitality to Ernst F. S. Hanfstaengl last June." The Harvard Crimson ran a news story entitled "Yale Follows Harvard's Lead Greeting Italians." [78]

President Conant officially welcomed the Italian Fascist student delegation to Harvard several days before it visited Yale. The 350-student delegation, including about forty athletes, was touring American campuses on behalf of the Mussolini government to promote friendship between Italy and the United States. Conant greeted 160 of the Italian Fascist students at Harvard's University Hall, the administration building, on October 5, 1934, and in a brief address reviewed the history of Harvard. Harvard's president then shook the hand of each Italian Fascist student. The president of Harvard's Student Council, E. Francis Bowditch, and a group of Harvard undergraduates then led Mussolini's emissaries on a tour of the campus. The remaining members of the Italian student delegation, who spent the morning sightseeing in Boston, joined the 160 for lunch at seven of Harvard's undergraduate houses. [79]

During the afternoon, the Italian Fascist student athletes participated in a track meet at Harvard Stadium, competing against representatives of New England colleges, including Harvard, MIT, Brown, Holy Cross, Boston College, and Boston University. It was one of the largest track meets that had ever been held in the East. The track meet began with a parade of the entire Italian Fascist student delegation into the stadium, preceded by Italian trumpeters and accompanied by the Harvard band. When the delegation reached the center of the field, it sang the Fascist song. The Harvard Crimson praised Conant for welcoming the Italian Fascist students to the university and asserted that "[t]heir reception, tour of the buildings, and the track meet ... will be a step towards establishment of a close bond of friendship and understanding between the two nations." [80]

A few months later, in March 1935, the Harvard administration permitted Nazi Germany's consul in Boston, Baron von Tippelskirch, to place a wreath bearing the swastika emblem in the university's Memorial Church (Appleton Chapel). It was laid below a tablet Harvard had attached to the chapel wall "recognizing the heroism" and honoring the memory of four Harvard men killed in action fighting for Germany during the World War. The Boston Post declared that "for the first time since she received Ernst F. S. Hanfstaengl, Chancellor Hitler's right-hand man, at his class reunion last June did Harvard, by allowing the swastika to be displayed in her chapel, recognize and accept the new German Nazi state." It noted that the ceremony, which occurred on the day Germany annually commemorated its war dead, was attended by "a small group of prominent Harvard faculty members" and visiting professors from Nazi Germany. Some Harvard students protested against the placement of the "swastika wreath" on campus by an official representing a nation that "conducts hysterical racial massacres." But the Harvard Crimson supported the administration's commitment to what it called "Harvard's breadth of mind." [81]

On April 30, 1935, President Conant personally received Mussolini's ambassador to the United States, Augusto Rosso, and his consul general in Boston, Ermanne Armao, at his office at Harvard. President Conant's secretary, Harper Woodward, then escorted the Fascist diplomats on a tour of Widener Library, the Memorial Chapel, the Indoor Athletic Building, and Lowell House. [82]

Although Conant turned down the Hanfstaengl scholarship, Harvard chose not to follow the example of Williams College, whose president, Tyler Dennett, terminated student exchanges with German universities in April 1936. About sixty students from Nazi Germany attended American colleges and universities each year, solicited by schools in this country, while many Americans studied in Nazi Germany. Hanfstaengl, in fact, noted in October 1935 that the enrollment of Harvard students at the University of Munich had greatly increased since Conant had turned down his scholarship offer. [83]

Harvard continued the student exchanges, even though the German official in charge of them publicly announced in April 1936 that his government sent its students abroad to serve as "political soldiers of the Reich." German youths studying at foreign universities were required to first receive special training in "the principles of National Socialism." They also had to present to the Reich Ministry of Education a certificate from a Nazi party functionary attesting to their enthusiasm for Nazism. The Hitler government regarded exchange students as "an important element in Germany's foreign propaganda." [84]

Stephen Duggan, director of the Institute of International Education, which encouraged American student exchanges with foreign universities, in late 1937 correctly predicted that "Harvard, Yale, Columbia, Princeton," and other American universities that provided fellowships for students from Nazi Germany would remain impervious to mounting calls to terminate them. Nor, he added, would "any of the fine women's colleges -- Barnard, Vassar, Bryn Mawr, Holyoke, Smith, Wellesley, and Radcliffe -- which have had German exchange students practically every year," agree to join a proposed boycott. Duggan noted that many of America's "ablest" students were anxious to study in Nazi Germany in order "to see a modern French Revolution in actual operation." [85]

Harvard contributed significantly to the Hitler regime's effort in 1936 to gain international respectability by accepting the University of Heidelberg's invitation to send a representative to the 550th anniversary ceremonies of Germany's oldest institution of higher learning. More than twenty other American colleges and universities participated in the Heidelberg ceremonies. By contrast, no British university was willing to send a representative.

The Nazis wanted to favorably influence foreign perceptions of Germany as they embarked on a major rearmament program and stepped up persecution of the Jews. Germany reinstituted military conscription in March 1935. Shortly before Berlin was swept by savage antisemitic rioting in July, the New York Times quoted Propaganda Minister Josef Goebbels declaring, "We do not want the Jew .... Certain classes of intellectuals have interposed that, after all, the Jew is also a human being. Well ... the flea is an animal, but it is not a very pleasant animal." In September, the Nazis implemented the Nuremberg race Jaws, which deprived Jews of citizenship. Hitler sent his troops into the demilitarized Rhineland in March 1936, undermining the postwar security arrangement that prevented a German invasion of the West. [86] The Nazis believed that by hosting scores of distinguished academic guests from the United States and other Western democracies at an elaborate, carefully controlled, four-day festival, they could greatly enhance the prestige of the Nazi university, and of the government itself, outside Germany.

In the months prior to the University of Heidelberg's anniversary commemoration, President Conant communicated several times with President Nicholas Murray Butler of Columbia and President James Rowland Angell of Yale, in order to more effectively deflect criticism of their universities' decision to send delegates to the Nazi festival. Each designated as its representative a professor or administrator who was traveling in Europe at the time of the celebration, standard practice when an American university accepted such an invitation from a European counterpart. [87] Harvard was represented by Dr. George D. Birkhoff, dean of the faculty of the College of Arts and Sciences and Perkins Professor of Mathematics. The University of Heidelberg did not invite Princeton University to participate. This was probably because the Nazis tied the independent Institute for Advanced Study, located in Princeton, New Jersey, to Princeton University. The Institute had provided a faculty position for the refugee physicist Albert Einstein, whom the Nazis fiercely detested. [88]

After taking power in January 1933, the Nazis had quickly tightened party control over all German universities and suppressed all academic freedom, which was widely reported in the American press. German university students were in the forefront of the movement to Nazify German higher education. The German professoriate actively promoted the Nazi project and made vital contributions to it. As historian Max Weinreich has noted, "German scholars from the beginning to the end of the Hitler era worked hand in glove with the murderers of the Jewish people." [89]

The public book burnings staged at universities across the Reich in May 1933 underscored faculty and student support for Nazi antisemitism and anti-intellectualism. Students campaigned to destroy scholarly works they deemed "un-German," including anything written by Jews. About 40,000 people gathered to watch the bonfire near the University of Berlin, in which more than 20,000 books were destroyed. A little more than a week later, the University of Heidelberg staged its book burning, following a torchlight procession in which Nazi storm troopers marched alongside the student dueling corps "in full regalia, booted and sword-belted." [90]

The Nazis swiftly expelled nearly all Jews from university faculty positions, at least 800 in all by the 1934-35 academic year. The Jews forced out of the professoriate included many scholars of international renown, like Albert Einstein, Richard Courant, Max Born, James Franck, and Ernst Cassirer. In April 1933, the German government also passed a law severely limiting the enrollment of Jewish students in universities. Those few who remained were required to carry a red card of "non-Aryanism," while so-called "German" students were issued a "white card of honor." Many German universities initiated severely discriminatory policies against Jews even before the Nazi government required them to do so. Less than three months after the Nazi takeover, for example, the University of Hamburg refused to admit Jews any longer. [91]

By 1936, when the Nazis scheduled the anniversary commemoration, they were in complete control of the University of Heidelberg. The rector, Wilhelm Groh, announced in the summer of 1935 that only professors committed to advancing the Nazi revolution in the universities belonged on the faculty, and that even those Christians who were married to Jews should be removed. Groh habitually wore a military uniform to academic functions. [92] Between 1933 and 1936, the University of Heidelberg discharged forty-four faculty members for "racial, religious, or political reasons." No other faculty there protested these dismissals. Heidelberg required that its students join Nazi party organizations and frequently attend speeches by Nazi officials. [93]

In an action of enormous political significance, the Nazis replaced the statue of Athena, Greek goddess of wisdom, over the entrance to Heidelberg's main classroom building with a large bronze eagle, which they intentionally pointed west toward France, their enemy. The university substituted a new inscription, "To the German Spirit," and a golden swastika in place of the old "To the Eternal Spirit." [94]

The German universities incorporated the Nazi outlook in their curricula, in the sciences as well as the arts. Reich minister of culture and education Bernhard Rust announced in January 1935 that Nazi race theory would constitute the foundation of all university studies. Max Weinreich noted that German scholarship of the mid-1930s "looks like a gigantic assembly line working toward one aim" -- the campaign against the Jews and preparation for war. [95] University anthropologists and biologists contributed significantly to the elaboration of a virulently antisemitic "racial science" that the Nazis introduced into school curricula. Law school professors similarly helped the Nazi state fashion and refine antisemitic legislation and provided justification for Nazi legal initiatives. They presented papers at a 1936 conference on "Jewry and Jurisprudence." Richard Evans notes that the University of Heidelberg's Social and Economic Sciences Faculty "focused its research on population, agricultural economics, and the vaguely named 'spatial research' which in fact was focused on accumulating knowledge relevant to the proposed future expansion of the Reich in the pursuit of 'living space.''' Because of the Nazis' exaltation of military force, German university students devoted about one-third of their time to paramilitary exercises and drill. [96]

In 1935, the University of Heidelberg became one of the two principal centers for the propagation of what the Nazis called "Aryan Physics," reflecting the sharp deterioration of educational standards under the Nazis. In December 1935, in a ceremony a trended by leading German academics and industrialists that concluded with the Horst Wessel song, the University of Heidelberg Physics Institute was renamed the Philipp-Lenard-Institut, after the school's best-known professor, a Nobel laureate and longtime Hitler supporter. Lenard's mission was to remove what he called "Jewish science" from physics. In the principal speech at the dedication, Dr. Wacker, substituting for Education Minister Rust, who was ill, declared that "[t]he Negro or the Jew will view the same world in a different way from the German investigator." [97]

The next day "an imposing number of German physicists" gathered at the Philipp-Lenard-Institut to declare their commitment to combating "Jewish evil." Professor Dr. Tirala, speaking on "Nordic Race and Science," attributed the principal scientific discoveries since ancient times to "Nordic" investigators. Professor Lenard concluded by declaring that "the Jew is strikingly lacking in appreciation of Truth" and urging those present to "continue energetically the fight against the Jewish spirit." [98]

In early 1936, Lenard published the first volume of his four-volume Deutsche Physik, printed in Gothic type to emphasize its "Germanness" (Deutschtum). [99] Lenard intended his work to serve as the principal text for university students on Aryan physics. In it, he asserted that "[s]cience ... is racial and conditioned by blood." [100] Heidelberg student leaders embraced Lenard's outlook. For example, in the German academic journal Deutsche Mathematik, Fritz Kubach, Reichsleader of the German Student Body in the Department of Mathematics, a national position, demanded that the "fundamental questions of Mathematics" be "handl[ed] ... on a racial basis," which required "the destruction of the ... influence of Jews" in the field. [101]

The leading members of the University of Heidelberg's medical faculty enthusiastically promoted what the Nazis called "racial hygiene," which involved sterilizing people they considered "defective." Professor Hans Runge supervised hundreds of forced sterilizations at the university's women's clinic. Heidelberg professor Carl Schneider became prominent in the Nazi government's "program to systematically murder the mentally ill and handicapped." [102]

All this notwithstanding, Harvard accepted the invitation to participate in the University of Heidelberg's anniversary celebration on March 2, 1936, several days after the leading British universities had publicly announced their refusal. The New York Times on February 28 reported that Britain's preeminent universities, Oxford and Cambridge, had refused to send delegates to Heidelberg because of that university's discharge of forty-four faculty members "on the grounds of race, religion, and politics" and its "suppression of academic freedom." They were joined by the Universities of Manchester, Liverpool, Birmingham, London, Edinburgh, and Dublin. The Times noted that the scheduling of the ceremony on the date of the 1934 Blood Purge had resulted in "widespread suspicion" in Britain that "the anniversary is intended not to honor Heidelberg, but to glorify the Nazi regime." Moreover, the prestigious British scientific journal Nature charged that evidence in the British Museum revealed that the University of Heidelberg's charter had been issued in October 1385 and its first session had begun in October 1386, and thus the upcoming anniversary was not the school's 550th. [103]

In late March, the eminent British medical historian Charles Singer urged President Conant to reconsider his decision to send a Harvard representative to Heidelberg. The University of London professor asserted that "the scandals at Heidelberg have been even above the normal level of German universities both in gravity and number," and that faculty and students at the school shared and often expressed Philipp Lenard's views. Singer informed Conant that leading universities in the Netherlands, including Leyden, Utrecht, and Groeningen, had joined the British universities in refusing to send delegates. [104]

Two Jewish Harvard alumni warned Conant that the German government intended to use the Heidelberg celebration as a vehicle for spreading Nazi propaganda, just as it had at the recently concluded fourth Winter Olympiad held in the twin Bavarian towns of Garmisch and Partenkirchen. [105] Westbrook Pegler, columnist for the New York World-Telegram, noted that the Winter Olympics had proven that "the Nazis could not be trusted to refrain from political and military propaganda" when sponsoring international gatherings. The New York Times reported that, during the Winter Olympics, Garmisch and Partenkirchen had "become a forest of ... swastika flags," with the Nazi symbol "waving from every roof and draped from almost every balcony," while the flags of other nations were seldom visible. Foreign journalists covering the Winter Olympiad were stunned when State Secretary Funk of the Propaganda Ministry opened the games with a long speech extolling Hitler and Nazism. [106]

Many American observers agreed with William L. Shirer, one of the most experienced foreign correspondents in Germany, that Hitler had scored a major propaganda triumph at Garmisch and Partenkirchen. Shirer reported that the lavish ceremonies, modeled on the Nuremberg rallies, made the Nazis appear administratively efficient. Foreigners had also been impressed with the well-mannered treatment accorded visitors, which to Shirer and other American journalists familiar with the Nazis "of course seemed staged." The New Republic commented that the Nazis "unquestionably considered the Games ... as demonstrating international approval of the present regime." [107]

G. E. Harriman, executive secretary of the Non-Sectarian Anti-Nazi League, stressed that the Germans had spread "tremendous Nazi propaganda" at two international scholarly conferences they had recently hosted -- the International Prison Congress in Berlin and the Congress for Health and Hygiene. Harriman reported that the foreign delegates attending these conferences had been "inundated with speeches by Nazi officials." In radio broadcasts throughout Germany and abroad, the Nazis had attempted to associate the prestige of "these gatherings of [distinguished] scientists" with the Hitler regime itself. [108]

Conant nevertheless remained steadfast in his commitment to have Harvard represented at Heidelberg, and he received strong support from the Harvard Crimson. In a press release announcing Harvard's acceptance of the Heidelberg invitation, Conant had declared that "the ancient ties by which the Universities of the world are united ... are independent of ... political conditions." He indicated that Harvard had already expressed "strong disapproval" of the "present [German] regime in respect to academic freedom" when it turned down the Hanfstaengl scholarship.  [109] Those who wrote to challenge his decision received a standard reply from Conant's secretary insisting that Harvard's relationship with the University of Heidelberg was "purely academic," and that "the matter of politics should not enter." The Harvard Crimson similarly editorialized that "Heidelberg University is not the Nazi government" and even claimed that it had opposed Nazi policies. It condemned the British universities that had refused Heidelberg's invitation for "dragging politics in." [110]

Alvin Johnson, director of the New School for Social Research, branded Harvard's idea of an international community of scholars that included Nazi Germany a dangerous delusion. He explained that the Graduate Faculty over which he presided, composed of German exiles, had been established "as an expression ... that there is no free German university." [111]

Conant considered Harvard's attendance at the Heidelberg ceremony part of a reciprocal exchange with German universities, whose representatives he had invited to participate in the Harvard tercentenary celebration scheduled for September 1936 and to present papers at the tercentenary conference preceding it. Harvard also planned to award honorary degrees to ten academics from Nazi Germany. These included Werner Heisenberg, who later directed Germany's effort to develop an atomic bomb during World War II, and Friedrich Bergius, whose chemical research proved highly important to the Nazi war effort. [112] When Dr. Charles Singer wrote to express strong opposition to sending a delegate to Heidelberg, Conant replied that the logic of his position would require Harvard to ban from its tercentenary events "German scientists who ... have embraced Nazi policy but nevertheless have remained distinguished members of the world of scholars." Conant pronounced such a view "absurd." [113]

President Nicholas Murray Butler of Columbia aggressively defended Harvard's invitation to Nazi academics to its tercentenary, insisting that "academic relationships have no political implications." To the chairman of a Columbia student committee established to protest that university's decision to send a delegate to Heidelberg, Butler sneered, "Perhaps the Germans might reply that they would send no representatives to the Harvard Tercentenary Celebration next September because they do not approve of what the newspapers here call the New Deal." [114]

Albert Einstein took sharp issue with Conant's and Butler's insistence that academic celebrations had nothing to do with politics. He did not attend the Harvard tercentenary celebration, although invited, because he objected to participation by German academics who supported Nazi policies. [115]

As Conant was making plans for Harvard's participation at Heidelberg, he refused requests from Jewish alumni and the mayor and city council of Cambridge to reschedule the Harvard tercentenary celebration, which the administration had decided would take place on Rosh Hashonah. Protests concerning the date had first been presented to the Harvard administration in December 1934. The Cambridge city council resolution asking for a change of date, adopted on April 21, 1936, noted that many of Harvard's Jewish graduates, "from Justice Brandeis down the ladder of fame have added to the glory and prestige of Harvard." Conant claimed that the university was limited to only two dates in staging the tercentenary celebration -- November 8, equivalent to October 28 on the Julian calendar used in 1636, or September 18, equivalent to September 8. The former, which marked the passage of the act of the Massachusetts Bay Colony's General Court that established the college, fell on Sunday, the Christian day of worship, making it unacceptable to the administration. It therefore chose September 18. Taking issue with its Jewish critics, the administration saw nothing in the "dignified ceremonies" it planned that was "incompatible with the proper religious observance" of the Jewish New Year. [116]

Conant joined with Butler and President Angell of Yale in drafting a statement to be released if the Nazis at the Heidelberg ceremony publicly claimed that the presence of delegates from American universities represented an endorsement of the Nazi regime. The statement, mostly Butler's work, criticized the "German government's actions in regard to academic freedom." It praised a long list of men who had made significant contributions to German culture. Butler noted to Conant that he had deliberately included Spinoza, invited to Heidelberg in 1673; Heine; and Mendelssohn, all of whom the Nazis considered Jews. The statement, however, was never issued. The congratulatory greeting that Columbia sent to Heidelberg did not mention any of the latter's Jewish scholars, or even Christians of Jewish ancestry. [117]

The University of Heidelberg anniversary celebration, held from June 27 to June 30, 1936, was highlighted by fiery Nazi speeches delivered by top officials of the Hitler regime and a massive military display. Harvard was represented by Dr. George Birkhoff, dean of the faculty of the College of Arts and Sciences, a mathematics professor who held antisemitic views. At the ceremonies he was in the company of Nazi propaganda minister Josef Goebbels, a Heidelberg graduate, who delivered a welcoming address; Nazi racial theorist Alfred Rosenberg; Education Minister Rust; Ernst Hanfstaengl; and SS chief Heinrich Himmler. As the flags of the participating countries were hoisted in the opening ceremonies, the spectators gave the Nazi salute. A brown-shirted storm trooper was stationed at each flagpole. During the first two days, "military bands and goose stepping ... held the center of the stage," and no academic robes were visible. [118]

Following Protestant and Catholic religious services, on the second day, a Sunday, storm troopers drove the foreign guests to a military cemetery overlooking the city of Heidelberg for a memorial ceremony in honor of German soldiers killed during the World War. Presiding was Dr. Schmitthenner, professor of military science at Heidelberg, who proclaimed that Germany's dead had entered Valhalla. He declared that Germany had not been defeated in the World War, and that God had sent her "a great leader, Adolf Hitler, to ... liberate the nation." Columbia University's representative, Arthur F. J. Remy, Villard professor of Germanic philology, characterized the service at the war cemetery as "very impressive and dignified." [119]

The anniversary celebration climaxed on June 29 and 30 with lengthy speeches praising Nazi educational policy by Education Minister Rust and Heidelberg philosophy professor Dr. Ernst Krieck, who became rector the next year. Heidelberg presented honorary degrees to foreign professors, including two from Harvard, Kirsopp Lake and Reginald Aldworth Daly. Rust proclaimed that Germany had discarded forever "the old idea of science" as "abstract intellectual activity" and made scientific research conform to the Nazi outlook. He explained that German universities had removed Jews from their faculties because they belonged to an "alien race," which rendered them unable to understand the "order of nature." The next day Krieck similarly declared that science must be in accord "with the great racial and political task before us." [120]

Back in the United States, Conant remained adamant that Harvard had been "absolutely right" to send a representative. When President Angell wrote to report some alumni concern about the German press coverage, Conant refused to consider issuing the joint statement they had prepared with Butler. He declared, in fact, that the British universities would "live to regret the day when they broke diplomatic relations ... with one section of the learned world." Conant considered the harangues by Rust and Krieck "no more absurd than some statements about the aims of education" he had heard expressed in the United States. Conant decided, moreover, that because of the Harvard tercentenary, he would refrain during the next six weeks from making any criticisms of the Nazi regime "out of politeness and good manners." Harvard, after all, was "being host to delegates from German universities." [121]

Harvard's administration remained indifferent to calls to boycott the Olympic Games scheduled to take place in Berlin in late July and August 1936, shortly after the Heidelberg anniversary celebration. As host of such a prestigious international gathering, Nazi Germany presented itself as a respectable, and responsible, member of the world community. The Hitler regime planned to make the Olympics a spectacle that would highlight the vigor and prowess of "Aryan" youth, and Germans' enthusiasm for Nazism. In February 1936, Nazi Germany's Reichssportfuhrer (state commissar for sports), Dr. Hans von der Tschammer-Osten, approved publication of a handbook for German athletes that declared they must be "political fighters for Nazism." The German athlete should be fully conversant with Nazi principles and "above all ... will be expected to defend convincingly Hitler's racial legislation." The handbook "sternly cautioned" German athletes against the "dangers resulting from interracial breeding." [122] Neither President Conant nor his colleagues Presidents Angell of Yale and Butler of Columbia joined the small group of college and university presidents that endorsed a boycott, which included Presidents Tyler Dennett of Williams, Daniel Marsh of Boston University, and Mary E. Woolley of Mount Holyoke. [123]

The Harvard Athletic Association (HAA), in fact, encouraged alumni to support American participation in the Berlin games. When the HAA in September 1935 mailed the ticket applications to that fall's Harvard-Yale football game to 35,000 alumni, it included on the back an appeal for funds to help pay the expenses of American athletes competing in Berlin. William]. Bingham, Class of 1916, Harvard's director of athletics, accused those favoring a boycott to protest Nazi policies of violating "all codes of sportsmanship." He accepted the assurances of Avery Brundage, president of the American Olympic Committee, who had recently visited Nazi Germany, that there was no discrimination there against Jewish athletes.  [124] Brundage, an antisemite and later member of the America First Committee, drew this conclusion in part from conversations with German "Jewish leaders," always conducted in cafes in the presence of Nazi "chaperones." [125] Incredibly, Bingham claimed that the Olympics were awarded to a city, not a country, and that the German government had nothing whatsoever to do with the management of the games. In fact, the Hitler government tightly controlled preparations for the Olympics. [126]

Like Bingham, the Harvard Crimson supported U.S. participation in the Berlin Olympics and called on American athletes to "suppress their personal feelings about the internal affairs of the host." It declared that "intelligent men with first-hand information believe that the Nazi Government has fulfilled [its] pledges" not to discriminate against Jewish athletes. [127] Contrary to Brundage's claims, however, Americans had reliable information that Nazi Germany was systematically discriminating against and persecuting Jewish athletes. [128]

The Yale Athletic Board, like its Harvard counterpart, raised funds for the American Olympic athletes competing in Berlin. It sponsored a swimming meet in the campus gymnasium for this purpose. President Angell, himself a member of the Yale Athletic Board, defended the use of Yale facilities to provide funds for participants in the Berlin Olympics. He declared that once the American Olympic Committee decided to send a team to Berlin, the issue was settled. Angell noted that both Harvard and Princeton "felt it expedient to contribute to the expenses of the American group" traveling to Nazi Germany. [129]

The Yale Daily News and Daily Princetonian editorial boards joined the Harvard Crimson in opposing the boycott of the Berlin Olympics. The Yale Daily News dismissed as "absurd" the call of Jeremiah Mahoney, president of the U.S. Amateur Athletic Union, that the United States withdraw from participation. The Daily News argued that it was not clear that Nazi Germany had discriminated against Jewish athletes, and, even if it had, it was "highly questionable whether that would be any concern of the participating nations." Moreover, the Yale editors asserted, boycotting the Olympics implied "that no intercourse of any kind with Germany should be tolerated, that scientists, artists, men of letters, as well as athletes, should have nothing to do with Nazidom." [130]

Princeton's student newspaper contemptuously dismissed what it called "the almost ridiculous protests of those favoring an Olympic boycott." The Daily Princetonian declared in an editorial that advocates of a boycott made any "true sportsman or true American righteously ashamed that the United States" included in its population individuals so "narrow and selfish." Their arguments against participation in the Berlin games were "as groundless as they are warped." Just as Presidents Conant, Angell, and Butler had claimed that Nazi policies should not influence relationships among academics, the Daily Princetonian editors insisted that "[a]thletics have nothing to do with politics or race." [131]

The Berlin Olympics represented a significant propaganda triumph for Nazi Germany, which used them to project an image of modernism and efficiency. Its athletes accumulated more points than those of the United States, Italy's more than France's, and Japan's more than Britain's. Many concluded from the point totals and the frenzied Nazi crowds in the stadium that the Fascist societies were more dynamic than the seemingly decadent Western democracies, and that they represented the "wave of the future." [132]

Believing that Nazi universities still remained part of the "learned world," President Conant in March 1937 again responded favorably to an invitation from the University of Goettingen to send a delegate to its bicentennial celebration, also scheduled for "Purge Day," June 30, 1937. Goettingen prior to 1933 had been arguably the world's most prestigious university in physics and mathematics, but the Nazi transformation of German higher education had severely damaged its reputation. Goettingen had driven out its Jewish professors under the racial ruling applicable to civil servants. They included several of the world's most eminent scientists, like Richard Courant, Nobel laureate James Franck, and future Nobel laureate Max Born, directors of three of Goettingen's four institutes for physics and mathematics. In late 1933, Franz Boas observed that "the destruction of mathematics in the University of Goettingen ... was accomplished without a protest" from its non-Jewish faculty. [133]

Speaking for Harvard, Conant's secretary, Stephen H. Stackpole, announced that the university planned to be represented at Goettingen for the same reason it had chosen to send a delegate to Heidelberg the previous year. He quoted Conant's June 18, 1936, statement to alumni that" [i]n my opinion it was never more urgent than at the present moment to emphasize the unity of the learned world." [134]

Harvard astronomy professor Harlow Shapley informed Conant that "never in the history of the world has the gutting and disgrace of a scientific school been made so obvious as in the wrecking of the Institute[ s] for Mathematical and Physical Sciences at Gottingen." Shapley at that moment was attempting to raise funds to provide for the support of "a brilliant young astrophysicist," Martin Schwarzschild, formerly of Goettingen and at that time exiled in Oslo. TheNazis had barred Schwarzschild from using Goettingen's observatory and library, even though he was the son of Germany's "greatest astrophysicist and astronomer in recent times," who had "loyally helped the Germans murder thousands of Americans during the Great War." [135]

By early April 1937, every English university had announced its refusal to send a delegate to Goettingen, except for Durham, whose chancellor, the Marquess of Londonderry, was considered Nazi Germany's greatest friend in British society. The New York Times reported that "Cambridge's refusal was almost a rebuke to Goettingen for having sent the invitation." [136]

Although Harvard's initial reaction to the invitation was favorable, not many American universities expressed interest in sending delegates. Among prestigious universities, only MIT announced it would be represented. Even there, many students fiercely protested their administration's decision. The MIT student newspaper, the Tech, bitterly denounced President Karl Compton's position, declaring that, "[i]n lending the name of a leading American scientific school to the Goettingen fete," MIT was "placing a feather in the cap of the educational gangsters ... who control the present German system of schooling." The Goettingen bicentennial was not "a scientific meeting" in which MIT sent "a group of professors to exchange technological information and ideas," but a "Nazi celebration." [137]

In early May I 9 37, President Conant and the Harvard Corporation decided to send greetings to the University of Goettingen instead of a delegate but planned to keep the press from learning that until June. The news was, however, quickly leaked to the Boston Globe, which reported it on May 5. Harvard's letter of greeting to Goettingen expressed "sincere sorrow" at not being able to send a delegate and conveyed "the most fraternal of feelings." The Dallas Morning News noted that the messages Yale and Princeton sent Goettingen declining their invitations "were much more strongly negative" than Harvard's. [138]

Although President Conant did send Goettingen a warm letter of greeting, Harvard's official alumni publication and the Harvard Crimson expressed regret that the university would not be represented at the bicentennial. The Harvard Alumni Bulletin in an editorial criticized the administration's decision as "too much like a breaking off of communications." True to form, the Crimson declared that the administration had been "downright discourteous" to Goettingen. [139]

Irritated by the Harvard Alumni Bulletin's criticism, Jerome D. Greene, secretary to the Harvard Corporation, insisted in a letter to its editor that the university's not sending a delegate to the Goettingen celebration in no way implied "unfriendliness or disapproval." He explained that the usual procedure when a foreign university staged such an event was to send greetings: "If they can be sent by the hand of a delegate, so much the better." But sending a representative often proved too expensive, and sometimes an appropriate delegate was not available. Greene noted that he was preparing only that week to send cordial greetings to a provincial university in Britain, accompanied by a statement regretting that Harvard was unable to send a delegate. He emphasized that many of the universities that Harvard had invited to its tercentenary events could not afford to be represented by a delegate and just sent "cordial greetings." Greene concluded: "It is annoying to have both the Crimson and the Bulletin ignore these facts and represent Harvard as having 'refused' to send a delegate" to Goettingen. [140]

Greene repeated to President Conant shortly afterward that it was "the height of absurdity" for the Crimson, the Bulletin, and the press to have interpreted "the mere fact that a delegate was not going" to the Goettingen celebration as a "refusal." He even noted that Conant's office had informed him that Business School dean Wallace Donham was to be Harvard's delegate to Goettingen, and then a day or two later the office notified him that Donham was unable to go. [141] Greene again emphasized that Harvard's failing to send a delegate to Goettingen should in no way be interpreted as an "insult": "If we sent a delegate to every institution that sends us an invitation for an anniversary ... we could keep several professors busy the whole year doing very little else." [142]

Representatives of seven American colleges and universities, most notably MIT, were present at the Goettingen bicentennial festivities, held in what the New York Times called "a thoroughly National Socialist atmosphere." At the opening ceremony, Goettingen students in Hitler Guard uniforms stood smartly at attention as the swastika was raised to the tune of the Nazi anthem, the Horst Wessel song. The town streets "rang with the tramp of marching Storm Troopers." Goettingen awarded honorary degrees to two American professors, including A. B. Faust, head of Cornell University's German Department, who gave the rector the Nazi salute. [143]

Germany's education minister, Bernhard Rust, wearing the brown uniform of a Nazi party district leader, delivered the two principal bicentennial addresses, both of them intensely antisemitic. In the first, he proclaimed that "the future of science was the principle of race." When he finished speaking, Goettingen's rector rose to exclaim, "We honor and strengthen ourselves in that we cry, 'Our Fuehrer Adolf Hitler, sieg heil!'" The assembled scholars answered him with three lusty "heils." Two days later, Minister Rust lectured the American representatives that commitment to personal liberty invariably led to "dictatorship of the masses," followed by an even worse dictatorship of the Jews. He denounced the Jews as "world wanderers who know no fatherland." [144]

From 1933 through 1937, as the Nazi menace steadily increased and as Germany's savage persecution of Jews was widely reported in the United States, President Conant's administration at Harvard was complicit in enhancing the prestige of the Hitler regime by seeking and maintaining friendly and respectful relations with Nazi universities and leaders. The Harvard administration refrained from supporting protests against fascism and sometimes suppressed them, as when it directed campus police to tear down anti-Nazi fliers posted during Hanfstaengl's visit to the university. Harvard student leaders, notably those associated with the Harvard Crimson, on occasion even surpassed the administration in their desire to foster amicable relations between the university and the Nazi regime. When President Conant -- who admitted that he "was neither an interventionist nor an isolationist" until well after Germany launched its Western offensive in 1940 -- urged U.S. material assistance for Britain, the Crimson strongly condemned him, and much of the student body opposed him. [145] Reporting on the waves of violent attacks on Jews that broke out in Berlin in July 1935, New York Times correspondent Frederick T. Birchall noted that "anti-Semitism in its worst form is in the saddle" in Germany, and that "there is nothing -- save, perhaps, some echo of world opinion -- to exercise the least check upon it." [146] It is truly shameful that the administrative, alumni, and student leaders of America's most prominent university, who were in a position to influence American opinion at a critical time, remained indifferent to Germany's terrorist campaign against the Jews and instead on many occasions assisted the Nazis in their efforts to gain acceptance in the West.
Site Admin
Posts: 33729
Joined: Thu Aug 01, 2013 5:21 am

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

Postby admin » Sat Jul 28, 2018 9:18 pm

Part 1 of 2

3. Complicity and Conflict: Columbia University's Response to Fascism, 1933-1937

On the night of May 10, 1933, shortly after Hitler assumed power in Germany, Nazi students staged massive public book burnings at universities across the Reich, an act that dramatically communicated to the world their opposition to free inquiry and their intense antisemitism. In the capital, students marched in a torchlight parade beside trucks decorated with caricatures of Jews, carrying many of the world's foremost works of scholarship and literature to the bonfire set up before the University of Berlin. The Nazis had spent weeks raiding libraries and bookstores, specifically targeting for confiscation books by Jewish authors, including Sigmund Freud and Albert Einstein, as well as those of non-Jews like Thomas Mann, Erich Maria Remarque, Jack London, and Emile Zola. Sinclair Lewis, at the time the only American to win the Nobel Prize for Literature, declared that the Nazis had condemned to the flames "the noblest books produced by Germany in the last twenty years." As the students, amid Nazi salutes, hurled book after book into the bonfire, Nazi propaganda minister Josef Goebbels proclaimed from a swastika-draped podium, "Jewish intellectualism is dead!" [1]

That night the Nazis burned tens of thousands of books they called "un-German" in sixty "midnight funeral pyres," an event New York Evening Post correspondent H. R. Knickerbocker, reporting from the scene in Berlin, compared to the torching of the renowned library in Alexandria, Egypt, in the seventh century C.E. and the Spanish Inquisition's destruction of "heterodox literature." In the West, some of those reading of the German bonfires undoubtedly recalled Heinrich Heine's prescient warning more than a century before: "Where books are burned, in the end people will be burned too." [2]

The Columbia Spectator, student newspaper of Columbia University, upon learning of the German bonfires, reported that the Nazis had burned the works of Columbia professor Franz Boas, a world-renowned anthropologist and a Jew who had condemned Nazi theories of Aryan supremacy. Among his works that enraged the Nazis was a 1925 article titled "Nordic Nonsense." Boas had argued that social environment rather than "race" determined a person's intellectual capabilities, and that "German civilization" was the product of "innumerable cultures influencing it." The University of Kiel, where Boas earned a Ph.D. in 1881, removed his books from its library, prior to staging its own book burning. Kiel had awarded Boas an honorary medical doctorate about a year before the Nazis took power, which he, at the time of the book burnings, "with a wave of his hand," announced it could take back. [3]

Columbia students had already staged campus protests against the Nazi regime's violence against Jews, which began as soon as Hitler became Germany's chancellor on January 30, 1933. In March 1933 Columbia's Jewish Students Society (JSS) collected more than 500 signatures on a petition denouncing these outrages, which "recall the blackest hours of the Dark Ages." Columbia's advisors to Protestant and Catholic students both signed the petition, which demanded "concerted action" against Nazi antisemitism. A Columbia student contingent also reserved seating at Madison Square Garden for the mass rally against Nazism that the American Jewish Congress had scheduled for the next week. The Columbia Spectator editorial board, alarmed by the German government's recent announced expulsion of fifteen Jews from university faculty positions, called on the Columbia administration to hire them as professors, a proposal the administration did not consider. [4]

Seven months after the book burnings, Columbia's administration, led by President Nicholas Murray Butler, warmly welcomed to campus Dr. Hans Luther, Nazi Germany's ambassador to the United States. Luther had accepted an invitation to lecture on his government's foreign policy, extended by the university's Institute of Arts and Sciences. The Columbia Social Problems Club, a student organization, immediately challenged the administration when it learned of the invitation to Ambassador Luther to speak on campus. It declared that the administration's plan to hold an official reception for Hitler's emissary suggested indifference to Nazi crimes. [5]

Dismissing the student criticism, President Butler indicated that he held Ambassador Luther in high esteem. He declared that Luther "is the official diplomatic representative to the Government of the United States on the part of the government of a friendly people" and was entitled to "the greatest courtesy and respect." Butler announced that the Nazi ambassador was a "gentleman," and that Columbia would provide him with "a welcome appropriate to his distinguished position." He was pleased to receive any guest like Ambassador Luther who was "intelligent, honest, and well-mannered"; he did not care what his views were. [6]

FIGURE 3.1.Nazi Germany's ambassador to the United States, Dr. Hans Luther (front row center), in Washington, D.C., April 21, 1933. With him in the front row, left to right: Dr. Rudolf Leitner, counselor of the German embassy; Gen. Friedrich von Boetticher, military attache; Richard Southgate, U.S. State Department; and Dr. Johann Lohman, secretary of the German embassy. Courtesy of AP images.

A year later, in November 1934, the Columbia League for Industrial Democracy, another student group, invited anti-Nazi refugee Gerhart Seger, a former Social Democratic deputy in the German Reichstag, to speak on campus and asked President Butler to join him on the podium and present his views on Nazism. Seger, whom the Nazis had arrested soon after they took power, had escaped from the Oranienburg concentration camp near Berlin after six months' imprisonment. He had changed trains nine times before he managed to slip by storm troopers into the mountains of Czechoslovakia. Shortly afterward, Seger had embarked on a lecture tour of the United States, where he provided Americans with one of the first eyewitness accounts of Germany under azi rule. Although President Butler could have used this opportunity to publicly proclaim opposition to Nazism and show his support for a courageous adversary of Hitler, he declined to appear at the presentation, chaired by Professor Reinhold Niebuhr of Union Theological Seminary. An audience of 300 heard Seger declare that "sadism and cruelty" beyond anyone's expectation prevailed in Germany's concentration camps. [7]

From 1933 to 1937, as the Hitler regime savagely persecuted Jews and political opponents, forced many of the world's most prominent scholars into exile, and made Nazi racial ideology the foundation of university studies, Dr. Nicholas Murray Butler, Columbia's president from 1902 to 1945, failed on numerous occasions to take a principled stand against barbarism. As president of the Carnegie Foundation for International Peace, winner of the Nobel Peace Prize in 1931, and head of one of the nation's leading universities, Butler was more widely known to the public than any leader of American higher education during the 1930S. Long prominent in Republican politics and a candidate for that party's presidential nomination in 1920, he often traveled to conferences abroad and met with world leaders. The media gave his comments on international affairs considerable attention. He was therefore in a position to exert significant influence in shaping American views of Nazi Germany.

Although many students and some faculty at Columbia demanded that the university express public opposition to Hitler and assist German exiles, for several years President Butler remained largely indifferent to the Nazis' terrorist campaign against the Jews. Over a year after Hitler became chancellor, the Columbia Spectator issued Columbia's president a stinging rebuke: "The reputation of this University has suffered ... because of the remarkable silence of its President, Dr. Nicholas Murray Butler, with regard to the Hitler government."8 On several occasions, Butler lashed out viciously against Columbia students who publicly protested Nazi crimes. Butler and leading members of his administration failed to grasp the impact of Nazism on German higher education, and they participated in high-profile events and programs the Hitler regime sponsored to improve its image in the West.

Failing to grasp the nature and implications of Nazism, Butler insisted that it represented a "complete contradiction to the traditions, the interests and the ideals of historic Germany." In July 1934, he claimed that the Hitler regime was a very transient phenomenon and predicted that the "Historic Germany" he so admired was even then reasserting itself. He did not acknowledge any continuity between Germany's earlier authoritarianism, antisemitism, and militarism and that of the Nazis. or did he recognize how widespread the collaboration with Nazism was in the German Lutheran and Catholic churches, assuming both to be bulwarks of opposition to Hitler. The next year he expressed hope that if England and France granted Nazi Germany "some concessions to salve its feelings" on such matters as war guilt and the "internal administration of certain German rivers," Hitler might well cooperate in "efforts to settle the problems of Europe." In 1936 he continued to place much of the blame for Nazism's rise on the Allies' alleged lack of fairness at Versailles and the failure of England and France "to disarm." [9]

A longtime admirer of Benito Mussolini, President Butler also sought to establish strong ties between Columbia and Italian Fascist leaders and student emissaries. He aggressively defended the university's Casa Italiana (which housed the Italian Department) when, in late 1934 and 1935, charges by liberals and anti-Mussolini Italian exiles that the Casa constituted a principal center for the dissemination of Fascist propaganda in the United States received national attention.

President Butler's unwillingness to take a principled stand against the Hitler regime when he had the opportunity to do so was influenced both by his antisemitism, privately expressed, and by economic conservatism and hostility to trade unionism. Professor Fritz Stern, a refugee from Nazi Germany who held Columbia's prestigious Seth Low chair and who first encountered Butler in 1943 as a Columbia freshman, called him "a closet anti-Semite." [10] Butler considered Columbia "a Christian institution," and he spearheaded elite universities' efforts to sharply reduce Jewish enrollment during the early twentieth century, a development Upton Sinclair likened to an "academic pogrom." [11]

Under Butler, Columbia was the first American institution of higher learning to establish an anti-Jewish quota, using nonacademic admissions criteria. During the 1910s, the Butler administration introduced methods to screen out academically qualified Jewish students, such as personal interviews conducted by non-Jewish administrators or alumni, a psychological test, and requiring applicants to list their religion and parents' birthplaces. Columbia also discriminated against public school applicants from the disproportionately Jewish New York City and favored those from boarding schools that excluded Jews. Following this approach, within two years Butler reduced by half the percentage of Jews in Columbia's student body in the early 1920s. [12]

FIGURE 3.2. Columbia University president Nicholas Murray Butler and his daughter, Sarah Butler. With permission of the University Archives, Columbia University in the City of New York.

Nonetheless, because of Columbia's ew York City location and the preference of the elite families there for Harvard, Yale, and Princeton, the percentage of Jewish undergraduates remained larger than that of its peer institutions. [13] This, along with the surrounding urban environment, where the Nazi takeover in Germany immediately sparked highly conspicuous mass protest, explains why student anti-fascist activism at Columbia exceeded that at other leading universities. Several Jewish students became prominent on the Columbia Spectator, including two editors-in-chief, Arnold Beichman (1933-34) and James A. Wechsler (1934-35), who went on to distinguished journalistic careers at PM and the New York Post, both liberal, strongly anti-fascist dailies.

FIGURE 3.3. Columbia Spectator managing board, 1934-35. With permission of the University Archives, Columbia University in the City of New York.

Butler's discomfort with public anti-Nazi activities at Columbia was influenced in part by the disproportionately Jewish involvement in them. Strongly committed to upper-class formality and decorum, and repression of emotion in public, Butler found repellent the intensity and verbal bluntness of student activists, traits he undoubtedly also associated with Jews. Roger Chase, Columbia Spectator editor in April 1936, profiling Butler as an "Academic Napoleon," reported that he "continually inveighs" against the "unmannerliness of his students." Chase asserted that Butler, who deliberately avoided contact with students, was distinctly uncomfortable with grassroots protest, equating it with "mob action." [14]

Eschewing even the least conspicuous forms of anti-Nazi protest, President Butler ignored (and violated) the boycott of German goods and shipping initiated by Jewish organizations soon after Hitler came to power. In March 1933 the Jewish War Veterans of the United States began the boycott, which in May was embraced by Samuel Untermyer's League for the Defense of Jewish Rights (later the Non-Sectarian Anti-Nazi League) and joined in August 1933 by the American Jewish Congress. In some European ports, dock workers began refusing to unload ships flying the swastika flag. [15]

The boycott of German shipping had a significant immediate impact. In July 1933, the chairman of the executive board of the Hamburg-American Line, one of Germany's major shipping companies, conceded that the boycott "has severely hurt the Hamburg-American's business and is continuing to hurt it and German shipping generally." The boycott also inflicted serious financial damage on Nazi Germany's other major shipping line, the North German Lloyd, whose chairman that month acknowledged that traffic was "much shrunken" and "painted a gloomy picture of the near future." [16]

Yet between 1934 and 1937, President Butler regularly booked passage for trans-Atlantic voyages on North German Lloyd liners that flew the swastika flag, and he encouraged Columbia to engage in academic exchanges with Nazi Germany. Butler ignored the German shipping lines' discharge of their Jewish employees in 1933, and U.S. representative Samuel Dickstein's contention that they smuggled Nazi propaganda into the United States. [17]

Columbia and Barnard sent many students to study in Nazi Germany and on tours of the Third Reich, which the Nazis carefully supervised. Although the Hitler government sent to foreign campuses only politically committed Nazis, Columbia and Barnard, like Harvard, Yale, Princeton, and the other Seven Sisters colleges, actively participated in student exchanges with German universities, ignoring the calls by anti-fascists from the very beginning that they be terminated. Less than a year after Hitler came to power, Professor Franz Boas demanded a U.S. Congressional investigation of German exchange students at American universities, charging that they were "appointed agents of Nazi propaganda." [18]

Barnard's German exchange students for both the 1936-37 and 1937-38 academic years energetically championed Nazism there. Ilse Dunst in January 1937 proclaimed in the Barnard Bulletin that freedom of speech prevailed in the Third Reich and that Hitler had restored pride to a Germany "broken down in spirit," and she gushed, "We love our leader." Her successor, Ilse Wiegand, told the Barnard Bulletin that Jews could only be "guests" in Germany because "Jewish blood" was different from that of Germans. She asserted that anti-Jewish discrimination was justified because Jews had acquired too much control over money. [19]

President Butler's distaste for campus anti-Nazi protestors, and the extremely harsh punishment he inflicted on some of them, was reinforced by his disdain for the labor movement, which conservatives associated with picketing and public protest. Sociologist E. Digby Baltzell stated that Nicholas Murray Butler "loved the rich with a passion." [20] Butler respected Nazi diplomats like Ambassador Hans Luther and enjoyed the company of the Italian Fascist consuls-general in New York, representatives of regimes that had crushed the trade unions. Many Columbia students involved in combating fascism on campus also joined the picket lines of striking campus employees.

As early as May 1933, Columbia students had launched a public protest against their administration's cultivating friendly ties with Nazi Germany's universities, which had immediately expelled Jewish professors and sharply curtailed Jewish student enrollment. A week after the book burnings in German universities, seven Columbia graduate students at the College of Physicians and Surgeons denounced Columbia's New College, the new undergraduate division of Teachers College, for arranging to send a delegation of its students to universities in the Third Reich to study educational techniques. The protesting graduate students, in a statement to the Columbia Spectator, declared that the only "educational techniques" the visitors could learn at the Nazified universities were how to suppress "freedom of thought and liberalism in art." They emphasized that Nazi Germany had exiled its leading scholars and banished "the wisdom of the past ... from its libraries," returning the country to "medieval standards." Ignoring the protest, Dean Thomas Alexander continued to send New College students for training in Nazi Germany over the next several years. [21]

Dean Alexander ardently defended some of Hitler's noxious policies and himself visited Nazi Germany in 1934. He tried to persuade the John Day Company to publish a translation he had made of Hitler's speeches, but its editors rejected it as Nazi propaganda. In a January 1934 interview with the Columbia Spectator, Dean Alexander expressed "unqualified approval" of the Nazi sterilization policy in Germany. The five members of the genetics division of Columbia's Zoology Department responded by immediately condemning all of the Nazis' sterilization programs, and the Columbia Spectator denounced Dean Alexander in an editorial. [22]

The Columbia administration's invitation to Nazi Germany's ambassador Hans Luther to speak on campus sparked angry protests from many students in November and December 1933 and precipitated a massive demonstration the night of the lecture, climaxing in violent clashes as police sought to drive pickets away from the auditorium. Student threats to picket Columbia's Faculty Club caused the university's Deutsches Haus to cancel plans to hold a luncheon there to honor Ambassador Luther. [23]

Seven faculty members -- all but one of whom were instructors, lecturers, or assistants -- also publicly denounced the administration's bringing Luther to Columbia. They challenged President Butler's claim that the invitation was justified because the Nazi emissary was a "well-mannered gentleman." The faculty members insisted that it was their duty to protest against the persecution and dismissal of professors in Germany, the book burnings, and "the prostitution of such sciences as genetics and anthropology to justify the Nazi philosophy." They also expressed solidarity with "our colleagues in German prisons and concentration camps" and urged that efforts be undertaken to obtain their release. [24]

The day of Luther's speech, the Columbia Spectator issued an editorial entitled" Silence Gives Consent, Dr. Butler" that bitterly denounced the Columbia president's failure to criticize the Nazis: "We know of no instance where Dr. Nicholas Murray Butler has forcefully taken a stand on the policies of the Hitler government." It contrasted this with his repeated denunciations of Soviet policies. Calling attention to the Nazis' destruction of democracy, persecution of "non-Aryans," and burning of books, the Spectator declared, "This is the government which President Butler by his silence has given the impression that he condones." [25]

That many Columbia students sharply disagreed with their administration's unwillingness to take a public stand against the German government was apparent the night of Ambassador Luther's address at the Teachers College auditorium before an overflow audience of more than 1,200. Outside, where it was so cold that many pickets were unable to hold signs, 1,000 demonstrators, largely students from Columbia, Barnard, and other New York City colleges and universities, expressed vigorous opposition to Nazism. Inside, student protestors were surprised to see that President Butler was absent, and instead Dr. Charles Hyde of Columbia's Institute of Arts and Sciences introduced Luther. (One of the protest leaders later mocked Butler for ducking an exchange with students over a critically important issue in order to attend "an athletic banquet!") The central thrust of Luther's speech was that "the Nazi government was not following a policy of oppression of any type," and that "Germany had exhibited the most peaceful attitude of any nation." [26]

Protestors inside the auditorium did not wait to demonstrate sharp opposition to Nazi educational policies. Early in Luther's presentation, a young woman interrupted him by yelling, "Why has every dissenting professor been exiled from Germany? .. Why have the books of Boas and other Columbia professors been burned? .. Why are there quotas for Jewish students in German universities?" Policemen promptly seized her and carried her "wriggling" from the hall. Soon afterward, the police forcibly ejected two other women, one of them a Columbia German instructor, for shouting anti-Nazi slogans. [27]

Outside, emotions ran high as the police "repeatedly hurled back charges of the demonstrators," who sought to move closer to the auditorium, precipitating a series of fist fights that threatened to escalate into a riot. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) the next day denounced the police for suppressing speech and for excessively rough treatment of the demonstrators. The ACLU charged that the police had driven cars into the crowd to break it up and had pulled speakers from soapboxes. [28]

Although Luther's claims that Nazi Germany was "democratic" and had only "peaceful intentions" received prominent coverage in the New York press, no Columbia administrator even commented on what he had said, much less criticized his remarks. President Butler maintained his customary silence, while Dean Alexander of Columbia's New College called the anti-Luther demonstration "an example of bad manners." Russell Potter, head of Columbia's Institute of Arts and Sciences, similarly denounced the hecklers as "ill-mannered children." [29] Neither Butler nor any other Columbia administrator showed any interest in the ACLU's charges that the police had violated Columbia students' rights to freedom of speech and assembly and used excessive force against them.

In January 1934, the American Committee Against Fascist Oppression in Germany circulated a letter that bitterly denounced President Butler for failing to speak out in his annual report for 1933 against the massive damage that the Hitler regime had inflicted on Germany's universities, and its anti-intellectualism. The Committee's letter declared that Butler, "noted educator," had been silent when, "[l]ast spring the greatest scientists and scholars of Germany were ousted from their University chairs [and] Nobel prize winners, masters of art, internationally famous authors and dramatist poets, and educators ... were exiled from their homes." It further noted that, even though "[t]he German government declared itself unalterably opposed to any form of education not designed to further the purposes of a militaristic state,"

Dr. Butler said nothing. His report makes no mention of these matters.
The German government publicly burned the books of its greatest authors.
Dr. Butler said nothing ....
At what reality does the President of Columbia gaze? [30]

Two months later, Professor William B. Dinsmoor, executive officer in charge of Columbia's Fine Arts Department, notified Jerome Klein, a Jewish instructor in art history and one of seven faculty members who had signed the appeal against the Luther invitation, that he would not be reappointed. Klein's son recalled that his father had told him that signatures on the petition protesting the Luther visit had been "arranged in a large circle, so none would be first." The purpose of this was to prevent the administration from singling out any individual as responsible for

FIGURE 3.4. Columbia fine arts instructor Jerome Klein, whose appointment was terminated by President Nicholas Murray Butler because he protested the administration's welcome to Nazi Germany's ambassador, Hans Luther. Courtesy of George Klein.

leading or initiating the protest. However, "through a student's careless error," Jerome Klein's campus mailbox appeared as "the return address for the petition." According to Klein's son, his father believed that President Butler held him responsible for the petition, and retaliated by having him dismissed. Professor Dinsmoor was vague in explaining why Klein was being discharged, citing only a departmental reorganization. [31]

Jerome Klein had taught at Columbia for seven years and was the only member of the Fine Arts Department who specialized in modern painting. His courses were highly popular on campus. Dinsmoor did not inform Klein that he was not reappointing him until March 1934, after the Barnard catalogue already listed him as scheduled to teach courses open to both Columbia and Barnard students. When Klein learned he would not have a job at Columbia, it was too late for him to secure other academic employment for the next year. [32]

The announcement that Klein would not be reappointed sparked a mass protest at Columbia, spearheaded by his present and former students. The Columbia Spectator, under editor-in-chief James A. Wechsler, demanded to know why a "competent, effective member" of the faculty had been discharged "merely at the whim of the head of the department," and it denounced the administration's silence on the matter. Some on campus claimed that "racial prejudice" (meaning antisemitism) had been involved in the dismissal. Dr. Addison Cutler of the Columbia Economics Department, joining Wechsler on the speakers' stand at a protest rally to demand Klein's reappointment, noted that the administration had not dared question Klein's competence. Dinsmoor brushed aside the effort to protect Klein's job, declaring that "the whole question has entirely nothing to do with the Spectator or the student body." [33]

Correspondence between Dinsmoor and President Butler several months later strongly suggests that Klein was dismissed for political rather than academic reasons. In a "frank estimate" of the twelve faculty members in the Fine Arts Department, Dinsmoor claimed that few were adequate teachers and identified Meyer Schapiro, later one of the world's most prominent art historians, as its only productive scholar. (Klein was mentioned only as not being renewed.) Dinsmoor found even Schapiro distasteful, a "firebrand ... immersed in communistic ideas" and "quite impossible as an undergraduate teacher." [34] Schapiro, then an instructor, had, with Klein, been one of the seven faculty members to sign the appeal against Luther.

In May 1934 President Butler announced that Klein was not needed on the faculty and terminated his academic career. After what his son described as "a very lean year trying to feed himself and a very young child," Klein "began to review art for newspapers, and eventually became the art critic for the New York Post." He syndicated his column to 150 newspapers. [35]

Although the Nazis had hurled the works of one of Columbia's most distinguished professors into their bonfires in May 1933, President Butler never assisted in efforts to establish the American Library of Nazi Banned Books, which was inaugurated in December 1934 in Brooklyn, New York. By contrast, during the 1920s he had led the national campaign to rebuild the 300-year-old library of the University of Louvain in Belgium, a major "center of Catholic learning" headed by Cardinal Mercier of Malines, burned by German troops when they invaded that nation in August 1914. Butler, as chairman of the National Committee of the United States for the Restoration of the University of Louvain, for years after World War I energetically solicited funds from 640 American colleges and universities to purchase books and documents and erect a new building to replace what the Germans had destroyed. [36]

Butler involved Columbia directly in the Louvain campaign. He set a quota of $35,000 for alumni to donate "in order to complete Columbia's part of the monument which will be the permanent protest of America's institutions of learning against the wanton destruction of a University Library." He also asked Columbia students each to contribute $1. [37]

To help generate national publicity for his Louvain campaign, President Butler personally bestowed on Cardinal Mercier an honorary Doctor of Laws degree before 10,000 spectators in an elaborate ceremony on the steps of Columbia's Low Library in October 1919. Cardinal Mercier denounced the Germans as "savages" guilty of "crimes against the rights alike of Heaven and humanity." [38]

In 1921 Butler traveled to Belgium to lay the cornerstone for the University of Louvain's new library, amid "the fanfare of trumpets," at a ceremony at which King Albert I presided. The new library's design was replete with Christian symbols. The facade depicted "Our Lady of Victory, supported by St. George and St. Michael crushing the Evil Spirits," and the tower as supported on its four corners by the beasts or symbols of the Evangelists: the Bull, the Eagle, the Angel, and the Lion. [39]

Although eager to cross the Atlantic to lay Louvain's cornerstone and celebrate Catholic learning, Butler would not undertake the much shorter trip across the East River to the Brooklyn Jewish Center to participate in ceremonies launching the American Library of Nazi Banned Books, the first such facility to be established in the United States. Professor Franz Boas, whose own works the Nazis had burned, served on the American Library's Advisory Committee. No Columbia administrator or trustee participated in the effort, even though several had been prominent in assisting Butler in the Louvain campaign. The first "German library of burned books" had been opened in Paris several months before, on the first anniversary of the Nazi bonfires. It contained books the Nazis had "destroyed, censored, or suppressed. " [40]

None of New Yark's college or university administrators were involved in the American counterpart of the Paris library, except Dr. Alvin Johnson, director of the Graduate Faculty at the New School for Social Research, who served on the Advisory Committee. At the inauguration ceremony, Brooklyn Borough President Raymond V. Ingersoll expressed pride to the audience that Brooklyn would be home to the Library of Nazi Banned Books. World-renowned physicist Albert Einstein, one of the first scholars exiled from Nazi Germany, was the principal speaker, and exiled Social Democratic Prussian minister of justice Kurt Rosenfeld sat on the dais. [41]

During Butler's presidency, Columbia's Casa Italiana, which opened in 1927 as a center for the study of Italian culture and which also housed the Italian Department, was controlled by supporters of Premier Benito Mussolini, who used it to propagandize for Fascism. The Casa Italiana also sponsored student exchanges between Columbia and universities in Fascist Italy and arranged many receptions for Mussolini's emissaries, during which his regime was enthusiastically praised. The Mussolini government supplied most of the furniture for the Casa, with President Butler's consent. Mussolini himself in September 1933 wrote to Professor Giuseppe Prezzolini, director of the Casa from 1930 to 1940: "I am following with interest the work done by the Casa Italiana of Columbia University and I am very pleased with what is being accomplished." Prezzolini translated Mussolini's letter and proudly forwarded it to President Butler. Butler responded by thanking Prezzolini for the "charming message from Mussolini" and noted, "It is pleasant, indeed, to know that he is following our work and appreciates it." [42]

Nicholas Murray Butler was a longtime admirer of Premier Mussolini and enjoyed a warm personal relationship with him for many years. In 193 I President Butler startled many when, in his welcoming address to the incoming freshman class, he declared that "the assumption of power by a virtual dictator whose authority rests upon a powerful and well-organized body of opinion" produced leaders "of far greater intelligence, far stronger character and far more courage than does the system of election." Informed listeners understood at the time that it was Mussolini with whom Columbia's president was "conspicuously impressed." [43] The next year Butler maintained that Mussolini's leadership of the Fascist movement had "brought new life and vigor and power and ambition" to Italy. [44] Butler met with the Italian dictator in Rome several times during the late 1920s and 1930s for cordial conversations about international politics. Escorted by Mussolini's federal secretary, Butler was received by the Florence Fascisti at their clubhouse, and he donated books to its library. As late as January 1938, Butler was pleased to inform a leading Italian-American donor that Premier Mussolini had recently asked him about the Casa and "was much gratified when I told him the work that was being carried forward." [45]

Butler cultivated Mussolini's friendship despite his suppression of opposition parties and newspapers (completed by 1927) and elimination of academic freedom in Italian universities. In 193 I Mussolini enacted a law requiring all professors in Italian universities to join the Fascist party and take the Fascist oath. Public schools indoctrinated students to promote "national aggrandizement [and] power ... the spiritual essence of fascism." The Fascist government made the teaching of Catholic doctrine the "foundation" of public education, and compulsory in the schools. It introduced standard textbooks for the elementary grades that included passages very hostile to Judaism. As early as 1923, opponents of Mussolini voiced fear that the Fascist educational reforms would drive Jews from the schools, both teachers -- because they could not "impart Catholic doctrine" -- and students. [46]
Site Admin
Posts: 33729
Joined: Thu Aug 01, 2013 5:21 am

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

Postby admin » Sat Jul 28, 2018 9:19 pm

Part 2 of 2

Giuseppe Prezzolini, director of the Casa Italiana from 1930 to 1940, and Dino Bigongiari, head of the Columbia Italian Department during the 1930s, were members of the Italian Fascist party (Prezzolini formally joined in 1934). Bigongiari was also a founder in 1923 of the Fascist League of North America and translated the works of leading Italian Fascist theoreticians like Giovanni Gentile and Alfredo Rocco. Prezzolini proudly declared to President Butler in 1935, "I have been for thirty years a friend and admirer of Mussolini." [47]

The other leading members of the Italian Department, Howard Marraro and Peter M. Riccio (whose appointment was at Barnard), were also ardent Fascists. In 1927, Marraro published a book entitled Nationalism in Italian Education that proclaimed, "Fascism is the exaltation and ennoblement of all the elements concurring to form and assure the greatness of Italy," and he praised the Fascist program of education instituted by Mussolini's minister of public instruction, Giovanni Gentile. President Butler contributed the book's foreword, which "cordially commended" the work. Upon his return from a 1934 trip to Italy, Marraro declared, "The labor situation in Italy should be a model for the world." He claimed he had not seen in Italy the "distress and suffering" that then prevailed in the United States. [48] Professor Peter M. Riccio's Columbia dissertation, "On the Threshold of Fascism," sought to establish Prezzolini as a leading intellectual progenitor of Italian Fascism. Italian anti-fascists charged that Riccio's work was "one of the worst and most disgraceful dissertations ever written," a crude Fascist polemic that did not meet even "elementary standards of scholarship." [49]

In the fall of 1934, Professor Riccio had a leading role in bringing a delegation of 350 Italian Fascist university students to the United States for a tour of Eastern and Midwestern campuses, and he served as secretary of the committee in charge of the visit. [50] President Butler made Columbia University one of the thirty American colleges and universities sponsoring the tour. The Italian students considered themselves "official ambassadors from Mussolini." The Nation, a prominent national liberal weekly magazine, charged that the Italian student tour was "a propaganda move designed to win the friendliness of American university students to the fascist cause." [51]

Docking in New York in September 1934 singing the Fascist anthem "Giovinezza," the Italian student delegation made Columbia its first American university stop. Columbia College dean Herbert E. Hawkes officially greeted the Fascist students on President Butler's behalf at the university's McMillin Theatre. Dean Hawkes declared that Americans had "much to learn" from the Italian delegation. [52] When the Italian students encountered pickets from anti-fascist Columbia student groups, they raised their hands in the Fascist salute and sang the "Giovinezza." [53]

About a month later, the Italian consul-general in New York, at a Casa Italiana ceremony, bestowed on Professor Riccio a medal for his devotion to Italian "culture and ideals." As she introduced the honoree, Dean Virginia C. Gildersleeve of Barnard dismissed the concerns of pickets outside the Casa protesting Riccio's statements in the press that Fascism was the best system of government for Italy. She declared emphatically to the audience, "I don't care what Professor Riccio is." [54]

In November 1934, The Nation charged in a series of articles that Columbia's Casa Italiana was "one of the most important sources of fascist propaganda" in the United States. It claimed that the Casa, dominated by Fascist professors, worked closely with Italian government officials to present a favorable image of Mussolini's regime in America. The Nation accused the Casa of regularly sponsoring lectures by Fascists, while denying opponents of Mussolini the opportunity to speak, and even forbidding "student gatherings for discussing aspects of fascist rule." It claimed that Professor Arthur Livingston, the only member of the Italian Department opposed to Mussolini, had been transferred to the French Department. According to the Columbia Spectator, the reassignment had occurred at the insistence of a Fascist donor. [55]

President Butler angrily denied The Nation's charges, labeling them a "hodge-podge of falsehood, misrepresentation, and half-truth," and assured Casa director Prezzolini that he considered them "nonsensical and untrue." He insisted that the Casa was "without political purpose or significance." Butler praised the Italian Department faculty as "distinguished scholars, so recognized on either side of the Atlantic." [56]

Butler had presided over, and participated in, many events at the Casa Italiana and elsewhere featuring Italian Fascist speakers. He gave the welcoming address for Mussolini's official biographer, Margherita Sarfatti, at New York's Waldorf-Astoria Hotel, in which he hailed her as a "second Columbus." [57] Butler officially received at the Casa such emissaries of Mussolini as Foreign Minister Dino Grandi (who also spoke at Columbia's Institute of Arts and Sciences); Ambassador Augusto Rosso, who visited Columbia several times between 1933 and 1936; the director of Italians in foreign countries, Signor Parini; and the Italian consuls-general, along with Fascist scholars like Sarfatti and Marchese Piero Misciattelli. [58]

In an effort to discredit The Nation's charges, officers of Columbia's Graduate Club of Italian Studies announced that the club was inviting Gaetano Salvemini, a distinguished historian exiled by Mussolini who was teaching at Harvard at the time, to speak at the Casa Italiana. Salvemini replied to the Graduate Club that, considering The Nation's charges, he would accept the offer only if Professor Prezzolini, as the Casa's director, personally agreed to invite him. He also asked that the Graduate Club inform President Butler of his request, so that he could not dodge responsibility. But Prezzolini refused to invite Salvemini. He explained to the Graduate Club that Professor Salvemini was a "political troublemaker" whose only purpose in lecturing at Columbia was "to stir up some trouble." [59] As a result, Salvemini, the leading Italian spokesperson for anti-fascism in the United States during the 1930s, never spoke at the Casa Italiana.

Butler shared Prezzolini's desire "to maintain good and friendly relations" with the Mussolini government, which had the support of wealthy Italian-American businessmen whose financial donations to the Casa both men valued highly, and he made no effort on Salvemini's behalf. Prezzolini stated to Butler that had he permitted "anti-Fascist political agitators of the type of Mr. Salvemini" to speak at the Casa, he would not have been able to host Fascists like Margherita Sarfatti and Piero Misciattelli, whom he had invited, he noted, at Butler's own request. [60]

The Columbia Spectator, stating that Columbia stood "gravely indicted" by The Nation's charges, demanded that the administration launch an investigation into Fascist control of the Casa Italiana and accused President Butler of evading the key issues. Protesting Butler's refusal to discuss the matter with campus delegations that asked to meet with him, students began picketing his mansion and Low Library, where his offices were located. [61]

In the midst of the controversy, the Casa Italiana sparked more furor when it held a lavish reception to honor Dr. George Ryan, president of the New York City Board of Education, who had just returned from Rome, which he had visited as guest of the Mussolini government. Dr. Ryan arrived in New York "full of enthusiasm" for Fascist Italy's educational system. The event seemed singularly ill-timed, and The Nation suggested that Prezzolini had set it up "under direct orders from Rome." At the Casa, Ryan's Board of Education colleague William Carlin praised Fascist Italy as "the true successor to the glory of Rome," whose "present educational system has the admiration of the world." [62]

Prezzolini objected to the Casa Italiana's being singled out for not hosting anti-Fascist speakers. He pointed out that Columbia's History Department had not been willing to invite Professor Salvemini to speak either. Columbia's Deutsches Haus, which kept a considerably lower profile than the Casa, although maintaining a friendly attitude toward the Hitler regime, had never invited Albert Einstein to give a lecture, although he was then located nearby at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, New jersey. In fact, as Prezzolini noted, the Deutsches Haus had never invited any German refugee professor to speak. [63]

Returning from Europe in July 1935 on a German liner, President Butler expressed some sympathy for the expansionist designs of Nazi Germany, Fascist Italy, and Japan. He quoted Mussolini as having nearly ten years before personally asked him a "very searching question": must Germany, Italy, and Japan, "because they came later upon the scene" than Britain, France, Russia, and the United States, "be permanently deprived of the opportunities which the other four have long enjoyed?" The former three nations, Butler claimed, unlike the "saturated" ones, needed more territory to provide for population growth and make normal economic development possible. Barnard's Dean Gildersleeve two months later echoed Butler's view, declaring that "the world eventually would be forced to recognize the legitimate needs of Italy and Germany" and permit "their colonization on new land." [64]

Campus protest surpassing even that centering on the Casa Italiana erupted in March 1936 when Columbia's administration immediately accepted the invitation of Germany's University of Heidelberg to send a delegate to its 550th anniversary celebration, scheduled for June 27-30. President Butler had left on February 22 for a five-week trip to the Pacific Coast, and Columbia administrators accepted Heidelberg's invitation in his absence. Frank D. Fackenthal, Columbia's secretary, on March 4 notified Frederick Coykendall, chairman of the Board of Trustees, alumni trustee Archibald Douglas, and Howard McBain, dean of graduate faculties, that the administration was "being bombarded" with protests "from The Spectator, The Columbia Law Review, judge Proskauer [later president of the American Jewish Committee], and Jewish organizations." Fackenthal noted that Columbia's position was the same as that of Harvard's president James B. Conant, who had stated the day before in the New York Times: "The President and Fellows [of Harvard) in accepting the invitation of the University of Heidelberg recognize the ancient ties by which the universities of the world are united and which are independent of the political conditions existing in any country at any particular time." Alarmed by the protests, Fackenthal contacted President Butler, who telegrammed that he should discuss the matter further with Coykendall, Douglas, and McBain. [65]

Fackenthal informed Butler on March 7 that he had met with Coykendall, Douglas, and McBain, who all agreed that Columbia should not withdraw its acceptance. They insisted that "many academic men at Heidelberg and other German universities" must be "distressed by conditions" in German higher education and would derive "some comfort" from "brief companionship" with a "representative from outside." Fackenthal then noted definite acceptance of the invitation by Harvard, Yale, Vassar, Cornell, and "a number of other important" American universities. [66]

Butler then made the decision that Columbia would "stand pat," although he and his administration deliberately did not make his involvement in the matter public. Fackenthal, noting the sharp and persistent protests against acceptance of the invitation from student publications, Jewish organizations, and individual Jews, reported to Butler three weeks later that "[e]veryone assumes that the matter was handled in a routine way during your absence and we have done nothing to contradict that opinion, just so that you might be free to take a fresh start if you choose." [67]

At Columbia, 1,000 students and faculty members signed a petition demanding that the university not participate in the Heidelberg festival, and they were joined by the Student Board (student government) and four fraternities. Several of Columbia's most distinguished professors signed the petition, including Franz Boas, who had attended the University of Heidelberg during the late 1870s; Harold Drey, Nobel Prize winner in chemistry; and Richard Gottheil, a scholar of Semitic languages, as well as anthropologist Julius Lips, a non-Jewish exile from Nazi Germany, who had personally witnessed the 1933 book burning at the University of Cologne. The Columbia Spectator and the Teachers College News also launched editorial campaigns against participation at Heidelberg, unlike the Harvard Crimson and Yale Daily News, which supported their universities' decision to send a delegate. [68]

A committee of nine student leaders from Columbia, Barnard, and Teachers College met with President Butler on March 30 to discuss their opposition to the administration's position. Roger Chase, Columbia Spectator editor-in-chief, reported after the conference that Butler "made it known that acceptance of the Heidelberg invitation had been carried through in his absence and that he had had nothing to do with it." Chase said Butler had promised the student delegation that he would consider their complaint. [69]

Yet on April 29, after a month during which President Butler spoke no further to students about the matter, the Columbia Spectator angrily reported that a "dispatch from Heidelberg" listed Arthur F. J. Remy, Villard professor of Germanic philology, as Columbia's representative at the German university's anniversary celebration. This indicated that Columbia would definitely participate. Roger Chase declared, "The idea of a representative of Columbia University seating himself on the same platform with the monstrous Joseph Goebbels," who would officially greet the delegates, "is utterly obscene." [70]

Butler's choice of Professor Remy as Columbia's delegate to Heidelberg was also provocative. Remy had appeared as a speaker with Nazi Germany's ambassador Hans Luther in December 1933 at an event in which the swastika flag was prominently displayed, the Steuben Society of America's German Day commemoration. New York City's mayor John O'Brien had forbidden the use of a city armory for what he considered a Nazi propaganda celebration. [71]

Franz Boas offered encouragement to the forces opposing Columbia's participation in the Heidelberg celebration when he announced that he would speak at a meeting to commemorate the third anniversary of the Nazi book burnings at the New School for Social Research on May 7. Boas emphasized that his purpose was "to call attention to the situation of science, literature, and art in Germany today." Decades before, Boas had pledged with four fellow Heidelberg students to hold a reunion there on the university's 550th anniversary, but he now declared he would not go to Germany "under any circumstances." [72]

On May 11, the Columbia Spectator noted that the semester ended in a week and asked, "Is Dr. Butler intentionally silent until the critics are gone?" Professor Remy was already en route to represent Columbia at a celebration that the Spectator charged "will be a glorification of Nazism, of persecution [and] blood." For six weeks, the Spectator remarked, Butler had "successfully eluded ... comment on the [Heidelberg] situation." [73]

FIGURE 3.5. Columbia students carry out mock book burning to protest President Butler's sending a delegate to Nazi Germany to participate in the University of Heidelberg's 550th anniversary celebration, May 1936. With permission of the University Archives, Columbia University in the City of New York.

When Butler then closed off any discussion by announcing his refusal to see the committee that had met with him on March 30, about 200 students on May 13 staged a mock book burning on campus. Most of them then proceeded to his mansion, where they held a rally and set up a picket line to protest Columbia's participation in the Heidelberg festival. [74]

Responding by letter on May 29 to a student leader wishing to speak to him about Heidelberg, President Butler emphasized that Columbia's relationships with German universities were "strictly academic" and had "no political implications of any kind." Unable to conceal his irritation with the protest, he lectured, "We may next expect to be told that we must not read Goethe's FAUST, or hear Wagner's LOHENGRIN, or visit the great picture galleries at Dresden, or study Kant's KRITIK, because we so heartily disapprove of the present form of government in Germany." [75]

Heidelberg's 550th anniversary celebration when it was held June 27- 30 was a well-orchestrated Nazi propaganda festival. Town buildings were draped with swastika flags, and Professor Remy and the other foreign delegates proceeded to the opening ceremony through streets "lined with Storm-Troopers, each holding a flaming torch." The New York Times reported that the celebration began with a Nazi military display, "unexpected ... [at] a supposedly academic festival." The Times soon learned the reason for this: "A special Propaganda Ministry office has been established here, from which all orders are issued, and it is now responsible for ... the scheduled events." The university's rector, Wilhelm Groh, declared the first day that the festival's purpose was to provide guests with "a picture of the spiritual life of the new contented and happy Germany." [76]

Propaganda Minister Josef Goebbels presided at the official welcoming reception and dinner for the foreign delegates, which Arthur Remy found "very enjoyable." [77] Remy reported that Goebbels spoke to the assembled delegates "numerous times," and "each time he made no attempt to disguise his expressions of Nazi philosophy." Goebbels and his wife were "very much in evidence" throughout the entire festival. [78]

When the Heidelberg anniversary celebration was over, Arthur Remy reported to the Columbia administration that it had been "dignified and impressive." He declared that "the presence of black or brown uniforms can certainly not be construed as of sinister significance." Remy concluded, "I ... attended a notable academic event and I feel that neither Columbia, nor anyone of the American universities that accepted the invitation to be represented, need offer any apology for its course." [79] The New York Times, by contrast, summed up the festival as one in which "Nazi troops marched; pre-Hitler Germany was criticized; present-day Germany was praised" and emphasized that the University of Heidelberg was just "another cog in the Nazi machine." [80]

Shortly before the Heidelberg celebration, Columbia College dean Herbert E. Hawkes notified Robert Burke, one of the leaders of the mock book burning at Columbia and of the picket line at Butler's mansion, that he was forbidden to register for classes at Columbia in the fall. The reason the administration gave for Burke's expulsion from Columbia was that he had "conducted a disorderly demonstration in front of the [president's] house" and "delivered a speech in which he referred to the President disrespectfully." It also charged that "members of the assemblage shouted disrespectful, blasphemous, and obscene language" and had left placards "in and about the foyer of the President's house." [81] Burke noted that "Dean Hawkes never questioned my personal behavior" but insisted he was responsible for the alleged behavior of other students because he had led the demonstration. [82]

Burke stated that Dean Hawkes's "action was of a political nature," and that the administration sought to suppress students' freedom of speech and assembly. He noted that the other student who had spoken at the demonstration, when threatened with expulsion, had "repudiated the whole affair, and signed a statement to the effect that he would never again lead or be part of any demonstration which might possibly be distasteful to the administration." Burke himself "could not stomach such a flagrant prostitution of my rights as an American citizen." But President Butler upheld the expulsion. [83]

President Butler, Dean Hawkes, and other Columbia administrators were personally uncomfortable with Burke, a "rugged face[d]" Irish-American from Youngstown, Ohio, who was working his way through Columbia. Burke had become a leader of the radical American Student Union (ASU) on campus, and in March 1936 had led a picket line of Columbia students to support striking building service workers employed by the university. Former Columbia Spectator editor-in-chief James A. Wechsler noted that Dean Hawkes "always lamented" that Burke's "manners were not sufficiently elegant." [84]

Burke had struggled to earn his Columbia tuition, working in Youngstown for two years as a truck driver and for one year in a steel mill before he had saved enough to enroll. Burke had developed into a tough amateur boxer good enough to win New York's Golden Gloves middleweight final, and he earned money at Columbia teaching young men to box. Almost alone among Columbia's athletes, he became active in the movement to boycott the 1936 Berlin Olympics. He often worked thirty hours a week outside of class to pay his tuition, "roam[ing] through every conceivable job which promised a dollar or a meal." He washed dogs, and he even sold his blood. [85]

The administration considered Burke's apparently exemplary academic performance irrelevant in expelling him. President Butler insisted that the university was under no contractual obligation to give a diploma for "achievement and excellence" if it disapproved of a person "for any reason whatsoever." [86]

From Youngstown, Burke accused President Butler of using "the methods of fascism" to silence students, and he filed suit to gain readmission to Columbia. He secured the services of Arthur Garfield Hays, one of the nation's preeminent civil liberties attorneys. James A. Wechsler announced that the ASU would organize a nationwide protest against the expulsion, and James T. Farrell, author of the Studs Lanigan trilogy and one of America's leading novelists, came to Burke's support. [87]

Butler argued that the disciplinary powers of the president and deans could be "exercised without dispute or debate," and no court had the authority to interfere. In 2008, James A. Wechsler's widow, Nancy Wechsler, herself a participant in the protest against Hans Luther's appearance at Columbia in 1933, recalled that Butler was "a highly egotistical man, not to be disobeyed." John G. Saxe, Columbia's attorney, informed administrators that the university's defense would rest on Burke's having contracted, in enrolling as a student, to abide by Columbia's statutes, which he had violated by leading a disorderly demonstration at President Butler's house. Saxe denounced Arthur Garfield Hays as "one of the agitators of the American Civil Liberties League [sic]." [88]

During the 1930s, universities defined academic freedom very narrowly, to cover only professors' statements concerning scholarship in their areas of expertise. [89] Nicholas Murray Butler asserted in 1934 that academic freedom was only for "competent scholars," not students. Academic freedom did not "imply freedom to act in contempt of the accepted standards of morals and good manners." [90] As Robert Cohen noted, this approach "enabled college administrators to justify suppressing any forms of speech which they found distasteful." The courts in this period invariably agreed with university administrators that students were not entitled to academic freedom. They gave them "virtual carte blanche to discipline and even expel troublesome undergraduates and to do so without even a semblance of due process." [91]

Columbia students, joined by those from other New York City campuses, during the fall of 1936 staged a series of rallies to demand Burke's readmission, including a torchlight parade for academic freedom. They set up all-night picket lines in front of President Butler's mansion. At City College of New York, dean of men John R. Turner banned a campus demonstration for Burke because it was not "in good taste." Supporters of Burke held a mock trial of President Butler and his administration on the charge of "willfully undermining the liberties of Columbia students." The judges, who included Dr. Reinhold Niebuhr and playwright Maxwell Anderson, voted that Columbia had "unfairly expelled" Burke. [92]

Because courts accorded university administrators almost unlimited power to discipline students, the protests were of no avail. In October 1937, Burke dropped his lawsuit. During the summer of 1936 he had gone to work for the Committee for Industrial Organization (CIO) in Youngstown. Burke helped lead the CIO's organizing drive at the Republic Steel plant there, during which company thugs beat and injured him. In May 1937 he "came out of the West in a muddy Ford coupe" to again speak at Columbia, this time on "labor, steel, and industrial unionism." [93] When the Columbia Young Communist League chapter announced in February 1938 that Burke would speak under its sponsorship on "Communism in the CIO," Butler banned him from the campus. The administration shut down the event ten minutes before it was to begin and had him escorted off campus. This sparked a renewed round of campus protests over students' right to free speech. [94]

Columbia was convulsed in conflict in the spring of 1937 when the University of Goettingen in Germany invited it to send a delegate to its bicentennial anniversary celebration, also scheduled for "Purge Day," June 30. President Butler was vacationing in Bermuda when the invitation arrived, and the administration did not indicate whether it would accept. In a forceful editorial on March 15 entitled "Never Again, Dr. Butler," the Columbia Spectator urged that Goettingen's invitation be rejected. It argued that it was transparently obvious that Germany's "sudden penchant for celebrating anniversaries in an international fashion" was designed to enhance Nazi prestige in the world. Last year, by participating in the Heidelberg festival, Columbia had "injured its prestige ... by paying homage to Adolf Hitler." Instead of again "permit[ting] its name to be linked with National Socialism," Columbia must "administer a stinging rebuke" to the Nazis by refusing the invitation. [95]

President Butler was well aware of how severely the Nazis' "racial ruling" regarding civil servants had damaged Goettingen. The British scientific journal Nature stated that what had been arguably the world's leading university in mathematics and physics had "ceased in 1933 to be a scientific centre." Only three months after Hitler became chancellor, Franz Boas wrote to President Butler that Dr. iels Bohr, just arrived in the United States, had informed him "that practically all the mathematicians in Gottingen have been ousted." [96]

Nonetheless, even after the British universities again announced that they would not send delegates, and only the Massachusetts Institute of Technology among the most prestigious American ones accepted its invitation, Butler and his administration remained silent about Columbia's intentions. Many of Columbia's most prominent professors publicly opposed sending a delegate, including sociologist Robert Lynd, anthropologists Franz Boas and Ruth Benedict, philosopher Ernest Nagel, and political scientist Raymond Moley, a leading member of President Roosevelt's Brain Trust. Professor Nagel told the Columbia Spectator, "There's no use ... dressing up ... Goettingen and pretending that it's alive." Moley stated that" American universities should not participate in any German university celebrations" so long as the Nazis were in power. [97]

On May 7, 1937, the Columbia Spectator reported that Dr. Boris Nelson, secretary of the Non-Sectarian Anti-Nazi League, had sent four letters and two telegrams to President Butler asking whether Columbia would accept Goettingen's invitation, but Butler had not acknowledged any of them. Although Goettingen had contacted American universities almost two months before, only Columbia and Syracuse had failed to indicate what they would do. The Spectator noted that Columbia College's four class presidents had signed a petition against accepting Goettingen's invitation. [98]

Only on May 9 did Butler announce that Columbia would not send a delegate to Goettingen, undoubtedly influenced by the storm of protest on campus and the failure of all but seven American universities to accept their invitations. Butler also sent a letter of greeting in Latin to Goettingen that, by praising qualities nobody associated with Nazi Germany's universities, implied criticism of the Hitler regime's educational policies: "We wish to mark our appreciation and admiration for that ... freedom of thought and inquiry, that absence of race and religious prejudice and persecution, which gave to the old Germany the leadership for generations in philosophy, in letters, in science, in the fine arts, in music, and in industry." [99]

Goettingen represented a turning point for Butler, and in September 1937 he opened Columbia's academic year by condemning "the three military dictatorships of Japan, Italy, and Germany," whose expansionist designs posed the most serious threat to world peace. The Columbia Spectator, for once, congratulated him for "scrapp[ing] his usual proclivity for generalities" and forcefully denouncing Fascism. [100]

After the horrifying Kristallnacht violence in November 1938, when the Nazis destroyed Germany's synagogues and most of its Jewish-owned shops and sent 30,000 Jews to concentration camps, Butler finally spoke out explicitly against German antisemitism. But his denunciation shortly after Kristallnacht of the "cruel and barbaric treatment of Catholics and Jews now going on in Germany" suggested that he still failed to grasp the uniqueness of the Jews' plight. Like other major university presidents, his response did not go beyond verbal condemnation. He did not join Jewish, labor, and student organizations that called on the United States to lift immigration quotas for Jewish refugees, or to sever diplomatic and commercial relations with Germany. Nor was Butler among the seventeen speakers who addressed the audience of 20,000 that packed New York City's Madison Square Garden after Kristallnacht in a mass protest against Nazi anti-Jewish outrages. [101]

Edward R. Murrow, who actively assisted academic refugees from Nazi Germany almost from the time Hitler came to power, declared in 1935, "The thing that really concerns me about the situation over here is the general indifference of the university world and the smug complacency in the face of what has happened to Germany." [102] The administration of Columbia University, one of America's foremost universities, under President Nicholas Murray Butler, was determined, at least through 1936, to preserve friendly ties with Nazi Germany, and with Fascist Italy even beyond that, and they reacted angrily to those who challenged this policy. Butler permanently destroyed the academic careers of Robert Burke and Jerome Klein, who recognized that public protest was necessary when elite American universities ignored Nazi and Fascist crimes.

Campus protest against Nazism and Fascism at Columbia was considerably more strident than at other elite universities. This was because Columbia, located in New York City, enrolled a greater proportion of Jewish (and working-class) students than other elite universities, despite President Butler's early and concerted effort to sharply reduce Jewish enrollment. Jewish and working-class students, because of their concern about antisemitism and the plight of trade unions, became disproportionately engaged in opposing Hitler and Mussolini. Asserting their own right to protest in a university environment, they were horrified at the Nazis' destruction of academic freedom and purges of Jewish faculty. Living in New York City, the site of massive demonstrations and rallies against the Nazis in the streets and on the docks, further stimulated their awareness of the fascist threat. At Columbia during the 1930s anti-fascist protest for the first time threatened the centrality that exclusive social activities had traditionally held in student life.

Columbia President Nicholas Murray Butler, whose views on international affairs the press quoted more frequently during the 1930s than those of any other higher education leader, was in a position to heighten public awareness of the menace of fascism. It is lamentable that for several critical years he failed to use his influence against barbarism and chose instead to cooperate with the Hitler and Mussolini regimes in improving their image in the West.
Site Admin
Posts: 33729
Joined: Thu Aug 01, 2013 5:21 am

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

Postby admin » Sun Jul 29, 2018 12:30 am

Part 1 of 2

4. The Seven Sisters Colleges and the Third Reich: Promoting Fellowship Through Student Exchange

In January 1935, exiled Reichstag deputy Toni Sender spoke over New York's Jewish radio station WEVD on "How Hitler's 'Aryan' Paradise Enslaves the Women of Germany." Sender had been editor of the German Social Democratic Party's women's magazine Frauenwelt before the Nazis came to power. Soon after Hitler became chancellor, Sender donned a disguise and fled on foot into the woods of Czechoslovakia, barely eluding  Nazi pursuers intent on murdering her. She had come to the United States on a lecture tour in 1934, presenting to Americans one of the first eyewitness accounts of Germany under Nazi rule. In her radio address, Sender declared that the Nazis believed women to be "incapable of any constructive work," and that they were driving them out of the professions. To restrict female employment options, the Hitler regime had sharply curtailed the number of women permitted to attend universities, imposing a strict 10 percent quota. The Nazis had also denied women opportunities for factory employment, forcing large numbers into misery as servants and prostitutes. Sender emphasized that in Nazi Germany, women's only task was "to marry and to get children -- as many as possible." [1]

Joining Sender as a lecturer on Nazi Germany in the United States was her former Reichstag colleague Gerhart Seger, who had made a daring escape from the Oranienburg concentration camp in December 1933. Seger called the Hitler regime "morally insane," strongly condemned its antisemitic campaign and rearmament program, and urged Americans not to trade with or travel to the Third Reich. Speaking at the University of California at Berkeley several weeks after Sender's radio address, he denounced the Nazis for mounting "an insidious campaign of hate" in Germany's schools, designed to prepare the country for another major war. Denying women access to higher education was part of a larger  Nazi campaign to restrict women's lives to "Children, Church, and Kitchen." Two years of Nazi rule had pushed German women "back 100 years." [2]

FIGURE4.1. Toni Sender, Jewish Social Democratic Reichstag deputy (1920-33), who narrowly escaped being murdered by the Nazis, forcefully denounced Nazi policies toward women while lecturing in the United States. Courtesy of the Wisconsin Historical Society, Image ID 60527.

Later in 1935, Dean Virginia C. Gildersleeve, head of Barnard College, one of the nation's most prestigious women's schools, presented a view of Nazi Germany that differed strikingly from that of the exiled Reichstag deputies. Just returned from her annual European sojourn, Dean Gildersleeve urged Americans to recognize that Nazi Germany's desire to acquire "new land" was "legitimate." She declared that she had been pleased to learn while in Nazi Germany that the Hitler regime, despite the quotas, was allowing women and "a certain proportion of Jews" to study in universities. Gildersleeve, cofounder of the International Federation of University Women, stated that she could not blame the  Nazis for drastically reducing female and Jewish university enrollments because, as she explained, the professions in Germany were overcrowded. She mentioned neither the Nazis' removal of Jewish faculty members from the universities nor the shocking deterioration in academic standards in German higher education. It did not seem to bother her that the Jewish student quota was a minuscule I percent. To be sure, Dean Gildersleeve had herself implemented procedures designed to significantly reduce Jewish admissions to Barnard. The College often rejected Jewish applicants from New York City public high schools with excellent scholarly records in favor of finishing school graduates with inferior academic credentials. [3]

President Mildred H. McAfee of Wellesley College, well more than four years after Hitler became chancellor, deliberately placed an aggressive partisan for Nazism on her campus. President McAfee personally invited Lilli Burger to come from Nazi Germany to join Wellesley's faculty for academic year 1937-38, well aware that she was "a staunch supporter of Hitler." Interviewed by the Wellesley student newspaper in January 1938, Burger informed the college that the American press distorted news from Germany, "exaggerat[ingj ... the persecution of the Jews." She "fervently" praised Hitler's "great work." Burger urged that academic exchanges between the United States and Nazi Germany, already very extensive among elite American women's and men's schools, be increased to further promote friendship between the two nations. [4]

Despite the Nazis' reactionary policies on women and curtailment of their access to a university education, many administrators, faculty, and students at the elite women's colleges known as the Seven Sisters -- Vassar, Smith, Mount Holyoke, Wellesley, Bryn Mawr, Radcliffe, and Barnard -- shared a sanguine view of Nazi Germany and enthusiastically participated in academic and cultural exchanges with the Third Reich. Such attitudes and behavior were widespread in America's colleges and universities during the 1930s, but the Seven Sisters were particularly influential in shaping American views of the Hitler regime because they were among the most active participants in student exchange programs in Germany. These schools were central to the Junior Year Abroad program that American educators maintained with the University of Munich from 1931 until 1939. Large numbers of students from the Seven Sisters also traveled to the Third Reich for summer study programs at Munich and other Nazified universities such as Heidelberg and Berlin.

American educators involved in administering student exchanges with  Nazi Germany shared the outlook of Professor Grace M. Bacon, head of Mount Holyoke College's German Department and a director of the national Junior Year in Munich program, who reported to President Roswell Ham in June 1938 that "[s]tudy in Munich has resulted in a breadth of view, and a tolerance and understanding of another civilization which only direct contact can give." 5 The Seven Sisters sent their students to Europe for the Junior Year in Munich on German ocean liners flying the swastika flag, providing the Nazi government with much-needed foreign currency. The Hitler regime eagerly encouraged such student exchanges, believing them invaluable in disseminating Nazi propaganda in the United States.

The term "Seven Sisters" came into use in the 1920s and referred to the women's colleges that had been for at least two decades considered the nation's most prestigious. During the late nineteenth century these schools had spearheaded the highly controversial cause of higher education for women. To better promote this cause and to coordinate fund-raising, the presidents of Vassar, Wellesley, Smith, and Mount Holyoke established a Four College Conference in 19 I 5, which held regular meetings of administrators and faculty, rotating among the campuses. Bryn Mawr joined in 1925 and Radcliffe and Barnard the next year, making a Seven College Conference. During the 1930s, enrollments ranged from Bryn Mawr's 600 to Smith's 2,000, which made it the nation's largest women's college. Bryn Mawr, the only one of the Seven Sisters with its own graduate school, had arguably the strongest academic reputation. [6]

All seven colleges enjoyed a national reputation for being socially selective, although Barnard and Radcliffe, because of their respective locations in New York City and Cambridge, adjacent to Boston, had more ethnically and economically diverse student bodies. Like the elite men's colleges, the Seven Sisters after World War I restricted Jewish enrollment by requiring on application forms such information as religion, mother's name prior to marriage, and grandparents' birthplaces. The proportion of Jews at Barnard and Radcliffe was nonetheless double to triple that of the other five elite women's colleges. The decision of Barnard and Radcliffe to join the Five College Conference in 1926 was motivated in part by their administrations' desire to make their schools appear more "genteel and gentile." [7] During the Depression, a significant proportion of Barnard and Radcliffe students commuted to school and needed to work to pay their expenses. Radcliffe even arranged training for some of its students in "formal waitress service" and in secretarial work to help them obtain part-time employment. [8]

Wealthier families since the late nineteenth century had encouraged their daughters to travel in Europe to acquire more social polish, and, from the beginnings of the organized Junior Year Abroad programs in the 1920s, the Seven Sisters were prominent in directing them, and they enlisted many of their students as participants. These elite women's colleges gave serious consideration to foreign language instruction, particularly in French, Italian, German, and Spanish, and their students were thus more easily accepted for junior year and summer study at European schools.

The University of Delaware established the nation's first Junior Year Abroad program in 1923, sending some of its own students with those from other colleges to the Sorbonne in Paris. It was influenced by the increased interest in European affairs stimulated by the recent World War. In 1925, Smith College started its own junior year program in France (at Grenoble and Paris), restricted to its own students, which it continued through the 1930s. Beginning in 1931, Smith College also began the first American student exchange program with Fascist Italy. Those participating in Smith's Italian junior year program studied at the University of Florence, with a preparatory month at the University of Perugia. [9]

Delaware had initially assumed that its "educational experiment" would influence other colleges and universities to create their own European junior years abroad, as Smith had, but the cost proved prohibitively expensive. Delaware maintained its European programs only because of financial support from a small group of wealthy patrons, most notably Pierre S. du Pont. [10] As a result, American colleges and universities desiring to send juniors to study at European institutions of higher learning -- except for Smith -- joined the Delaware program.

The University of Delaware began a junior year in Germany program in 1931, in cooperation with the University of Munich and did not hesitate to continue it after Hitler came to power. During 1933-34, the first full academic year during Nazi rule, fourteen of the nineteen students in the Foreign Study group at the University of Munich were from Seven Sisters colleges. [11] Administrative and faculty members from the Seven Sisters were prominent in directing this effort and its successor, the national German Junior Year, Inc., established in 1936 after Delaware terminated its program. Each American junior enrolled at the University of Munich resided with a German family and attended regular university courses taught by German professors. President William A. Neilson of Smith College was a member of the Executive Council that ran the German program, funded from both American and German sources.

Until 1938, the presidents of the Seven Sisters colleges encouraged students to consider spending their junior year in Munich, without reservation. During academic year 1936-37, three of the seven members of the German Junior Year, Inc., Executive Council were professors at Seven Sisters colleges. Two years later, in 1938-39, President Neilson of Smith was one of four Seven Sisters representatives on the eight-member Executive Council. The liaison between the Executive Council and the Nazi government's Auslandsstelle was a Smith College professor. [12] Seven Sisters presidents also strongly endorsed summer study at German universities, and professors at these colleges frequently led student tours to Germany.

Each of the Seven Sisters similarly enrolled exchange students from  Nazi Germany. Student newspapers at these colleges regularly published lengthy interviews with these young German women, all members of azi youth organizations, in which they effusively praised Hitler and the Third Reich, aggressively championed German rearmament, and often made antisemitic pronouncements.

College administrators and professors never responded to such statements in the school newspapers, and the Seven Sisters presidents regularly reaffirmed their support for German student exchanges. Professor Grace M. Bacon boasted in 1938 that Mount Holyoke College had profited from the "many choice students from Germany" who had enrolled there on exchanges. She commented that "[t]hey have all been very fine types of German young women." [13]

In the early months of Nazi rule, when Americans were forming important first impressions of Hitler's Germany, heads of the Seven Sisters colleges, joined by American administrators from Delaware's Junior Year in Munich program, downplayed reports of antisemitic discrimination and violence, and persecution of political opponents. In April 1933, Dean Virginia C. Gildersleeve, speaking at a Barnard Club luncheon, labeled the situation in the Third Reich "disconcerting" but urged her audience not to judge Germany by American standards. The outlook and behavior of an "alien" people might appear eccentric, but if Americans knew "the circumstances in which seemingly unreasonable actions take place, those actions would seem reasonable." Gildersleeve concluded: "Perhaps if we knew more of the facts we could understand what the German people are feeling and trying and wanting to do." [14] A month later, Smith College president William A. Neilson, returning from a three-month tour of Germany, Italy, and Spain, reported that he had seen many "scared" people in Germany, but no disorders or "cases of mistreatment." [15]

Seven Sisters presidents also welcomed representatives of the Hitler regime to their campuses and openly fraternized with them. In October 1933, President Henry Noble MacCracken of Vassar hosted Professor Friedrich Schoenemann of the University of Berlin, then on a speaking tour of the United States to promote the Nazi government, and introduced him at his campus lecture on "The New Democracy in Hitler's Germany." Professor Schoenemann compared the Nazi takeover in Germany with the American Revolution and explained that "at bottom [Hitler] is a democrat." Schoenemann claimed that reports of Nazi atrocities against Jews were false, "invented purely for propaganda purposes." He claimed that Jews led the Communist movement and at the same time dominated "all the money-making professions in Berlin." Schoenemann denounced Albert Einstein for not "suspend[ing] his judgment" about the Hitler government "until he knew the facts." [16] Ada Comstock, president of Radcliffe College, accepted the invitation of her school's German Club to celebrate Christmas at a party to honor Hitler's consul-general in Boston, Baron Kurt von Tippelskirch, who addressed the gathering. [17]

Mussolini's Fascist government had decorated President MacCracken in May 1933 for promoting friendship between the United States and Italy. Mussolini's consul-general in New York, Antonio Grossardi, bestowed the Cross of Grand Ufficiale delia Corona d'Italia on MacCracken in what he called a "gracious presentation" on the Vassar campus, before "an impressive assembly of faculty in academic dress." MacCracken informed Professor Giuseppe Prezzolini, director of Columbia University's Casa Italiana and an ardent Fascist, that he was "deeply appreciative of the honor." [18]

About a year and a half later, President MacCracken personally welcomed to campus a large delegation of Italian Fascist students on a goodwill tour of the United States. With their commander barking "staccato orders," the Fascist students marched in formation to meet Vassar's president, who accepted a gift from them. [19]

Smith College spent two years searching for a speaker who could present "the pro-Nazi side of the German picture neglected by the American press." In April 1935 it settled on Dr. Hans Orth, a former exchange student from Germany at the University of Cincinnati. Orth charged that the Jews in Germany "had pushed the Aryans out of jobs" and used "key positions" to promote Communism. The Germans had rightly objected to being ruled by "a foreign race." The only blood shed had been that of one hundred Nazis murdered by Communists. One Jew had been killed, but only after he had wounded a Nazi. [20]

FIGURE 4.2. President Marion Edwards Park of Bryn Mawr College. Courtesy of Bryn Mawr College Library.

The student newspaper at Smith College complained that the audience during the question period after Orth's address had displayed "a singular lack of open-mindedness." The editors were annoyed that it had refused "to listen courteously to the young German's sincere vindication of the Hitler regime." [21]

Only President Marion Edwards Park of Bryn Mawr College among the heads of the Seven Sisters colleges participated in organized public protest against Nazism during the Hitler regime's early months, although it was limited to challenging the discharge of professors considered Jews or political opponents. In June 1933 President Park asked college presidents in her area to sign a statement condemning the dismissals. [22] She also hired three German Jewish refugee scholars to teach at Bryn Mawr, most notably Dr. Emmy Noether (1933-35), then considered the world's most eminent female mathematician. The Nazis had forced Noether to resign from the faculty of the University of Goettingen. [23]

In June 1933, President Park refused to sign the statement circulated among academics by the National Conference of Christians and Jews (NCCJ) about what it called "hostility between Christian and Jewish groups in Germany," mentioned in Chapter 1. Park did not conceal her distaste for the statement, telling NCCJ Director Everett R. Clinchy that it was "confused" and "weak." [24]

Yet President Park actively supported Bryn Mawr student participation in the junior year and summer exchange programs in Nazi Germany's universities. She cooperated with one of her professors, Max Diez of the German Department, who served for several years on the Junior Year in Munich, Inc., Executive Council. [25]

In 1924 President Park had invited Fascist Italy's ambassador to the United States, Prince Gaetano Caetani, to speak at Bryn Mawr on "the spiritual side of the Fascist movement in Italy." Park declared that her purpose in welcoming Prince Caetani to Bryn Mawr was to "renew in this delightful way the connection which the college has always had with Italy." She noted that two of Bryn Mawr's best mathematics graduates were currently studying at the University of Rome. Caetani, accompanied by the Italian consul in Philadelphia, dined with Park before the lecture. [26] In April 1937, Bryn Mawr announced that for the first time, three of its students would join Smith College's junior year program at the University of Florence for the 1937-38 academic year. [27]

One of Bryn Mawr's most distinguished faculty members, Henry Cadbury, professor of biblical literature, expressed views common among the pacifists at that college when he lectured those attending the Central Conference of American Rabbis convention in June 1934 not to fight back against Hitler. Professor Cad bury denounced such nonviolent methods of resistance as the economic boycott, which he called "simply war without bloodshed." He insisted that Jews must display "good will" toward the Nazis and urged them to appeal to the "German sense of justice." [28]

During the early years of the Hitler regime, Seven Sisters colleges often hosted speakers sympathetic to Nazi Germany, who praised Hitler, justified German rearmament and expansionism, and dismissed reports of antisemitic persecution as fabricated. Such speakers included many of the schools' exchange students returning from Germany, members of their faculties who had traveled there, and Nazi officials, professors, and students visiting the United States. Vassar senior Joan Becker of the Class of 1934, who had spent the previous year at the University of Munich with the Delaware group, declared in October 1933 that she admired the energy and "dignity" of the Nazi students and their determination to "clean up Germany." The book burnings that the Nazi students had coordinated at universities across the Reich and carried out in May 1933 impressed her as "a solemn, symbolic ceremony." Mary Ridder, another Vassar senior who had, like Becker, been enrolled at the University of Munich with the Delaware group for her junior year, told the Vassar Miscellany News that before arriving in Nazi Germany she had formed an image of Hitler and his Storm Troopers "as a sort of German Ku Klux Klan." But having had the opportunity to speak personally with Hitler in Germany, she was convinced that the Fuehrer was sincerely committed to promoting his country's best interests. She praised the German students as "more socially conscious" than their American counterparts. [29]

The Vassar Review "Freshman 1935" issue published a lengthy feature entitled "We Went to Germany," in which four Vassar students explained how living in the Third Reich had led them to dismiss American press accounts of "militarism, terrorism, and bloodshed" there, and to truly appreciate what Germans under Nazi rule had accomplished. Agnes Reynolds, Class of 1938, had traveled to Germany strongly disliking National Socialism "without knowing what it was." Although she found antisemitic publications like the Nazi newspaper Volkische Beobachter distasteful, she believed intelligent Germans regarded them the same way educated Americans did subway tabloids. Reynolds considered American criticism of the Third Reich to be "cruel," because the United States had helped make Germany economically insecure and militarily vulnerable. She insisted that "Germany has every right to work out her own destiny in her own way." [30]

Catherine Elliott, Vassar Class of 1936, who had spent her junior year at the University of Munich, reported that Nazi Germany was not remotely like American newspapers described it. Expecting turmoil, Elliott instead found Munich to be "the most orderly and peaceful city in which I had ever had the pleasure to live," a veritable "paradise for students." While uncomfortable with certain Nazi policies (maintaining concentration camps and "ostracizing the Jewish people"), Elliott stated that she could not condemn those policies "without first condemning the world which has forced Germany into her present day situation." Besides, most of the large Jewish stores were doing just as well as before the Nazis came to power. American animosity toward Nazi Germany "can only lead to disaster," Elliott concluded. [31]

Vassar provided another platform for students proclaiming the "merits of National Socialism" at a campus symposium on Germany held in October 1935. Catherine Elliott explained that the abuses of the Versailles Treaty and unstable Social Democratic rule had made the Germans "ready for a revolution." She praised Hitler for achieving "religious unity" and for drastically reducing unemployment. Elliott concluded her presentation by claiming that "Hitler is not militaristic. He is sincerely spoken for peace." Elliott was followed by Em Bowles Locker, who declared that the "New Germany is building -- building new houses and new dams -- everyone is motivated by a feeling of progress." Locker defended the Nazi sterilization program because it "is eliminating people with inheritable diseases." She noted approvingly that "two doctors and a juror consider each case." [32]

At Wellesley in October 1934, Olga Edmond of the Class of 1936 explained in the school newspaper how visiting Germany for a six-week course at the University of Heidelberg had convinced her that the American press had grossly distorted what that country was really like. She appeared as "satisfied and content" as the Germans she described and seemed intent on trivializing Nazi terror. When Edmond saw her first  Nazi brown-shirt she stared at his "polished brown boots" and then moved her gaze slowly up toward his "bright" swastika armband. This was a member of the Storm Troopers, whom American newspapers had told her "ruled Germany in a reign of blood and terror." But the young Wellesley student did not think he looked even "a bit ferocious or terrifying." He was just a harmless boy, resembling a "weary Boy Scout returning from an all-day hike." During the Night of the Long Knives, Edmond claimed that Heidelberg "maintained an air of complete calmness," and the populace had emerged from it with "renewed faith in Hitler's integrity." [33]

Members of Seven Sisters faculties often expressed similar sentiments. In October 1934 Smith College staged a forum at which four of its professors spoke about their recent summer in Nazi Germany. Professor Graham declared that the Weimar Republic had introduced democracy in Germany at the wrong time, and a dictatorship "was the logical solution" to the nation's problems. Graham acknowledged some interference with the press by the Hitler government but insisted that German newspapers presented "the essential facts" to the public. Foreign journalists reporting from Germany had provided distorted accounts of events. Some professors stated that Germany's Jews had controlled the nation's banks, stores, and press until the Nazis came to power. Commenting on Hitler's antisemitic campaign, they asserted that his regime was concerned only with Russian and Polish Communist Jews who had "invaded" Germany after the World War, posing "serious danger to national unity." The  Nazis had instituted a Jewish quota in the universities in order to reduce white-collar unemployment. Professors J. C. Hildt (history) and Jacob (English) claimed that Jews in business enjoyed "toleration and acceptance."  [34]

Vassar professors who had visited Nazi Germany provided similarly favorable descriptions of the situation there. One claimed she had learned the past summer that the Nazis had not closed down a large number of Jewish shops "as propaganda would lead us to believe." Another contrasted the "enthusiasm and optimism" of Hitler's Germany with the "listlessness and despondency of before." [35]

German exchange students at the Seven Sisters colleges presented the  Nazi party version of events in Germany on campus. Emilie Gottschalk of the University of Freiburg, who had spent the academic year 1930-31 at Wellesley College, published a long letter in the student newspaper in May 1933 that denounced "large Jewish and radical organizations" in the United States that had joined with "proverbial German haters" to "maliciously circulat[e] false reports" in the press in an effort to prevent Americans from seeing Hitler's Germany "in the proper light." The demand for a boycott of German goods was part of this insidious propaganda campaign. Just as charges of German atrocities during the World War had been "unfounded lies," so were the claims that in  Nazi Germany "the Jewish people are being persecuted and mistreated by the thousands." [36] At Mount Holyoke, Edeltraut Proske, a graduate exchange student, addressing the school's International Relations Club, denounced the "propaganda spread about the Jewish persecutions" in the Third Reich. [37] In the Vassar Miscellany News, Henning Freiherr von Dobeneck, a German student at the University of Munich, condemned the German press in the Weimar Republic as the instrument "of the Free Masons and the Jews." [38]

German exchange students also served as propagandists for Nazi women's policy. In November 1934, Dorothy Thompson, the noted newspaper columnist and wife of Sinclair Lewis, whom the Nazi government had expelled from Germany for criticizing Hitler, declared in a speech at Vassar that the Nazis had driven women "out of the universities, out of industry, out of public life." [39] As early as June 1933 in Britain, fourteen nationally organized women's groups had sent a letter of protest to foreign press correspondents in Germany "to rouse the world to a realization of the discriminat(ion)" against women in Germany. The letter charged that the Nazis were making "a very definite attempt ... to deprive women of their right to earn," and that "large numbers of women have been turned out of their posts." [40] Yet on the Seven Sisters campuses, administrators, faculty, and students failed to mount any organized protest against the undermining of women's opportunities in higher education and in the public sphere generally.

The Hitler regime defined women's central role as that of mother and homemaker and considered a university education of little importance to women. It promoted the five-child family as the norm and equated those who failed to produce children with military slackers. In January 1934, Dr. Esther Caukin Brunauer, on her return from ten months in Nazi Germany, reported that the regime prohibited women from serving as judges and "made it almost impossible for them to practice law." She stated that hospitals were expelling women physicians and that in Hamburg, where there had been nine female school principals, not one remained. Brunauer declared that Germany's women students "subscribed in large numbers to the Nazi idea of woman's status in the social scheme." [41] The Nazis nearly eliminated women from government. In the first Nazi Reichstag there was not a single woman deputy for the first time since the World War. [42]

The Nazis severely constricted women's opportunities in higher education. The quota limiting women to 10 percent of those admitted caused female university enrollments to drop by 40 percent from 1933 to 1934. [43] In May 1937, Erika Mann, daughter of exiled German novelist Thomas Mann, and herself a refugee, noted that not a single female full professor remained in any German university, and that there were only a few women instructors "in subordinate positions." [44] About the only employment available to women university graduates in Nazi Germany was schoolteaching. [45] Before a woman could enter a university, she had to first perform six months of service in a labor camp, where she was assigned tasks designed to prepare her for marriage and motherhood. Unlike her male counterpart, who went to labor camp to "build roads, regulate rivers, and reclaim land," women's labor service involved such tasks as cooking, sewing, and learning how to care for children. The Washington Post called Germany's female labor camps "bride factories." [46]

German exchange students at the Seven Sisters colleges vigorously defended Nazi policy toward women in the campus newspapers. For example, Ursula Engler, an exchange student at Vassar, claimed that the Nazis' sharp reduction in the number of women admitted to universities was the best way to solve Germany's problem of white-collar unemployment. [47] Liselott Strecher, another German exchange student who had recently graduated from Vassar, explained that the Nazis had taken "immediate" and "necessary" action to sharply reduce female and Jewish enrollments in order to alleviate serious overcrowding in the universities and the "misery of a growing academic proletariat." Strecher praised the compulsory labor camps as a screening device designed to solve these problems. She praised the camps' "great educative value," which taught German youth the value of "hand-labor" and "domestic work" and convinced many to embrace "simpler forms of life." [48]

Visiting professors from Germany also made the case for Hitler on campus. At Bryn Mawr College, a school strongly influenced by pacifism, Dr. Fritz Marstein Marx, formerly of the University of Hamburg, was invited to speak in January 1934 on "Hitlerism and Peace." Dr. Marx denounced the American press's "atrocity" stories about the Third Reich and claimed that Hitler was committed to peace, desiring only an equality of armaments with countries that threatened Germany. [49]

Impressionable students were also often influenced by American lecturers who presented a largely favorable view of the Hitler regime during its early years. At Wellesley, for example, Dr. Robert C. Dexter, formerly head of the Brown University Sociology Department and a director of the League of Nations Association, lectured in November 1933 on the "excellent time he [had] enjoyed" in Nazi Germany the previous summer. Dr. Dexter told the students that it was no wonder that the German people backed Hitler, because France was using its superior armaments to build a "wall of steel" around them. The German people were also reacting to the corruption of the Republican governments in the Weimar period. Dexter denounced the press reports of Jewish persecution as "grossly exaggerated" and claimed "that while he was in Germany he had not seen one instance of outright violence." Although he did not approve of the complete exclusion of Jews from civil offices, he explained that there were "extenuating circumstances": the Jews had "held a disproportionate amount of the country's wealth and ... professional positions." Dexter emphasized that it was most important not to interfere in Germany's internal affairs. The "worst enemies of the German Jew," he pontificated, were not the Nazis, but "the Jews of other countries who are spreading untrue propaganda." This might lead resentful Germans to lash out at Jews to defend their country's honor. [50]

Seven Sisters colleges sponsored social events to promote German-American friendship. Wellesley College arranged a dance and reception for German naval cadets from the battle cruiser Karlsruhe when it visited Boston harbor in May 1934 flying the swastika flag on its goodwill tour around the world for the Nazi government. Ignoring the Boston Jewish community's protests against the German warship's visit, Wellesley invited the cadets to campus for a dance. Boston rabbi Samuel Abrams denounced the Karlsruhe as an instrument of "hate and darkness." By contrast, the Wellesley College News portrayed the cadets as very appealing young blond men "immaculate in flawless black uniforms," whose "friendly grins" made them appear "soft and sincere." Soon after the cadets' arrival, "the floor was filled with dancing couples." Everyone enjoyed the punch and cookies. [51]
Site Admin
Posts: 33729
Joined: Thu Aug 01, 2013 5:21 am

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

Postby admin » Sun Jul 29, 2018 12:31 am

Part 2 of 2

Only at Barnard did Seven Sisters students mobilize to protest against  Nazi terror in Germany. Barnard had the largest Jewish enrollment and most economically diverse student body among the Seven Sisters. Jews and youth from trade union families displayed more concern about Nazi persecution than did their classmates, as a rule. Addressing a joint meeting of the Barnard and Columbia Menorah Societies, Rabbi Baruch Braunstein vigorously denounced Nazi atrocities against the Jews, a topic that presidents of the Seven Sisters colleges had not explicitly addressed in public. Rabbi Braunstein compared 1933 to the years 70 and 1492, marked by catastrophes that had devastated Jewish life for centuries: the Roman conquest of Judaea and destruction of the Second Temple, which deprived the Jews of their homeland for almost two millennia, and the expulsion of the Jews from Spain, which eliminated Europe's largest and oldest Jewish community. [52]

About six weeks later, Barnard students participated in the aggressive mass picketing of the auditorium at which Nazi ambassador to the United States Dr. Hans Luther spoke, at the invitation of the Columbia University administration. The Barnard Bulletin in an editorial denounced Columbia's sponsorship of Luther's lecture, declaring that it provided the barbaric Nazis with "the coveted seal of responsibility." [53]

Students and faculty at the Seven Sisters expressing admiration for the "New Germany" influenced many college youth toward greater sympathy for the Hitler regime. In May 1934, Radcliffe's Debating Council sponsored a debate between the Radcliffe and Brown University teams on whether "Hitlerism is the best thing for Germany." Presenting the affirmative, "the gentlemen from Brown" argued that Hitler had rescued Germany from anarchy and forestalled a Communist takeover. He had ended an ineffective Reichstag's "feudalistic wrangling," stimulated economic recovery, and "restored unity, morale, and self-respect" to a nation exploited by vindictive Allied powers. Hitler's foreign policy did not present a menace to peace. Radcliffe, presenting the negative, declared that Hitler had destroyed German democracy and civil liberties and promoted a belligerent nationalism that would lead to war. Nazi persecution of Jews does not seem to have been mentioned. When the debate was concluded, the Radcliffe audience, acting as judges, granted victory to the Brown team. [54]

Administrators of the Delaware Junior Year in Munich program became alarmed in May 1933 when students at the University of Cincinnati, horrified by the mass public book burnings at German universities, circulated an open letter protesting the suppression of academic freedom in Nazi Germany. University of Cincinnati president Raymond Walters expressed approval of the letter, which called the Hitler government's higher education policy "a menace to the whole world." President Walter Hullihen of the University of Delaware denounced the letter at an assembly of the University of Delaware's Women's College, declaring that stories of Nazi persecution in the American press were "grossly exaggerated, in many cases utterly false." He informed his students that a "majority of the German people" had chosen the Nazi government, and that Americans had "no right to express any protest of opinion to that government about how it handles its purely internal affairs," especially because Americans lacked "any reliable information about conditions in that country." He urged nations participating in an international economic conference scheduled to begin on June 15 to avoid "any unfriendly reference" to  Nazi Germany. [55]

President Hullihen instructed directors of the Delaware Junior Year in Munich program to make known to German officials involved in student exchanges with American colleges that the University of Delaware condemned the Cincinnati students' letter. [56] No president or other administrator of a Seven Sisters college, all of which were avid participants in student exchanges with Germany, registered any disapproval of President Hullihen's pronouncements.

Foreign students enrolled at the University of Munich simultaneously sent a statement to American collegians claiming that American newspapers were providing distorted accounts of events in Germany and denying the existence of violence or disorder there. Seven Sisters women made up a majority of the Americans then studying at Munich. They declared "unanimously, of their own free will and accord ... that not one single one of them ... was, during the entire course of the German national revolution, molested in any manner whatsoever," whether in Munich or elsewhere in Germany. They claimed to be living "as peacefully in Munich as they would have at home." [57]

President MacCracken of Vassar assisted in organizing a tour of Nazi Germany for American college professors and students, sponsored and funded by the Vereinigung Carl Schurz of Berlin, which offered a free trip each way on German ships. Seven Sisters faculty recruited students for the tour, and several took part in it themselves. The New York Times explained that those planning the tour were determined that "something definite should be done to correct what they regard as the false attitude toward the new Germany adopted by the greater part of the American public." The Vereinigung Carl Schurz was founded by the German government to promote U.S.-German friendship. To represent the Vassar faculty, President MacCracken selected Professor Dorothy Schaffter of the Political Science Department, later president of Connecticut College for Women. [58]

This summer 1934 tour was the first in which an American group traveled in Nazi Germany under the guidance of Nazi party and government officials. The Americans participating elected as group leader President Homer LeRoy Shantz of the University of Arizona, the only university president making the trip. [59]

The propaganda benefits of the tour for the Nazi government became obvious almost immediately. During the first week in Germany, an awestruck Vassar student wrote to President MacCracken that she had received "the whole-hearted attention of every [ Nazi] official in Berlin," and each night she had to choose among three or four invitations. She was pleased to report that on her first night in Berlin she had been seated at dinner opposite Professor Friedrich Schoenemann, the Nazi propagandist whom Hitler had sent on a recent American lecture tour. The student concluded, "I have never in my life had such an exciting ... time, nor so much fun." [60]

Upon the group's return, their leader, President Shantz, trumpeted Hitler's achievements, as did Professor Stuart M. Stoke of Mount Holyoke. President Shantz described German agriculture and land use "as the most perfect ever developed" and marveled that "[t]here are not as many weeds in Germany as in I square mile in this country." He described the German people as "busy and active." They backed their Fuehrer much as Americans backed President Roosevelt. Shantz expressed his disapproval of American press coverage of Germany, explaining that it reported "the worst possible events." [61]

The American Hebrew summed up President Shantz's remarks by commenting, "on and on he goes, singing the praises of Hitler and Nazism." It noted that Propaganda Minister Josef Goebbels had clearly "figured out the scheme of entertaining American educators and inculcating in them gratitude and appreciation." [62]

Professor Stuart M. Stoke certainly seemed to confirm this by publishing in the Mount Holyoke Alumnae Bulletin a description of Nazi Germany every bit as flattering as that of President Shantz. Presenting his German hosts as highly civilized and polite, Professor Stoke stated that they had shown the group "every courtesy and consideration." Everyone in Germany felt secure except the Communists. There was "comparatively little furor" against the Jews. Stoke portrayed Hitler as a reformer like President Roosevelt, who had introduced a "New Deal" in Germany. [63]

Professor Stoke offered a rationale for the Nazis' forcing Jews from the professions, and for their reactionary women's policy. He claimed that 60 percent of Germany's lawyers had been Jews, although they were only 1 percent of the population, and that as a result they had wielded too much power. The Germans insisted that "they were Jews first and Germans second." The Nazi program of teaching women that their place was in the home was designed to solve the problem of male unemployment that had plagued Germany, and to increase the German birth rate. Stoke claimed that German university women supported this policy. He implied that Germany was justified in building up armaments, because the Versailles Treaty had left her defenseless, while her neighbors were "armed to the teeth." [64]

The propaganda value of the tour for the Hitler regime was further enhanced by the distribution of a free film about it on American campuses. The participating Americans had been accompanied while in Germany by cameramen from the state-run Universum-Film Aktiengesellschaft (UFA). The resulting film, entitled Germany Today, portrayed the Third Reich as an economically vigorous and harmonious society, thriving under Hitler's dynamic leadership. Its images of German-American amity were designed to counteract "Jewish atrocity propaganda" in the American media. [65]

Professor Dorothy Schaffter, Vassar's faculty representative on the tour, shared her excitement about the film with President MacCracken. She had viewed two reels of Germany Today before leaving the Reich and pronounced them "very fine indeed." She wrote to President MacCracken to suggest that it be shown at Vassar and offered to show the film and talk about it at the Vassar Faculty Club and at the German Club. MacCracken pronounced this a "splendid" idea. He notified the president of the Vereinigung Carl Schurz: "We are awaiting the film with much interest." [66]

During 1934, American university tours of Europe invariably included trips to the fiercely antisemitic passion play at Oberammergau in Bavaria, which celebrated its tercentenary that year. Students from Seven Sisters colleges were even more eager to visit Oberammergau than those from other schools because their curricula gave particular emphasis to theater. Ordinarily, the play was staged throughout the summer preceding the start of each decade, but the Nazi government, excited by how it could be used to present vicious stereotypes of Jews to tens of thousands of visitors, arranged special anniversary performances from May through September 1934. Sponsoring the play aligned the Nazi party closely with Christianity, making it appear more respectable to Western tourists. Adolf Hitler personally attended the Oberammergau Passion Play both in 1930 and as chancellor in 1934, when he spoke with the cast on stage. Hitler strongly endorsed the play, declaring that "never has the menace of Jewry been so convincingly portrayed as in this presentation of what happened in the times of the Romans." [67]

Performed in the village of Oberammergau since 1634, the day-long passion play depicted Jews as an evil race cursed forever for the crime of deicide. The Oberammergau production mixed modern racial antisemitism with medieval theological antisemitic symbolism. The Jews were clad in yellow, the color of avarice and of prostitution. Their priests wore horned hats, indicating their association with Satan. Jesus was presented as "Nordic"-looking, while actors with swarthy complexions played the Jews, emphasizing their racial difference. The brutal, crucifixion-happy Roman governor of Judaea, Pontius Pilate, was portrayed as "wise and merciful." In 1934 the actors playing Jesus (Alois Lang), the Virgin Mary (Anni Rutz), and eight of the twelve Apostles were members of the Nazi party. [68]

Jews had long denounced the Oberammergau Passion Playas virulently antisemitic. Rabbi Stephen S. Wise, leader of the American Jewish Congress, called the play "a poisonous influence" on Christians, encouraging "every manner of ill-will against the Jews." [69] Well aware of this, the Nazi government enthusiastically promoted the Oberammergau tercentenary, hoping to attract 400,000 tourists to Germany with much-needed foreign currency. The German steamship companies and railroads vigorously promoted the passion play, and the latter provided discounted fares for those traveling to Oberammergau. [70]

Because there was considerable interest among Bryn Mawr College students in that summer's Oberammergau Passion Play, the campus newspaper in February 1930 provided travel and lodging information for those planning to attend, in a lengthy article extolling the "stirring pageant." It remarked that "[n]o one has been able to describe the solemn beauty, the deep and delicate feeling and powerful emotional effect of this event." The article explained that the Fellowship of Reconciliation, a pacifist organization with which many of Bryn Mawr's Quaker administrators had ties, would set up and administer an encampment at Oberammergau from June 1 through September 30, 1930, with the assistance of the World's Student Christian Federation. The encampment's purpose was to enable those who were unable to afford the steep cost of lodging and dining in Oberammergau to attend the passion play. [71]

Marian Hayes of the Mount Holyoke College Art Department in December 1933 informed the student body that the Bureau of University Travel had arranged a student tour that included the next summer's Oberammergau Passion Play. Hayes remarked excitedly that the staging of the play "always means a red letter year for European travelers." [72]

The massive purge that Hitler conducted on the Night of the Long Knives, June 30-July 1, 1934 -- when the SS arrested and murdered the leadership of the Sturmabteilung (SA), former chancellor Kurt von Schleicher and his wife, and many others -- caused panic among administrators of the University of Delaware Junior Year in Munich program and soon after led to its suspension. However, strong support among American colleges and universities for continuing student exchanges with Nazi Germany, much of it mobilized by administrators and faculty at the Seven Sisters colleges, resulted in the establishment of a new national academic organization to carryon this work, known as the Junior Year in Munich, Inc.

President Hullihen of the University of Delaware was already concerned in the spring of 1934 that Jewish opposition to student exchanges with Nazi universities threatened Delaware's German junior year program. He characterized Jewish opinion on this matter as "intensely bitter and inflamed." Hullihen reported to the program's director, Samuel A. Nock of the University of Delaware, that "two of the foremost Jews in America" had visited Dr. Stephen Duggan, director of the Institute of International Education, which promoted student exchanges, and demanded that he terminate involvement with any that included Germany, or they would "break the Institute for International Education." Hullihen stated that Duggan had replied that the Institute had friends "quite as powerful as the Jews of America" and that he would ignore the demand. Nevertheless, Hullihen told Nock that he was very worried that "the Jews" might pressure the University of Delaware trustees to shut down the Junior Year in Munich program. [73] A few weeks later, President Hullihen wrote to Professor Camillo von Klenze of Stanford University, founder and dean of the Munich program, that he was "very much disturbed by the continually rising tide of condemnation of the present German government in this country." [74]

In early August 1934, President Hullihen was forced to announce that because of "unsettled conditions" in Germany the University of Delaware would not sponsor a student exchange group at the University of Munich for the 1934-35 academic year. He confided to supporters that because wealthy donors had withdrawn the necessary financial commitment that enabled the program to meet overhead expenses, the University of Delaware's trustees had ordered its suspension for the next year. The donors "were all strong German sympathizers," but they were worried about the prospect of continuing instability. [75]

President Hullihen declared that he had until "the very last" opposed suspension of the program, but the trustees' refusal to operate at a deficit had been decisive. He emphasized that "[t]here was no thought at all of expressing disapproval of the present regime in Germany." [76]

President Hullihen explained that the Night of the Long Knives had thrown the Junior Year in Munich program into temporary disarray because Germans prominent in leading or administering it had been murdered by the SS. Hullihen referred to Ernst Roehm, head of the SA, whom he called "one of the warmest supporters of our movement," and Dr. Fritz Beck, director of the University of Munich Studenthaus, where the Foreign Study offices were located. Adolph Morsbach, who Hullihen said "had been interested longer than anyone else in Germany in the Junior Year Plan" and had helped secure scholarships for it from the Deutsche Akademische Auslandsstelle, had been arrested and imprisoned. [77]

Despite the University of Delaware's suspension of its German junior year program, American students continued to study at the University of Munich under the auspices of the Deutsche Akademische Auslandsstelle (Foreign Academic Bureau) during academic years 1934-35 and 1935-36. The Auslandsstelle formed an advisory committee for the junior year program that included Minister Schemm of the Department of Culture and Education, U.S. consul-general Charles Hathaway and his wife, and the rector of the University of Munich. The program was modeled on that developed by the University of Delaware. The University of Delaware student new spa per reported in May 1935 that Professor Edmund E. Miller had resigned from the Modern Languages Department to assume the office of American director under the Auslandsstelle at the University of Munich for 1935-36. It noted that applications had been received from students at seven colleges, including Bryn Mawr, Smith, Vassar, and Wellesley, to study at Munich the next year. [78]

Seven Sisters administrators and professors were prominent in the group that established and directed the new Junior Year in Munich, Inc., for 1936-37, which ran the student exchange program until it was again suspended at the outbreak of World War II. [79] The Junior Year in Munich, Inc., announced that study in Germany promised the best prospect for bringing about "mutual understanding between America and Germany."  [80] The Executive Council communicated with the German government through the Auslandsstelle and a consultant appointed by Berlin, Professor Matthias Schmitz of Smith College. Schmitz became "one of Germany's leading propagandists in America during the 1930s." [81]

In October 1935, the Vassar College student newspaper interviewed several faculty members about the College's practice during the last two years of accepting scholarships for its students to study at the Universities of Heidelberg and Munich. Twenty-six Vassar students had received scholarships for the summer of 1935 -- eighteen for eight weeks of study at Heidelberg and eight for four weeks at Munich. The professors quoted all favored accepting the scholarships, although two thought Vassar should select for them only "mature" students, not anyone too impressionable. Professor Lilian Stroebe of the German Department commented that Vassar was not forcing any student to accept a scholarship. [82]

In the years following the Oberammergau tercentenary, American students studying in Germany recorded their enchantment with one of the most emotionally charged celebrations of Nazism, the nighttime 9th of November ceremony in Munich, which Hitler staged to honor the sixteen followers killed in his 1923 Beer Hall Putsch. On that date in 1935, the remains of these Nazi martyrs were placed in stone sarcophagi adorned with swastikas, in two temples specially built for them. The remains had been exhumed from cemeteries all over Germany. Frederick T. Birchall, covering the ceremony for the New York Times, reported that Munich was "wonderfully garlanded and beflagged for the event," with "ten thousand [ Nazi) party banners ... unfurled." A crowd of 150,000 turned out to watch Julius Streicher, editor of the virulently antisemitic Der Sturmer, lead the procession to the temples along streets lined with Storm Troopers. Hitler marched with followers in the first ranks, as he had in 1923. Placed along the line of march were 251 pylons surrounded by flaming torches, each bearing the name of a Nazi activist killed in the decade during which the party fought its way to power. Many members of the diplomatic corps were in attendance, but U.S. ambassador to Germany William E. Dodd was conspicuously absent. [83]

In January 1936, Lisa Gratwick of Bryn Mawr, part of the junior year group at the University of Munich, wrote excitedly to her schoolmates about having attended the 9th of November ceremony. She described it as "beautiful to watch," with the "torches all along the main street, Hitler flags at every window." The ceremony was "perfectly solemn and tragic." [84] Mary Anne Greenough of George Washington University, another member of the Junior Year in Munich group, reacted similarly two years later as the Nazis again gathered on November 9th to pay homage to the fallen putschists. Greenough, writing in the Junior Year in Munich, Inc., newsletter, called the ceremony "worthy of our admiration." [85] Still another junior praised the Nazi party for ending "years of inward strife" and expressed pride that he and other members of the program had seen Hitler and "paid our respects" to those slain in 1923. [86]

Having sharply reduced female university enrollments in Germany, the Nazi government was not particularly interested in inviting the American women's colleges to the four-day festival to celebrate the University of Heidelberg's 550th anniversary, but it did ask Vassar to send a delegate. Like the other Seven Sisters, Vassar had regularly sent students to summer programs there. President MacCracken of Vassar in early March 1936 sent the University of Heidelberg his greetings and wished it "many more years of success." He insisted that the "courtesies of university life" had nothing to do with politics and asked, "Shall we cut off communication with those teachers and students who remain in Germany and ... believe in the mind?" Two Vassar professors announced that they would attend the festival: Lilian Stroebe, a Heidelberg Ph.D., and Ruth Hofrichter, who also held a Heidelberg degree. [87]  
The Vassar student newspaper sharply criticized President MacCracken's acceptance of Heidelberg's invitation to celebrate its 550th anniversary. It asserted that "[t]he presence of foreign educators at Heidelberg's anniversary cannot but be interpreted as an approval of the educational principles now ruling there," which were "dictated by the Nazi government." The participation of American academics would inevitably "be hailed as another triumph for Nazi philosophy." [88] Yet a week later, the student newspaper published an editorial praising Hitler's occupation of the Rhineland, which removed the major obstacle to a German invasion of the West. [89]

Professor Max Diez of Bryn Mawr, representing the Junior Year in Munich, Inc., spoke confidently in February 1937 of its vigor, but some of the program's administrators were becoming convinced that continuing  Nazi outrages might result in pressure to reduce or even terminate student exchanges. Director Edmund Miller informed President Neilson of Smith that when he came to Germany in 1935 to direct the Munich program he had "hoped that the atrocities were over." But Miller was now becoming concerned that intensifying Nazi repression could precipitate a public outcry in the United States against student exchanges with Germany. He nonetheless reminded Neilson that Professor Diez and another Executive Council member with whom he had spoken were adamant that the German government not be offended. Miller concluded: "we should continue the group in Munich as long as we can." [90]

Professor Grace M. Bacon, who had charge of the student exchange with Germany at Mount Holyoke, reported to President Mary Woolley at the end of the spring semester of 1937 that "[t]he junior year in Germany is becoming more and more popular." She noted that three of Mount Holyoke's juniors would attend the University of Munich during the 1937-38 academic year, and that several more would be enrolled that summer at Munich and at the University of Berlin. Bacon confided to President Woolley that she had expected a decline in the number of Mount Holyoke students majoring in German "due to the prejudice toward Fascist Germany." But Bacon was pleased to report that the next year's registration showed no decline at Mount Holyoke, in contrast to the "New York universities," where "the change is noticeable." [91]

President Neilson carried on Smith's student exchange program with the Fascist-controlled University of Florence from 1931, when it began, through the 1938-39 academic year. In July 1939 Neilson regretfully informed the rector of the University of Florence that because of the "fear of the outbreak of war in Europe," not enough parents were willing to send their daughters to Italy to justify expenses. [92] The Smith College Junior Year in Italy program began the year the Italian universities required professors to take an oath of allegiance to the Fascist government. The twelve who refused to comply were discharged. That same year Fascists in Bologna had assaulted Arturo Toscanini, considered one of the world's greatest conductors, because he refused to begin his concert with the Fascist hymn. The universities strongly encouraged their professors to wear the Fascist black shirt at commencement ceremonies. [93]

The University of Florence program was committed to promoting friendly relations with the Fascist government. The Smith professor who directed the program in Italy, Emma Netti, was an avowed Fascist. She told Smith students that she provided a perspective on Mussolini's Italy rarely presented "in the supposedly unbiased American newspapers." [94] The Smith Alumnae Quarterly reported that a representative of the first group of Smith juniors to study in Florence, Laura Marden, "had the honor of a private audience with Mussolini." It proudly noted that "the 'Historical Handbook of Smith College' now reposes in Mussolini's desk." [95] On more than one occasion during the 1930s, President Neilson traveled to Florence to meet the Smith students studying there, and he met personally with its Fascist rector. In November 1937, Neilson again gave Smith students in Florence permission to meet with Benito Mussolini. Netti informed him that when they learned of this, the Smith students "were excited and enthusiastic." [96]

When the Italian government introduced a series of anti-Jewish laws in the autumn of 1938, modeled on those in Germany, defining Jews as a race, President Neilson did not protest to the Italian government, or to the rectors of the Italian universities at which Smith students were enrolled. These "racial laws" forced out any Jewish professors and students remaining in universities, discharged Jewish teachers from public schools, prohibited Jews from attending secondary schools, and segregated Jews in elementary schools. [97] The Italian consul sent Smith College forms asking for the ethnic origin of its students studying in Italy. Neilson did not comment in the American press on the racial legislation. Instead he notified the fathers of the two Jewish students who had been accepted into the Smith Junior Year in Italy program not to send their daughters "without permission from the Italian authorities." [98]

The Kristallnacht of November 9-10, 1938, appeared to put student exchanges with Germany in jeopardy. On that night, in a carefully planned series of pogroms across the Reich, "the Jewish community of Germany went up in flames." Rampaging Nazis destroyed all the nation's synagogues, assaulted thousands of Jews in the streets of every city and town, murdering nearly 100, and wrecked 7,000 Jewish businesses. The  Nazis arrested and imprisoned in concentration camps more than 30,000 Jewish men. [99] Kristallnacht pushed Junior Year in Munich, Inc., director Edmund Miller into a "slough of Despond." Miller had hoped after the September 1938 Munich Conference that Neville Chamberlain's concessions to Hitler ensured "unperturbed development" for the program and "normal enrollment [for] the following year." He now worried about sending American students into "such a depressing environment." [100]

None of the Seven Sisters administrators or faculty members serving on the Executive Council of the Junior Year in Munich, Inc., resigned in protest. Three weeks after Kristallnacht, Henry Hemmendinger, a Jewish academic affiliated with the University Observatory at Princeton, told President Neilson that his participation on the Executive Council enhanced its prestige and urged him to step down. He noted that Smith College's granting credit for courses taken at Nazified universities made a mockery of Smith's academic standards. Hemmendinger lectured Neilson that by not resigning he was responsible for the "moral and scholastic perversion" of Smith College. [101]

American educators after Kristallnacht still wanted to maintain student exchanges with Munich and other universities in the Reich. In April 1939, President Neilson assured a German involved in administering the University of Munich junior year program that Smith College would "put no obstacles of any kind in the way of students who wish to go to Munich," and that it planned to send two or three the next year. [102]

Because some American parents feared that Germany had become too dangerous a place for their daughters, the Executive Council established a separate junior year German program at the University of Zurich in Switzerland, under Edmund Miller's direction. Nevertheless, the Munich program continued under the supervision of Professor Camillo von Klenze, its founder and president of its Executive Council. In March 1939, von Klenze wrote to President Neilson, whom he called "one who has shown concern in maintaining cultural relations between America and Germany," that he had insisted on the continuation of the Munich program. Von Klenze suggested that the Executive Council had created a second German junior year program in Zurich in response to an "unfortunate wave of anti-German sentiment in the United States." Professor Grace M. Bacon of the Executive Council, head of Mount Holyoke's German Department, wrote to her president, Roswell Ham, praising von Klenze for preventing a complete break with Nazi Germany. [103]

Strains were developing among the American administrators of the German junior year program. Edmund Miller from Zurich accused Grace M. Bacon and Professor Matthias Schmitz of Smith of acting as agents of the German government, which was maneuvering to assume complete control over American student exchanges to Germany. He claimed that they were working with Herman Ruoff, stepson-in-law of Mrs. Alfred I. du Pont, and his wife, Madeleine du Pont Ruoff, wealthy benefactors of the Junior Year in Munich, Inc. Ruoff, a German national and member of the Nazi party, was treasurer of the Auslandsstelle. The couple had traveled throughout the United States in 1936 promoting the Junior Year in Munich program and raising funds for it, speaking at university German clubs and at faculty meetings. The Ruoffs entertained the American students participating in the junior year program at their country estate outside Munich. [104]

Professor Max Diez of Bryn Mawr, an influential member of the Executive Council, expressed the ambivalence of many involved in student exchanges with Germany over setting up a program in Zurich. He pointed to American students' enthusiasm about Munich, declaring that few cities in the world could compare with it as a cultural center. Implying that the United States and Germany were equally to blame, Diez asserted that an "incessant press campaign of vituperation on both sides of the water" had caused many colleges to opt for Zurich as a safer environment for their students. [105]

Pressure mounted in the United States for colleges and universities to admit refugee students from Germany. At hastily organized meetings on many campuses, including those of the Seven Sisters, students gathered to raise money to provide scholarships for refugees. [106] Aware that the Seven Sisters' wealthy benefactors would not tolerate more than a token number of Jews at their colleges, administrators were careful to stress that non-Jews were to comprise a significant proportion of any refugees admitted. (See Chapter 8.)

Correspondence between President Henry Noble MacCracken of Vassar and Margaret C. Halsey, a friend who contacted him on behalf of a non-Jewish Polish professor stranded in the United States by the German conquest of his homeland, suggests that MacCracken was not uncomfortable with the prejudice against Jewish refugees common among alumnae. Halsey informed MacCracken shortly after the fall of Poland that Professor and Mrs. Henryk Arctowsky of Lvov, Poland, were in the United States and unable to return to their occupied country. She asked whether Vassar might consider offering Professor Arctowsky a position on its faculty. Halsey told President MacCracken that the Arctowskys "are not Polish Jews" and noted that she had also written to Dr. Frederick Keppel, a dean at Columbia University, "to reassure him" of that. Halsey added, "As you know, Mrs. Arctowsky comes from an American family of social distinction." President MacCracken in his response did not indicate he was in any way displeased with her statement that the Arctowskys were not Jews. He did not take the opportunity to claim that Vassar hired faculty on merit, not ethnic background. On the contrary, MacCracken informed Halsey that he was passing her request on "at once to the chairman of our committee of the faculty" that considered such appointments. [107]

Despite the outpouring of protest after Kristallnacht, many associated with the Seven Sisters colleges remained unconcerned about Nazi persecution of Jews. Students returning from study in the Third Reich at the conclusion of the 1938-39 academic year continued to provide glowing accounts about it to their school newspapers. Blanche Hatfield, Mount Holyoke Class of 1940, for example, reported that she was thrilled when Adolf Hitler himself came into the restaurant where she was having lunch. Her German hosts "could not do enough" to make her stay in the Reich "profitable and enjoyable." [108] In September 1939, with war looming, a "dauntless group" of juniors assembled in New York City eager to sail to Europe for a year of study at the University of Munich; it was prevented from doing so only by the outbreak of hostilities. [109]

The decades-long campaign that Dean Virginia Gildersleeve of Barnard waged against what she called "International Zionism" illustrated the inability of many academic leaders to comprehend the depth and uniqueness of Jewish suffering. In her anti-Zionist tirades, Gildersleeve used code language favored by antisemites. She claimed that the "Zionist control of the media of communication" in the United States made it difficult for the public to obtain accurate information about the Middle East. Politicians' fear of the "Jewish vote" had led them to "bully" Arabs into allowing into Palestine a "huge influx of alien foreigners," her term for Jews residing there. Indifferent to the threat six invading Arab armies posed to Jewish survival in 1948, Gildersleeve claimed that they had "entered" Palestine after the Jewish state was proclaimed "to protect their fellow Arabs against such horrors as the Dair Yaseen massacre." Standing up to "Zionist threats and attacks," as she put it, Gildersleeve lobbied against the United Nations plan to partition Palestine into a Jewish and an Arab state, and after 1948 she led groups that attempted to persuade the General Assembly "to reconsider its disastrous decision." [110]

In June 1933, New York City's mayor Fiorello H. La Guardia declared to an anti-Nazi gathering of 1,000 delegates from 236 Jewish women's organizations in the city that "the only effective way in which we can voice our protest and get it across to the German people is to make them realize that the American people refuse to deal with Germany as long as Hitler is in power." He strongly endorsed the delegates' commitment to boycott German goods and services in retaliation against the Nazi government's persecution of Jews. Condemning Nazi brutality toward Jews, former U.S. ambassador to Germany James W. Gerard asserted that Germany had returned to the Dark Ages. [111]

By contrast, the administrators and many faculty members at the Seven Sisters colleges remained committed to building and maintaining friendly ties with Nazi Germany's universities, and with its government, into the late 1930s. Such behavior suggested to the American public that the Third Reich was a legitimate member of the community of nations. The Seven Sisters were centrally involved in academic exchanges with Nazified universities right up to the outbreak of World War II. Their students studied under German professors who supported Nazism, in the junior year program at the University of Munich, and in summer courses at the Universities of Heidelberg, Berlin, and elsewhere. Those participating invariably provided favorable accounts of the Third Reich upon their return. Frances Adams of Mount Holyoke, writing from Munich in March 1938, declared that "any account by any junior here is bound to turn into a testimonial." [112] Many Seven Sisters professors who traveled to  Nazi Germany similarly became apologists for the regime. Seven Sisters students made frequent visits to the virulently antisemitic passion play at Oberammergau in Bavaria, both in 1930 and during the tercentenary performances in 1934. Their professors encouraged them to attend and often accompanied them to this pageant, which Hitler enthusiastically endorsed for depicting Jews as a depraved race, cursed through the centuries for having committed deicide. The Seven Sisters actively recruited German exchange students who aggressively championed the Third Reich on their campuses.

Like the elite men's universities, the Seven Sisters sought and maintained cordial relations with Nazified universities, through well-organized student exchange programs and tours of the Third Reich that the Hitler regime organized to showcase its "achievements." Participating students, both American and German, celebrated Nazi Germany at campus forums and in the press. Seven Sisters professors returning from travels in the Third Reich often provided support for such views, and, by condemning American press reports of Nazi atrocities as exaggerated, seriously misled the American public. Visiting professors from German universities aggressively propagandized for Hitler and the Third Reich on the Seven Sisters campuses. Oddly, Seven Sisters administrators and faculty remained largely silent as the Nazis drastically reduced opportunities for women in higher education. By encouraging and developing strong relationships with students and faculty from Nazi Germany, and offering them an important forum in which to present their views in the United States, the prestigious Seven Sisters colleges helped the Hitler regime in improving its image in the West as it intensified its persecution of Jews and prepared for war.
Site Admin
Posts: 33729
Joined: Thu Aug 01, 2013 5:21 am


Return to Political Science

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 0 guests