Well Worth Saving: American Universities' Life-and-Death Decisions on Refugees from Nazi Europe

Well Worth Saving: American Universities' Life-and-Death Decisions on Refugees from Nazi Europe

by Laurel Leff


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A harrowing account of the profoundly consequential decisions American universities made about refugee scholars from Nazi-dominated Europe

The United States’ role in saving Europe’s intellectual elite from the Nazis is often told as a tale of triumph, which in many ways it was. America welcomed Albert Einstein and Enrico Fermi, Hannah Arendt and Herbert Marcuse, Rudolf Carnap and Richard Courant, among hundreds of other physicists, philosophers, mathematicians, historians, chemists, and linguists who transformed the American academy. Yet for every scholar who survived and thrived, many, many more did not.
To be hired by an American university, a refugee scholar had to be world-class and well connected, not too old and not too young, not too right and not too left, and, most important, not too Jewish. Those who were unable to flee were left to face the horrors of the Holocaust. In this rigorously researched book, Laurel Leff rescues from obscurity scholars who were deemed “not worth saving” and tells the riveting, full story of the hiring decisions universities made during the Nazi era.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780300243871
Publisher: Yale University Press
Publication date: 12/03/2019
Pages: 368
Sales rank: 516,121
Product dimensions: 6.30(w) x 9.30(h) x 1.30(d)

About the Author

Laurel Leff is associate director of the Jewish Studies Program and associate professor of journalism at Northeastern University. She is the author of Buried by The Times: The Holocaust and America’s Most Important Newspaper.

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations ix

Introduction 1

1 The Nazi University 10

2 Rescue Efforts 29

3 Unsympathetic Administrators 52

4 World Class and Well Connected 66

5 Age, Politics, Gender, and Money 84

6 Too Jewish or Foreign 105

7 State Department Barriers 120

8 An International Crisis 137

9 More Need, Less Help 165

10 A Last Chance in France 191

11 Security Fears 210

12 Final Appeals 227

Epilogue 249

Appendix 1 U.S. Organizations and Personnel 261

Appendix 2 Displaced Scholars and How They Fared 265

Notes 279

Acknowledgments 331

Index 333

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