INTELLECTUALS SAVED FROM NAZISM BY TURKEY: THE CZECHOSLOVAK CONNECTION
In 1933, Turkey reformed its higher education using invitees fleeing the Nazis and for whom America was out of reach because of restrictive immigration laws and widespread anti-Semitic hiring bias at its universities. This visionary act on the part of Turkey's government had the collateral benefit of placing in escrow lives, knowledge, and creativity of many who went on to significantly change established paradigms of several disciplines in the English speaking world's sciences and professions. This paper discusses the Czech connection of four eminent scientists saved by Turkey. They are biochemist Felix Haurowitz, astronomer E. Finlay Freundlich, archeologist/ assyriologist Benno Landsberger, and applied mathematician Richard von Mises. Although none has achieved Nobel laureate status, over their professional careers each of these has collaborated with and or corresponded with a number of Nobelists. Among these are Albert Einstein, Linus Pauling, and Max von Laue. Except for Freundlich who ended up at the University of St Andrews in Scotland, the other three came to the United States. Von Mises went to Harvard in 1938, Landsberger went to the University of Chicago in 1945 and Haurowitz to Indiana University in 1949. The paper also discusses the fact that three of these intellectuals and many others requested and were given Czech passports by the Benes government-in-exile after having been stripped of their German citizenship by the Nazis while in Turkey and thereby rendering them stateless or in Turkish Haymatloz.
A. Reisman, redakce casopisu Dejiny ved a techniky, MUA AV CR, v.v.i., Gabcikova 10, 182 00 Praha 8, Czech Republic
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