Sholom Aleichem (1859-1916), a central figure in modern Yiddish literature, was born Sholom Rabinowitz in Voronko, Russia. Often called the “Jewish Mark Twain,” he published more than 40 volumes of work.
His merchant father’s business failed when Sholom was still a child, impoverishing the family. In the 1860s, Sholom attended a traditional cheder. Later, he attended the Russian district school in Pereyaslav, but wrote that the literature of the Haskala, the Jewish Enlightenment movement, was the main source of his education. At 15, he wrote a novel inspired by his reading of Robinson Crusoe and adopted the popular Hebrew/Yiddish greeting meaning “How do you do,” or “Peace be with you” as his pseudonym.
After graduating from high school in 1876, he spent three years tutoring Olga (Golde) Loyev, a girl from a wealthy family. They married, against parental wishes in 1883, and had six children.
Sholom Aleichem was influenced by Haskala author Mendele Mocher Seforim, a founding father of modern Yiddish and modern Hebrew literature. Initially, Aleichem shunned Yiddish until he realized that his work in Hebrew and Russian would be understood only by the intellectual elite. In 1883, he switched to Yiddish. Characters from his short-lived Hebrew period were overshadowed by Tevye the Dairyman, luftmentch Menachem Mendl, and the chatty population of Kasrilevke.
After 1905, when major pogroms spread across Russia, Aleichem settled his family in Geneva, Switzerland and pursued a strenuous international schedule of lectures to supplement his writing income. The family moved to the lower east side of Manhattan in 1914. When he died two years later, his funeral attracted 150,000 mourners, then one of the largest crowds in New York City’s history.
Henri Alleg (1921-2013), born Harry Salem to Jewish parents from Russia and Poland, studied literature at the Sorbonne, became a French-Algerian journalist and a member of the Communist Party. He started writing under the name Alleg for the Alger Républicain, a daily newspaper sympathetic to Algerian nationalism, and became its editor-in-chief in 1951. In June 1957, he was arrested on suspicion of undermining the power of the French state, and underwent torture for one month in El-Biar, a suburb of Algiers, at the hands of the French Army. Alleg’s account of his interrogation was smuggled out of prison and published in 1958 by Editions de Minuit as La Question, and that same year in English as The Question. Alleg gained international recognition for his stance against torture in the context of the Algerian War. The French government banned La Question after 60,000 copies had been sold. In 1960, a military court which barred the public and the press from the trial condemned Alleg to 10 years of hard labor in France, but he escaped from prison in 1961 and took refuge in Czechoslovakia.
After the 1962 Evian Accords, Alleg returned to France and then to Algeria. He helped rebuild the Alger Républicain but was declared persona non grata after the 1965 military coup by Houari Boumédienne. Alleg moved back to France where he worked as a journalist for L’Humanité until 1980 and wrote several books, including a three-volume history of the Algerian War of Independence and Algerian Memoirs published in 2005. He died at age 91.
Born Yigal Paicovitch in Kfar Tavor in the Galilee, Yigal Allon (1918-1980) graduated from the Kadoorie Agricultural High School in 1937 and later studied at the Hebrew University, Jerusalem, and at St Antony’s College, Oxford. His father had immigrated to Palestine in 1890 from Grodno (Lithuania, today Belarus) and his mother’s family had lived in Safed for generations.
Allon was a founder of Kibbutz Ginosar and commanded a field unit of the Haganah during the 1936-1939 Arab revolt. In 1941 he was one of the founding members of the Palmach, of which he became commander-in-chief in 1945. Allon led several major operations on all three fronts during Israel’s 1948 War of Independence.
After the end of his military career in 1950, Allon entered politics in a left-of-center party. He served in Israel’s parliament, the Knesset, from 1955 until his death. Allon was Minister of Labour (1961-67), Deputy Prime Minister (1967–69) and Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Education and Culture in Golda Meir’s government (1969-74). He was Minister of Foreign Affairs in Yitzhak Rabin’s government (1974-77).
Born Lucie Bernard in France’s Burgundy region into a family of winegrowers, Lucie Aubrac (1912-2007) earned her agrégation and became a high school history teacher. In 1939 she married Raymond Samuel, the son of Jewish shopkeepers and a civil engineer. Both joined the résistance in 1940 adopting the name Aubrac. Lucie delivered packages, printed clandestine news sheets and designed and executed escape plans while continuing to teach in a lycée. When pregnant with their first child, Lucie several times rescued her husband, imprisoned by the Lyon Gestapo headed by the notorious Klaus Barbie. The couple and their son were secretly flown to Britain in 1944 where Lucie gave birth to a daughter days later.
After World War II, Lucie worked for Algeria’s independence, spoke frequently about her wartime experiences and was made Grand officier de la Légion d'honneur, France’s highest honor. Two movies, Lucie Aubrac by Claude Berri and Boulevard of Swallows by Josée Yanne, are based in part on Lucie Aubrac’s life. Jean-Pierre Melville’s Army of Shadows is another movie about the French résistance.
Odile Ayral-Clause grew up in Le Havre, France, and moved to the United States when she married an American. She subsequently received a Ph.D. in French literature from the University of Colorado, Boulder, and went on to teach French language and literature at California Polytechnic State University. She is the author of Camille Claudel: A Life, also available in French, and of various articles on Camille Claudel. She contributed an essay to the French catalogue raisonné on Claudel and another to the catalogue of the 2005 exhibition “Claudel and Rodin” that took place in Quebec and Detroit. Her related CBC interview was warmly received. She lives in San Luis Obispo, California.
Rachel Yanait Ben-Zvi
Born Golda Lishansky in a Hasidic family in the shtetl of Malin, near Kiev, Ukraine, Rachel Yanait Ben-Zvi (1886-1979) represented Malin at the 7th Zionist Congress in Basel (1905). She was among the founders of the socialist Zionist party Poale Zion in Russia before emigrating in 1908 to Palestine, where she worked for Labor Zionism, was a leader among the Jewish workers of the Second Aliyah (1904-1914) and helped organize the Jewish Watchmen, Hashomer, in 1909. To prepare herself to promote agricultural settlement in Eretz Israel, she studied agricultural engineering at the University of Nancy, France (1911-1914). In 1918, she married Yitzhak Ben-Zvi, a fellow Poale Zion and Hashomer activist who became Israel’s second President (1952-1963).
In 1928, she founded “The Educational Farm” to provide agricultural education for women in Jerusalem. She remained a labor activist, was active in the Haganah and organized the clandestine immigration of Jews through Syria and Lebanon.
After 1948, Rachel Yanait Ben-Zvi was active in the absorption of immigrants from Arab countries. As Israel’s first lady, she opened the president’s residence to people from all backgrounds in Israeli society, wrote about education and defense. Her autobiography Coming Home (in Hebrew, Anu olim) was published in 1961. In 1978, she was awarded the Israel Prize for her special contribution to society and the State of Israel.
Born in Prague in 1923, Ruth Bondy joined the Zionist youth group Noar Zioni Chaluzi, and planned to make Aliyah, but was sent to Theresienstadt Ghetto in 1942, where she worked growing vegetables for the SS command, and participated in the extensive educational activities of the ghetto.
In 1943, she was sent to Auschwitz-Birkenau’s Czech family camp and in July 1944, roughly one month after the Czech family camp’s liquidation, Bondy was transferred to Hamburg as a worker clearing debris from allied bombardments. A short time later she was sent to Bergen-Belsen, where she was liberated, weighing 35 kilograms. Following a miraculous recovery from typhus, Bondy returned to Prague, where she joined a unit of Jews determined to fight for Israel’s independence, arriving in Haifa on December 31, 1948.
Once in Israel, she learned Hebrew and began working as a Hebrew teacher and as a reporter for Omer, a newspaper for new immigrants. In 1953 she became a columnist for Dvar Hashavua, the respected weekly magazine of the daily newspaper Davar. Bondy wrote over twenty books, including four biographies, the first of which, The Emissary: A Life of Enzo Sereni appeared in 1973 and won the Yizhak Sadeh Prize in 1974. It was followed by a profile of Jacob Edelstein, the chairman of the Theresienstadt Council of Elders. Bondy intended this biography to change the negative attitude of Israelis towards Holocaust victims. Bondy translated more than 50 books of Czech literature into Hebrew, including Jaroslav Hašek’s The Good Soldier Schweik, works of Karl Čapek, Milan Kundera, Bohomil Hrabal and many others. She also translated Kamarad, one of the children’s newspapers in the Theresienstadt Ghetto.
In 1981 Bondy became a member of Sovlanut, a non-partisan movement for tolerance and the prevention of violence, but distanced herself from the group in frustration in 1995, after the assassination of Yitzhak Rabin. Bondy, who won the Sokolov prize for journalism, the Tchernichovsky prize for translation and the Prime Minister's prize for Hebrew literature, continues in her nineties to write nonfiction and to translate works from the Czech into Hebrew. (photo: Moshe Shai)
Thomas Neville Bonner
Thomas Neville Bonner (1923-2003), a widely known medical historian, earned a Ph.D. from Northwestern University and held bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Rochester. Distinguished Professor Emeritus and President Emeritus of Wayne State University, Bonner wrote five books on the history of medicine and education, including Medicine in Chicago (1957), To the Ends of the Earth (1992), Becoming a Physician: Medical Education in Great Britain, France, Germany and the United States, 1750-1945 (1996) and Iconoclast: Abraham Flexner and a Life in Learning (2002), and two textbooks. He received two Guggenheim Fellowships and was a Rockefeller Foundation Resident at Bellagio, Italy.
He was vice president and provost at the University of Cincinnati (1967-71) and president of the University of New Hampshire (1971-74), of Union College (1974–78), and of Wayne State University (1978-82). He retired from the Wayne State faculty in 1997. Bonner received major, multi-year grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the National Institutes of Health, and has been awarded three honorary degrees.
Jean-Denis Bredin is a French attorney, law professor, and author. He was born Jean-Denis Hirsch in 1929, to an Alsatian Jewish father and a Catholic mother. His parents divorced when he was small and he was raised as a Catholic. After obtaining degrees in law and humanities from University of Paris-Sorbonne, Bredin was admitted to the Paris Bar in 1950. In 1965, he co-founded Bredin Prat, today one of France’s most prestigious law firms. Bredin was a law professor in Rennes, in Lille and in Paris where he taught from 1969 until 1993. He served on various commissions tasked with reforming France’s universities (1968), broadcast media (1981) and film industry (1982). In 1974, Bredin began publishing fiction (Un Coupable, L’Absence) and non-fiction (L’affaire, Bernard Lazare, Joseph Caillaux, Sieyès). His literary work was so prolific and distinguished that in 1989 he was elected to the Académie Française, occupying Chair 3, formerly held by Marguerite Yourcenar.
Born in New York in 1947, Michael Burns grew up in Los Angeles, where he worked in the motion picture and television industry for nearly twenty years. He graduated from UCLA and received a PhD in Modern European History from Yale University in 1981. He is Professor Emeritus at Mount Holyoke College and has taught at Yale and the École des Hautes Études.
Besides France and the Dreyfus Affair: A Documentary History, his publications include Rural Society and French Politics: Boulangism and the Dreyfus Affair; a revision of Geoffrey Barraclough’s Main Trends in History; and Dreyfus: A Family Affair from the French Revolution to the Holocaust, which was awarded the Prix Bernard Lecache of the International League against Racism and Antisemitism. Recipient of Rockefeller, Fulbright, and Tocqueville fellowships, he has been advisory editor for the Blackwell series New Perspectives on the Past and for France and the Americas: Culture, Politics, and History. He is a former fellow of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars.
Jack Chen (1908-1995) was born in Trinidad. His father, Eugene Chen, was a Chinese solicitor and his mother was French creole. In 1911, the family moved to London soon after the Manchu Dynasty was overthrown by Sun Yat-sen who founded the Chinese Republic. Encouraged by Sun Yat-sen, Eugene returned to China to help build the new nation, leaving his family in London so his children could complete their education. In 1927, after his mother died, Jack Chen moved to Wuhan, China where he briefly worked as his father’s secretary at the Foreign Affairs Ministry and as a cartoonist for Wuhan’s People’s Tribune. After the fall of the Wuhan government, the Chen family left for Moscow where Jack started his art education at Moscow’s Polygraphic Institute in 1928. In 1937-38, Chen took his and the work of other young Chinese artists on a world tour, organizing the first exhibition of Chinese cartoons and woodcuts in Moscow, London, New York, Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Paris, Amsterdam and other cities, introducing modern Chinese art for the first time to the Western world.
From 1950 on, Chen worked in China as a journalist, editor and artist, contributing regularly to People’s China, Peking Review, and Cartoon. Under Mao Zedong’s Cultural Revolution started in 1966, after a kangaroo court of Red Guards sentenced him to hard labor Chen worked with peasant farmers in the countryside, an experience he recounted in his book A Year In Upper Felicity: Life in a Chinese Village During the Cultural Revolution.
In 1971 he came to the United States and lectured widely about Chinese affairs, including at Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Stanford, and UC Berkeley. He wrote for several publications including The New York Times and Esquire. In 1972-73, Chen worked as a consultant to the New York State Department of Education, helping develop study programs on modern China. In 1973-77, he worked at Cornell University, lecturing, researching, and writing. In 1978-82, he worked at the Chinese Culture Center of San Francisco and organized the exhibition Chinese of America, the research for which became the basis for his book The Chinese of America. Chen’s other books are The Chinese Theatre, Folk Arts of New China, New Earth and Inside the Cultural Revolution.
Lucy S. Dawidowicz
Born in New York City to recent immigrants from Poland, Lucy (Schildkret) Dawidowicz (1915-1990) attended Hunter College High School and the Sholem Aleichem Mitlshul, a secular Yiddishist supplementary school, and studied English literature at Hunter College. In 1938, she set off for Vilna, Poland to conduct research at the YIVO Institute for Jewish Research. She fled Vilna only days before the Germans invaded Poland. In 1940, Max Weinreich, a founder of the YIVO who had also escaped from Europe, invited Dawidowicz to rejoin YIVO in New York.
At the end of World War II, Dawidowicz spent eighteen months on the staff of the Joint Distribution Committee in Germany helping Jewish survivors in DP camps. In 1948 she married Szymon Dawidowicz, a political refugee from Poland, and began working for the American Jewish Committee. In 1969, she became a professor at Yeshiva University. Throughout the 1970s and 1980s, Dawidowicz wrote books and articles about Eastern European Jewry, the Holocaust and Jews in America.
Born in 1922, Inge Deutschkron grew up in Berlin and was brought up as an atheist. Her parents were members of the Social Democratic Party. In 1939, Inge had to leave high school because she was Jewish, and her father Martin escaped to England. In 1941, Inge was sent to work as a forced laborer at a parachute silk factory. Through the Jewish Community, she contacted Otto Weidt who employed blind and deaf Jews to produce brooms and brushes and protected them. Weidt gave Inge an office job, despite the strict ban on Jews working in an office. In January 1943, Inge and her mother Ella went into hiding in several places with the help of friends and acquaintances, and stayed in Potsdam until the end of the war. In 1946 they joined Martin in England where Inge studied foreign languages and worked in the Socialist International Office.
In 1955, Inge started working as a freelance journalist in Bonn and became the Germany correspondent for the Israeli daily newspaper Maariv in 1960. From 1972 until 1987, she worked for Maariv in Israel. In 2001, she returned to Berlin where she now lives.
Carl Djerassi (1923-2015), scientist and author, was born in Vienna in 1923 to a Bulgarian father and Viennese mother, both Jewish. He fled Nazism and arrived in the U.S. in 1939, received his PhD. in chemistry from the University of Wisconsin at 22 and moved to Mexico City with the then small pharmaceutical company, Syntex. His team synthesized cortisone from a local yam and, in 1951, the steroid oral contraceptive, norethindrone, the template on which most oral contraceptives are based. He continued to work in industry while becoming a chemistry professor, first at Wayne University (now Wayne State), then at Stanford University. After his third marriage, to Stanford English professor Diane Middlebrook, he closed his laboratories and embarked on a writing career. He divides his time between San Francisco, London, and Vienna. At 90, he has published more than 1,200 scientific papers, four autobiographies (including The Pill, Pygmy Chimps, and Degas' Horse), five novels, two nonfiction books, 11 plays, two collections of poetry, three collections of essays and short stories, and one art book. He is the founder of the Djerassi Resident Artists Program near Woodside, California. He has received 32 honorary doctorates and is the winner of the 1992 Priestley Medal, the highest American award in chemistry; he received the National Medal of Science in 1973 and the National Medal of Technology in 1991. (photo: Karen Ostertag)
Alfred Döblin (1878-1957) was an assimilated and ambivalent Prussian Jew, a psychiatrist, critic, essayist, mystic, and novelist. His works are considered classics of German modernism and include The Three Leaps of Wang Lun (1915), Wallenstein (1920) and Berlin Alexanderplatz (1929). When he fled Germany for Paris in 1933, he was one of the country's best-known authors and a serious contender for the Nobel Prize. His refugee trajectory, documented in Destiny’s Journey (1949), led through Marseilles, Lisbon and New York to the colony of European exile intellectuals in Hollywood. His entourage included his wife and children as well as the woman who was his long-time lover. In 1941, after a long period of religious searching, he converted to Catholicism. In a review of Destiny’s Journey, critic John Simon wrote: “Döblin was not at peace with any religion, philosophy, political theory, literary school or style. Though a Jew, he early on rejected many aspects of Judaism. Though a socialist, he had no use for Marx and militancy. Though a Westerner, Eastern mysticism played a substantial role in his thought.” Alfred Döblin returned to Germany in 1945 at the war's end. He could not adjust to life there and, with his wife, resettled in Paris in the early 1950s. (photo: S. Fischer Verlag GmbH)
Carol Easton was born in San Francisco and raised in Los Angeles, where she majored in Theatre Arts at UCLA. She spent the 60s and 70s raising three children, the 80s in London, the early 90s in New York, and now lives in Venice, California. Her play, Champagne Sec, was published by Samuel French. She has published short fiction, and novelisations of films, and was a major contributor to The Music Makers (edited by George Simon) and The People’s Almanac (edited by Irving Wallace). Her published biographies are Straight Ahead: The Story of Stan Kenton, The Search for Sam Goldwyn, Jacqueline du Pré: A Biography and No Intermissions: the Life of Agnes de Mille, which was designated one of the New York Times’ Notable Books of 1996. (photo: Bob Romero)
Abba Eban (1915-2002) was born to Lithuanian Jews in Cape Town, South Africa and named Aubrey Solomon. His father died when he was seven month old and his mother Alida Sacks moved to Britain where she remarried. In 1938, Eban graduated with honors from Queens’ College, Cambridge and began teaching Arabic, Persian and Hebrew literature at the university. During World War II, Eban worked in Cairo as a translator and censor for the British army. There he met Shoshana (Suzy) Ambache, the daughter of a Jewish businessman from Palestine, whom he married. The couple settled in Palestine where Eban worked for the British until he joined the Jewish Agency for Palestine.
At 33, he became Israel’s first permanent representative at the UN and then Israel’s ambassador to the US. He served as a Labor member of the Knesset, and as Israel’s deputy prime minister and foreign minister. A prolific lecturer and author, he wrote several books, including My people: the story of the Jews, My country: the story of modern Israel, Heritage: civilization and the Jews, Abba Eban: An Autobiography and The new diplomacy: international affairs in the modern age.
Suzy Eban (1921-2011), born Shoshana Ambache in a Zionist family in Ismailia, Egypt and raised in Cairo, grew up speaking Hebrew, attended French schools and graduated from the American University of Cairo. Her father, whose family had emigrated to Palestine from Russia, worked for the Suez Canal Company. Her grandparents settled in Motza, near Jerusalem. In 1945, Suzy married Aubrey (later Abba) Eban, then a British army officer stationed in Egypt, who later became Israel’s first ambassador to the UN and to the US. Suzy’s husband of 57 years went on to head the Weizmann Institute of Science and to serve as Israel’s minister of education, deputy prime minister and foreign minister. Suzy led the Israel Cancer Association for almost 40 years.
Amos Elon (1926-2009) was one of Israel’s leading public intellectuals. Born in Vienna, he emigrated to Palestine with his family in 1933. He studied law, literature, and history at Tel Aviv University, Hebrew University, Jerusalem, and Cambridge.
A secular Jew, he fought in Israel’s War of Independence in 1948 and later became a journalist. He began writing for Ha’aretz in 1954, and subsequently served as the newspaper’s Washington correspondent, European bureau chief, senior editor and columnist.
His eleven books include Founder: A Portrait of the First Rothschild and His Time, The Israelis: Founders and Sons and Herzl. A persistent and prescient voice for negotiation between Arabs and Jews. In 2004, he moved to Tuscany. He wrote frequently for English-language publications including Encounter, The New Republic, The New York Times Magazine, The New Yorker and The New York Review of Books.
Born in Prague in 1947, Helen Epstein grew up in New York City, where she graduated from Hunter College High School in 1965. She studied at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem and became a journalist after the Soviet Invasion of Czechoslovakia of 1968 when her personal account was published in the Jerusalem Post. She became a university correspondent for that newspaper while still an undergraduate. Subsequently, she studied at the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism and began freelancing for diverse publications including the New York Times.
Her profiles of legendary musicians such as Vladimir Horowitz, Leonard Bernstein and Yo-Yo Ma are collected in Music Talks that, like Children of the Holocaust and Where She Came From, has been translated into several other languages. She herself is the translator of Heda Kovály's Under A Cruel Star and Vlasta Schönová's Acting in Terezín. Her biographies of Joseph Papp and Tina Packer grew out of her journalistic work. She has an active speaking career and has lectured at a wide variety of venues in Europe, and North and South America. She blogs for The Arts Fuse, a New England cultural web site.
Born in Debrecen, Hungary in 1937, Charles Fenyvesi immigrated to the United States after the revolution of 1956 in which he was a student participant. He won a scholarship to Harvard University where he received his B.A. in 1960 and served as assistant to Prof. Clyde Kluckhohn researching medieval history. He went to India as a graduate student at Madras University and received an M.A. in philosophy in 1962.
Returning to the US, he edited various publications including The National Jewish Monthly and served as Washington correspondent for the Tel Aviv daily Ha’aretz before joining The Washington Post as a staff writer contributing a weekly garden column for nineteen years and scores of features and op-ed pieces. Next he worked for US News & World Report, filing a one-page weekly feature, “Washington Whispers,” for a decade. Fenyvesi also freelanced for The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, The Baltimore Sun, and The New Republic.
He is author of six books on subjects ranging from interviews with Europe’s non-reigning kings to essays on trees, from archival research on three little known anti-Nazi conspiracies during World War II to profiles of rescuers of Jews in wartime Hungary. His own family’s history, When the World Was Whole, was published in six countries.
Born in Brooklyn, New York into a family of artists, Rolf Fjelde (1926-2002) was an American educator, poet and critic and one of this country’s foremost translators and proponents of the works of Henrik Ibsen. His father, Paul Fjelde, was a noted sculptor. His grandfather was the Norwegian born sculptor, Jacob Fjelde, who had immigrated to Minnesota in 1887. In 1885, at the age of 26, Jacob had met Ibsen, then 47 years old, and created a bust of his famous countryman.
Rolf Fjelde grew up in Greenwich, Connecticut and graduated from Yale University where he was a founding editor of the Yale Poetry Review. After receiving an MFA at Columbia University, he received fellowships to study in Heidelberg and Copenhagen. In 1954 he joined the faculty of Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, where he was a Professor of Literature until his retirement in 1997. He was also on the faculty of the Juilliard Drama School from 1973 to 1983.
Fjelde published two volumes of poetry in 1955 and 1962 and first translated Ibsen in 1965, starting a translating career that culminated in Ibsen: The Complete Major Prose Plays in 1978 and Peer Gynt in 1980. In 1991, the King of Norway honored Fjelde for his translations with the medal of the Royal Norwegian Order of St. Olav and in 1993 the American Academy of Arts and Letters presented him with its Award in Literature. In 1978, as the Ibsen Sesquicentennial Symposium celebrating the 150th anniversary of Ibsen’s birth took place at the Pratt Institute, the Ibsen Society of America was started and Fjelde was elected its founding president. He held that office for 15 years and during that time founded Ibsen News and Comment, the journal of the Society which has been published annually since 1980. The Ibsen Society of America and its journal have provided a vital forum for actors, directors, scholars and critics involved with Ibsen. Fjelde has lectured nationally and internationally, often in connection with productions of his translations.
Raymond B. Fosdick
Born in Buffalo to a long line of clergymen, Raymond B. Fosdick (1883-1972) admired Woodrow Wilson so much that he transferred from Colgate College to Princeton where he received his M.A. in 1906. As a student, Fosdick visited New York’s Lower East Side where the living conditions of immigrant families so appalled him that after graduation and during his law studies he worked at the Henry Street Settlement, which provided social services to poor families.
After graduating from New York Law School in 1908, Fosdick worked for the City of New York, soon becoming its top investigator. While investigating white slavery, he met John D. Rockefeller, Jr. (JDR Jr.) who was working with a special grand jury investigating the same issue. JDR Jr. hired Fosdick in 1913 to head up a study for the newly created Bureau of Social Hygiene, a Rockefeller philanthropy working to prevent social ills among the urban poor, including prostitution, venereal disease and crime. Fosdick’s study of European law enforcement was published as European Police Systems in 1916. In 1917 Fosdick studied military training for the US Army and Navy and then served as special representative of the War Department in France and as a civilian aide to General Pershing. After World War I Fosdick became Under-Secretary General of the League of Nations, a position he left in 1920 when the United States did not ratify its membership in the organization.
In 1920 Fosdick returned to the Bureau of Social Hygiene and was a close associate of JDR Jr., serving as his attorney and advisor, and in prominent roles in Rockefeller philanthropies. In 1921 Fosdick became board member of the Rockefeller Foundation, the Rockefeller Institute for Medical Research, the Laura Spelman Rockefeller Memorial, the China Medical Board and the International Health Division. In 1922 he became a member of the General Education Board, and in 1923 a member of the International Education Board. As a trustee of the Rockefeller Foundation, Fosdick played a key role in the Foundation’s reorganization in 1928, and in 1936 was named president of the Rockefeller Foundation and of the General Education Board.
With JDR Jr., Fosdick shaped the direction of the Rockefeller Foundation between 1936 and 1948, a period during which the Foundation contributed substantially to the research and control of malaria and yellow fever, to the modernization of China, to the development of the natural sciences, and started its first programs in the humanities and social sciences, and a revolutionary program in agriculture aimed at expanding crop production worldwide.
Fosdick’s contributions to public service and philanthropy were recognized by many awards, including the Distinguished Service Medal for his war work, and the titles of Commander in the French Legion of Honor and Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He is the author of fourteen books, including The Story of the Rockefeller Foundation and John D. Rockefeller, Jr.: A Portrait.
Elinor Fuchs is the author or editor of five books, including The Death of Character: Reflections on Theater After Modernism, winner of the George Jean Nathan Award in Dramatic Criticism, Land/Scape/Theater co-edited with Una Chaudhuri, and Making an Exit, a family memoir which has led to many speaking invitations on issues of dementia and aging. She has published numerous scholarly articles in anthologies and journals as well as theater criticism in The Village Voice and American Theatre. Her documentary play, Year One of the Empire: A Play of American War, Politics, and Protest, written with historian Joyce Antler, received its premiere in Los Angeles, winning the Drama-Logue “Best Play” Award, and was produced in New York in 2008. Known for her work on dramatic structure, and on postmodern and postdramatic theater, Professor Fuchs has also won the Choice Outstanding Academic Book Award, the Excellence in Editing and Outstanding Article awards of the Association for Theatre in Higher Education and the Betty Jean Jones Teaching Award of the American Theatre and Drama Society. Professor Fuchs has taught at Harvard, Columbia, Emory, New York University, and the Institut für Theatrewissenschaft of the Free University in Berlin. She has also offered dramaturgical workshops in Europe and the U.K. She has been the recipient of a Rockefeller Foundation fellowship for independent study, a Bunting fellowship, and a fellowship in Age Studies at the Center for 20th Century Study of the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee. She holds a Ph.D. from the Graduate Center of the City University of New York and is now Professor Emerita of Dramaturgy and Dramatic Criticism of the Yale School of Drama, where she taught from 1987 to 2015.
Howard Greenfeld (1929-2006) grew up in New York City, graduated from Columbia University, and has lived in Rome, Florence, and Camaiore, Italy, and in Paris, France.
He has written twenty books for young adults, and biographies of Marc Chagall, Gertrude Stein, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Puccini, Caruso, and the art collector Albert C. Barnes. He was also the founder of Orion Press and published English-language translations of such writers as Italo Calvino, Primo Levi, and Jean Piaget.
Frederic V. Grunfeld
Born in Berlin, Frederic Volker Grunfeld (1929-1987) and his family fled the Nazis in 1938 to settle in Queens, New York. After graduating from the University of Chicago in 1949, Grunfeld was a classical music broadcaster for WQXR, wrote book reviews for the New York Times and worked in the record industry in New York City. He moved to Deia, Mallorca in 1961, was cultural correspondent in Europe for The Reporter, and roving editor for Horizon. He also worked for other publications including Connoisseur, Queen magazine and New York. In 1974, he earned a Master of Fine Arts from Columbia University where he studied with Jacques Barzun. Grunfeld’s books include The Art and Times of the Guitar (1970), The Hitler File: A Social History of Germany and the Nazis, 1918-45 (1974), Games of the World (1975), Berlin (1977), Prophets Without Honour (1979), Rodin: A Biography (1987), and Wild Spain (1988). He died in Spain at the age of 58 of a heart attack.
Sebastian Haffner was born in 1907 as Raimund Pretzel the last of four children. His father was headmaster of a Berlin school and a noted liberal school reformer. Pretzel studied law and received his doctorate in 1934. Although he was not Jewish he abandoned his planned career as a lawyer in public service when the Nazis came to power. Instead he worked as a non-political journalist.
In 1938 he and his pregnant fiancée, who was of Jewish descent and for that reason had been dismissed from her post as university librarian, managed to emigrate to the UK, where they were married. There he started to write a memoir about his youth in Weimar Germany and the rise of the Nazis. The book (Defying Hitler) was abandoned at the outbreak of war and replaced by another (Germany: Jekyll and Hyde) offering an analysis of Germany for the benefit of the allies. This book, published under the pseudonym Sebastian Haffner which he used for the rest of his life, procured his release from internment in the summer of 1940. In 1942 he became a journalist at the Observer and quickly made a reputation as a political thinker.
Haffner returned to Germany in 1954, initially as a correspondent for the Observer. There he became an important commentator on current affairs and a well-known television personality. In the 1960s he started writing historical books, mostly about 20th century German history, including The Ailing Empire: Germany from Bismarck to Hitler. His most important and successful book, The Meaning of Hitler, appeared in 1978. He retired in 1991 and died in 1999 aged 91. (Image of the author from Mein Vater III, 1986 by Sarah Haffner; oil on canvas, 75 x 100 cm, Stadtmuseum, Berlin).
Lawrence Harmon writes editorials and a weekly column for the op-ed page of the Boston Globe. Before joining the editorial board of the Boston Globe in 1992, he was editor of the Citizen Group papers and wrote for the old Boston Ledger and Jewish Advocate. He co-authored The Death of an American Jewish Community: A Tragedy of Good Intentions (1992). Harmon writes extensively on urban affairs, education, law enforcement issues, and housing policy. He has a BS from Boston University’s Metropolitan College, and an MA from Simmons College. (drawing: Boston Globe)
Hans Heiberg (1904-1978) was an extraordinarily prolific Norwegian critic, novelist, playwright, translator, theater director and journalist. He is the only Ibsen biographer to have staged his work. Born in Kristiania (now Oslo), Norway, Heiberg worked as a foreign correspondent in Great Britain, France, Japan and China before turning to theater and radio for the rest of his life. In addition to writing his own plays, novels and literary criticism, he translated more than two hundred novels and plays into Norwegian. Heiberg set out to create “a biography of Henrik Ibsen as a human being — a portrait of the man before he became a mask.” His very readable biography, originally published in 1967 by Aschehoug, is the best-selling biography of the playwright in his native country.
Anthony Heilbut, born in New York City in 1940, the son of German-Jewish refugees, graduated from Queens College and received his Ph.D. in English Literature from Harvard University. He taught at New York University and Hunter College. Since 1976 he has been a full-time writer and record producer. His first book, The Gospel Sound: Good News and Bad Times, appeared in 1971. Other books include Exiled in Paradise: German Refugee Artists and Intellectuals in America from the 1930s to the Present (1983, 1997); Thomas Mann: Eros and Literature (1996, 1997); and The Fan Who Knew Too Much: Aretha Franklin, The Rise of the Soap Opera, Children of the Gospel Church, and Other Meditations (2012). Heilbut’s work has appeared in Harper’s Magazine, The Nation, The New Yorker, The Village Voice, The Daily Beast, The New York Times Book Review and The Los Angeles Times Book Review. As a record producer, Heilbut specializes in black gospel music. He has produced over fifty albums for various labels.
Chaim Herzog (1918-1997) was born and raised in Ireland. His father, Ireland’s Chief Rabbi, became Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi of Palestine in 1936 and held that office in Israel until his death in 1959. Chaim Herzog moved to Palestine in 1935 and served in the Haganah during the 1936-39 Arab revolt. After earning his law degree from University College London in 1941, he served as an intelligence officer in the British Army during World War II, then returned to Palestine. He married Aura Ambache, the sister of Suzy Eban, in 1947. After fighting in the War of Independence, he headed Israel’s Southern Command and established Israel’s military intelligence. He retired from the Israel Defense Forces as Major-General in 1962, and then practiced law. After the 1967 Six-Day War, he returned to the military as governor of the West Bank.
In 1972, Herzog co-founded Herzog, Fox & Neeman, now one of Israel’s largest law firms. In 1975-78, Herzog represented Israel at the UN, where he fought the UN “Zionism is Racism” resolution, tearing it up symbolically before the General Assembly. In 1981, Herzog entered the Knesset as a member of Israel’s Alignment, the predecessor to the Labour Party. In 1983, he was elected President of Israel and served for two terms, until 1993, the maximum allowed by law. His son Isaac Herzog has led Israel’s Labour Party and the opposition to Benjamin Netanyahu in the Knesset since 2013.
Eva Hoffman grew up in Cracow, Poland, where she studied piano at the Cracow School of Music, before emigrating in her teens to Canada and then the United States. After receiving her Ph.D. in English and American literature from Harvard University, she worked as senior editor at the New York Times, serving for a while as one of its main literary critics. She has taught literature and creative writing at various universities, and has written and lectured internationally on issues of exile, memory, Polish-Jewish history, politics and culture. Her books include Lost in Translation, After Such Knowledge and Time, as well as two novels, The Secret, and Appassionata. She has presented radio programs and curated a series on "Writing and Music" at the South Bank Centre in London. She is the recipient of the Guggenheim Fellowship and an award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the Kosciuszko Foundation award for Shtetl, and the Prix Italia for radio. She now lives in London.
Banesh Hoffmann (1906-1986) studied at Merton College, Oxford University in his native England and immigrated to the United States where he earned his doctorate at Princeton working with the noted mathematician Oswald Veblen. He became a US citizen in 1940. After serving as a research associate and instructor in theoretical physics and applied mathematics at the University of Rochester, he returned to Princeton, where, at the Institute for Advanced Study, he collaborated with Albert Einstein and Leopold Infeld on a fundamental contribution to the theory of relativity. He subsequently taught at Queens College of the City University of New York, from which he retired as professor emeritus. He spent sabbaticals and visiting professorships at Harvard, Princeton, and at University of London’s King’s College.
Hoffmann was a gifted expositor of science, noted for his ability to explain and popularize the complex theories of modern physics to the general public. The British scientific magazine Discovery wrote about The Strange Story of the Quantum (1947), Hoffmann’s first book: “This book should become one of the great classics of popular but intelligent science writing...” Yale Professor Henry Margenau added: “Of the books attempting an account of the history and contents of modern atomic physics which have come to my attention, this is the best.”
Hoffmann worked in various areas, including relativity, quantum theory, and applications of tensor analysis to electrical engineering. An accomplished amateur pianist, he played on occasion piano-violin duets with fellow amateur musician Einstein. He was a Sherlock Holmes “Baker Street Irregular” and wrote the short story Sherlock, Shakespeare and the Bomb. An early and persistent critic challenging the scientific validity of standardized multiple-choice testing, he served for 25 years as a consultant on tests for the Westinghouse Science Talent Search and published The Tyranny of Testing (1962). His Albert Einstein: Creator and Rebel, written with the collaboration of Helen Dukas, Einstein’s secretary since 1927 until his death in 1955, first appeared in 1972.
Banesh Hoffmann was married to Doris Goodday and had two children, Laurence, a mathematician and financial advisor, and Deborah, an award-winning documentary filmmaker.
Born in San Francisco, Kathryn Cavarly Hulme (1900-1981) attended the University of California at Berkeley for three years. In 1922 she moved to New York City, where she studied journalism, wrote freelance articles, worked as publicity director for the Ask Mr. Foster Travel Service, married Leonard D. Geldert in 1925 and was divorced in 1928. Hulme spent much time in Europe during the 1930s, and her early books reflect her interest in travel.
Hulme worked as an electric arc welder at the Kaiser shipyards during World War II. After the war, she spent six years in Germany as deputy director of United Nations Relief and Refugee Association (UNRRA) field teams. The Wild Place, which won the 1952 Atlantic non-fiction prize, describes conditions at the Wildflecken refugee camp. While there, Hulme met Marie-Louise Habets, a Belgian nurse and former nun who became Hulme’s lifelong companion and whose experiences were the basis for Hulme’s The Nun’s Story (1956), which became a best-seller.
Hulme’s other books are We Lived As Children (1938) which describes a child’s perspective of San Francisco after the 1906 earthquake, Annie’s Captain (1961), a fictionalized account of her grandparents’ lives, Undiscovered Country (1966), a memoir of her years as a student of mystic G. I. Gurdjieff and her eventual conversion to Catholicism, and Look a Lion in the Eye (1973) about her 1971 safari in East Africa. From 1960 until her death, Hulme lived on the island of Kauai with Marie-Louise Habets.
Professor and author Dr. Wilma Iggers was made an honorary citizen of her hometown Horšovský Týn, in 2002 and in 2004, received the Czech State prize “gratias agit” for her activities on behalf of the Czech lands. Her books include Karl Kraus: a Viennese Critic of the Twentieth Century, The Jews of Bohemia and Moravia: A Historical Reader and Women of Prague: Ethnic Diversity and Social Change from the Eighteenth Century to the Present.
Wilma Iggers and her husband of over 66 years Georg Iggers had distinguished careers as American university professors. After their retirement, they pursued research, dividing their time between Buffalo and Göttingen.
George Jellinek (1919-2010) was from 1968 to 1984 music director of New York City’s classical music radio station WQXR. His nationally syndicated weekly program, “The Vocal Scene,” was broadcast for 36 years. He also produced “First Hearing,” another nationally syndicated program in which a changing panel of vocal music experts reviewed new recordings without knowing who the performers were. His frequent appearance as a panelist on Texaco’s Metropolitan Opera Quiz made his mellifluous, Hungarian-accented voice an ingredient of American cultural life until 2004.
Born in Budapest, he took violin lessons starting at age 5 and later accompanied the traveling Gypsy bands that serenaded diners at his father’s restaurant. Upon hearing his first “Traviata” as a teenager, he became an avid (in his words, “almost insane”) operagoer, attending over a hundred performances a year.
Jellinek left Hungary as a young man in 1939, initially for Havana, Cuba and two years later for the United States. He served as an Army intelligence officer and translator during WWII. Returning to New York after the war, he took an office job but spent so much time hanging out in a music store that he was hired as an employee. From there his career took off. He began writing reviews for Stereo Review and articles for Opera News. Callas: Portrait of a Prima Donna (1960; 1986) was his first book, followed by History Through the Opera Glass (1994; 2000).
When he died in 1958 at the age of 79, Ernest Jones was one of the leading practitioners of psychoanalysis and one of its foremost champions. Born in Wales, Jones became the sole “foreigner” in the original circle of Freud’s co-workers in the early years of the 20th century and the first native English-speaking psychoanalyst. Until Freud’s death in 1939, he remained one of his closest friends and trusted associates. When the Freud family authorized a biography, they turned to Ernest Jones and he devoted almost the entire final decade of his life to the project. He himself once observed, if he should achieve immortality, it would be not as a pioneer in the science to which he had devoted his life, but as the biographer of Sigmund Freud.
Peter Stephan Jungk
Peter Stephan Jungk was born in Los Angeles, raised in several European cities, and now lives in Paris where he writes in German. A former screenwriting fellow of the American Film Institute, he is the author of eight books, including Franz Werfel: A Life in Prague, Vienna and Hollywood (1990) and the novels Snowflake Constant, a finalist for the British Foreign Book Award, and The Perfect American, a fictional biography of Walt Disney's last months, made into an opera by Philip Glass that will premiere in 2013.
Shmuel Katz (1914-2008) was born in Johannesburg, South Africa. At age 15, he enrolled in Witwatersrand University where he heard Ze’ev Jabotinsky speak and became a member of the Zionist Betar movement. He translated Jabotinsky’s The Story of the Jewish Legion from Yiddish to English when he was 16 and dropped out of university to work for Revisionist Zionism. In 1936, he emigrated to the British Mandate of Palestine, where he became part of the Irgun. Jabotinsky dispatched him to London in 1939 to speak, raise funds, and establish the revisionist publication The Jewish Standard which he edited during the Second World War. In 1946, Katz returned to Palestine to rejoin the leadership of the Irgun under Menachem Begin and in 1948, he was elected to the first Knesset as a member of Begin’s Herut Party but left after a single term to work in publishing. His books include Lone Wolf: A Biography of Vladimir (Ze’ev) Jabotinsky, Battleground: Fact & Fantasy in Palestine, Days of Fire: The Secret Story of the Making of Israel, The Hollow Peace and The Aaronsohn Saga. Katz was a founding member of the Movement For Greater Israel.
Egon Erwin Kisch
Prague-born Egon Erwin Kisch (1885-1948) established narrative non-fiction as an art form in Central Europe. The son of a Jewish draper, he became a journalist and part of a circle of writers that included Franz Werfel, Max Brod, Rainer Maria Rilke, Hugo Bergmann and Franz Kafka. Their literary hybrid of Czech, Jewish and German cultures was unique and they were mocked for sitting in cafés where they “werfelt und brodet und kafkat und kischt.”
Kisch attended technical university, dropped out, and studied journalism in Berlin. After returning to Prague, he became police reporter for the German-language paper Bohemia from 1906 to 1913. His muckraking features ran under the headline “Roaming Through Prague” and explored the city’s underworld of bars, dives, gambling dens, prostitutes and murderers. His first major scoop was the story behind the sensational forced suicide of Colonel Alfred Redl, intelligence officer in the Austro-Hungarian army, in 1913. A homosexual, Redl had been blackmailed into spying for Russia. Kisch served in World War I and was wounded in action. He kept a diary, later published as Write It Down Kisch! His military experience further radicalized him and in 1918, Kisch participated as a Red Guard in a failed putsch in Vienna. He returned to Prague journalism and theater, but was drawn to Berlin. In Weimar Germany, his “literature of fact” became part of the Neue Sachlichkeit (New Objectivity) cultural movement.
In 1924, his collection of pieces Der rasende Reporter (The Raging Reporter) became a bestseller, followed by many other books of reportage from Europe, North Africa, the Soviet Union, China, and the U.S. The Nazis arrested Kisch, a Communist and a Jew, in 1933 and deported him to Czechoslovakia. His books were banned. That year, he wrote Tales from Seven Ghettos, accounts of Jewish communities from the Thirty Years’ War until the 1930s. Kisch was himself a secular Jew whose family claimed descent from Rabbi Loew, the Maharal of Prague. Kisch inspected the attic of Prague’s Old-New Synagogue for traces of the Golem.
In 1934, he sailed to Australia for an anti-war congress, was denied entry, but jumped off the boat, and broke his leg. The “Kisch Affair” became a cause célèbre, raising Australian awareness of Nazism. Kisch wrote it up in Australian Landfall before going to Spain to report on the Spanish Civil War. In 1939, Kisch fled to New York, was detained at Ellis Island and denied residence in the U.S. He and his wife Gisela spent the war in Mexico City where he completed his memoir Sensation Fair as Stefan Zweig was writing The World of Yesterday in Petropolis, Brazil. Unlike Zweig, Kisch lived to see Nazism defeated. In 1946, he returned to his birthplace a hero. He died in Prague in March of 1948.
G. Wilson Knight
G. Wilson Knight (1897-1985) served as a military courier in World War I in Iraq, India and Persia. After graduating from Oxford University’s St Edmund Hall, he became a distinguished scholar and literary critic, writing on Shakespeare, Byron, Ibsen and Nietzsche. Starting in 1923, he taught English at various schools, and received his first academic post at the University of Toronto’s Trinity College in 1931.
He taught at the Stowe School from 1941 until 1946 and then at Leeds University until his retirement in 1962, first as Reader and starting in 1956 as Professor of English. Eccentric, powerfully original, and an outstanding lecturer, Knight was mainly fascinated by mythical patterns and meanings in literature. His The Wheel of Fire, Interpretations of Shakespearian Tragedy (1930) is one of the most influential books in the field. Knight was also a producer and actor in Shakespearean plays. His staging of Shakespeare was noted for its emphasis on color and symbolism. He also wrote plays for the British stage and television. A believer in spiritualism, Knight was a vice-president of the Spiritualist Association of Great Britain.
Heda Margolius Kovály
Born in Prague in 1919, Heda Margolius Kovály's youth was cut short by the rise of Hitler and the Nazi occupation of Czechoslovakia in 1939. In 1941, she and her family were deported to the Lodz Ghetto, then to Auschwitz. She escaped from a death march, made her way back to Prague, and took part in the uprising against the Germans in May 1945. Heda then reunited with her husband, Rudolf Margolius, who had survived Auschwitz and Dachau. After Margolius became Deputy Minister of Foreign Trade in the post-war Communist government, he was arrested and became a victim of Stalinist anti-semitic show trials. The Slansky Trials found Margolius one of eleven Jews guilty of conspiracy. After his execution in 1952, Heda, who never believed that her husband was guilty and spent her life trying to clear his name, and Ivan, her four-year-old son, were shunned by society. Heda was denied work and lodging, forced to live in poverty and to eke out a living surreptitiously editing and translating. She did not tell Ivan the truth about what happened to his father until he was sixteen years old. Her memoir of life under Stalinism, Under A Cruel Star: A Life in Prague 1941-1968, is dedicated to Ivan. She is the author of a novel, Innocence, and the translator of several American authors into Czech. In his book Cultural Amnesia, Clive James named Heda Margolius Kovály one of the "necessary" writers of the twentieth century. In 1968, after Soviet troops invaded Prague, mother and son fled Czechoslovakia. Heda Margolius Kovály settled in Boston, Massachusetts where she worked at the Harvard Law School library and lived with her second husband, Pavel Kovály. In 1996, they returned to Prague where Heda died in 2010.
Peter Kurth is the author of Anastasia: The Riddle of Anna Anderson, American Cassandra: The Life of Dorothy Thompson, Tsar: The Lost World of Nicholas and Alexandra, and Isadora: A Sensational Life. His work has appeared in Vanity Fair, Condé Nast Traveler, Forbes FYI, The New York Times Book Review, The New York Observer, Cosmopolitan, Harper’s Bazaar and Salon.com. Peter Kurth lives in Vermont.
Hillel Levine, scholar, teacher, public intellectual, and activist, has authored many influential books and articles including In Search of Sugihara, The Death of an American Jewish Community, “Whodunit?!: Intolerance and the Secularization of Law,” Economic Origins of Antisemitism and “Jewish Reactions to Copernicus” and participated in film production.
Studying with Erik Erikson, A.J. Heschel, Elie Wiesel, and Peter Berger, he received rabbinic ordination from the Jewish Theological Seminary and doctorates in Sociology and Jewish History from Harvard. For 40 years he has been devoted to interfaith, civil rights, historical conciliation, and peacemaking activities and undergraduate, graduate, and adult education at Harvard, Yale, and Boston University. He founded the Yale and Boston University Centers for Judaic Studies and currently teaches sociology and religion at BU.
In 1995 he was appointed Life Time Distinguished Visiting Professor at Kyoto’s Logos Theological Seminary and has been a Visiting Professor at Tokyo University several times. He has also taught and held research positions in China, Ethiopia, South Korea, Poland, the Soviet Union, Brazil, Morocco, and Israel and worked with the US State Department on preventing ethnic conflicts in Western Europe, the Balkans, India and the Northeastern Territories of India. In 2001, he founded the International Center for Conciliation training community leaders to prevent and respond to religious and ethnic conflicts. Recently, he has worked with scientists and environmentalists in the Middle East, developing cross border hazard risk mitigation and emergency mobilization. He enjoys the friendship of several generations of accomplished former students.
Born in Germany, Netanel Lorch (1925-1997) emigrated to Palestine in 1935. At age 16, Lorch joined the Haganah and, within two years, was in command of the Gadna (Youth Battalion) of the village where he taught school. In 1944, he served in the Jewish Brigade, part of the Allied Forces, in Egypt and Western Europe. After his release in 1946, he was a scriptwriter with the Palestine Broadcasting Service before reenlisting full-time in the Haganah. During the War of Independence, he served as Platoon and later Company Commander in Jerusalem. After the war he was appointed aide-de-camp to General Yigael Yadin, Chief of the General Staff. In 1952 he organized and directed the Historical Section of the Israel Defense Forces. In 1955-58, he was Israel’s consul in Los Angeles before establishing Israel’s consulate in Ceylon, now Sri Lanka. Later Lorch founded and headed the African Division of Israel’s Foreign Ministry, served as Ambassador in Peru and Bolivia (1963-67), headed the Information and the Latin American Divisions at the Ministry before becoming Secretary General of Israel’s Parliament, the Knesset. He received his M.A. in modern history from the Hebrew University summa cum laude in 1951 and 35 years later, his Ph.D. He is the author of over ten books and hundreds of articles.
Norman Macrae (1923-2010) served in the Royal Air Force as a navigator in 1942-45 and went to Cambridge in 1945 to study economics, leaving his postgraduate studies without earning his Ph.D. when The Economist offered him a temporary job in 1949. He remained at The Economist until his retirement in 1988, as Assistant editor after 1954 and as Deputy editor after 1965. Macrae wrote over three thousand articles, mostly anonymous, and became respected for his often accurate forecasts. He took time off from The Economist to write eight books: in 1984 in The 2025 Report: A Future History of 1975-2025, he predicted “Eventually books, files, television programmes, computer information and telecommunications will merge. We’ll have this portable object which is a television screen with first a typewriter, later a voice activator attached.” His 1962 “Visiting Japan” pieces were the first to note the success of Japan’s postwar economy. In 1988, Macrae was made Commander of the Order of the British Empire by Queen Elizabeth and was awarded the Order of the Rising Sun with Gold Rays by Japan’s Emperor.
Jan Garrigue Masaryk was born in 1886, the third of four children in a prominent family in Prague. His father Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk would become the first president of the Czechoslovak Republic; his mother Charlotte was an American intellectual. After an unpromising adolescence and young adulthood, Jan Masaryk became one of the most popular diplomats in London and one of the most admired broadcasters of the Second World War. Untold thousands of Czechs risked their lives to listen to his program Volá Londýn (London Calling), a public and personal diary of 1939-44, as experienced by the Foreign Minister of the Czechoslovak government-in-exile in London. In 1945, Jan Masaryk returned to Prague and became part of the post-war government. He died shortly after the Communist putsch of 1948.
Born in Berlin, Melita Maschmann (1918-2010) attended boarding school in Thuringia. She joined the BDM (Bund Deutscher Mädel, the Girls’ Section of the Hitler Youth) secretly in 1933 against the wishes of her parents who were conservative and nationalist, but not national-socialist. She worked for the Labor Service in East Prussia (1936-37), then as a journalist for the press section of the BDM (1937-41) in Frankfurt-an-der-Oder and in the Wartheland (German-occupied Poland). She was in charge of women’s Labor Service camps in Poland and Germany (1941-43) and responsible for the BDM’s press and propaganda division in Berlin (1943-45). She did war work, including preparation for “Werewolf” (S.S. sabotage) activities (1945) before the US Army captured her in Austria in July 1945 with a clandestine group manufacturing false documents for “comrades”. She was interned in the “Frauenlager 77” (internment camp for women) near Ludwigsburg, and later in Darmstadt until 1948. Denazification authorities considered her a “follower” (“indoctrinated” and too young to be fully responsible); Maschmann finally broke with National Socialism only in the 1950s.
After her release, Maschmann wrote for the Darmstädter Echo and the Frankfurter Rundschau. She travelled to Afghanistan and India in 1962-63 and moved permanently to India shortly thereafter, becoming a follower of Guru Sri Anandamayi Ma. In India, Maschmann lived mainly in her ashrams, and after Sri Anandamayi Ma’s death in 1982, worked in institutions for children. She returned to Darmstadt in 1998 due to Alzheimer’s disease and died in a retirement home. She was never married and had no children.
Account Rendered was first published in 1963 as Fazit: Kein Rechtfertigungsversuch (No attempt at justification), translated into several languages, and republished seven times in Germany where it became a required high school text. Maschmann also wrote fiction (Die Aschenspur, Der Dreizehnte, Das Wort Hiess Liebe) and books about Sri Anandamayi Ma and India (Der Tiger singt Kirtana, Indiras Schwestern, Eine ganz gewöhnliche Heilige).
Alpheus Thomas Mason
Alpheus Thomas Mason (1899-1989), McCormick Professor of Jurisprudence Emeritus at Princeton University, was born in a small farming and fishing village outside Snow Hill, Maryland. He received his BA from Dickinson College in 1920 and his PhD from Princeton University in 1923. After teaching at Trinity College (now Duke University), he joined the Princeton faculty in 1925 and became a full professor in 1936. After his retirement from Princeton in 1968, Professor Mason taught until 1980 at 15 institutions in the United States, Japan and Israel, including Harvard, Dartmouth, Barnard College, Johns Hopkins and the University of Virginia.
One of the country’s foremost judicial biographers, Professor Mason authored 22 books, including four volumes on Associate Justice Louis D. Brandeis, a study of Chief Justice Harlan F. Stone, one on Chief Justice William Howard Taft, and several on critical periods and issues in the history of the Supreme Court. His course in constitutional interpretation was voted several times by Princeton students as one of the school’s toughest courses.
His Brandeis, A Free Man’s Life sold over 50,000 copies and remained on the best-seller list for five months in 1947. His co-authored textbook, American Constitutional Law: Introductory Essays and Selected Cases, was first published in 1954 and remains popular over sixty years later in its 16th edition.
His Harlan Fiske Stone: Pillar of the Law earned the Francis Parkman Prize in history and the Liberty and Justice Award from the American Library Association, which called the book “the most distinguished book of 1956 in history and biography.”
Professor Mason was one of the few political scientists to hold a visiting membership at the Institute for Advanced Study in the 1930’s. He was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1963 and served as vice president of the American Political Science Association.
Born in New York City in 1944, Jeffrey Mehlman is a literary critic and a historian of ideas. He has taught at Cornell, Yale and Johns Hopkins, and is currently University Professor and Professor of French Literature at Boston University. He has been a visiting professor at Harvard, UC Berkeley, CUNY Graduate Center, Washington University and MIT.
His books include a memoir, Adventures in the French Trade: Fragments Toward a Life; A Structural Study of Autobiography: Proust, Leiris, Sartre, Lévi-Strauss; Legacies of Anti-Semitism in France; Walter Benjamin for Children: An Essay on His Radio Years; Genealogies of the Text: Literature, Psychoanalysis and Politics in Modern France and Émigré New York: French Intellectuals in Wartime Manhattan, 1940-1944.
He has translated works by Laplanche, Derrida, Lacan, Blanchot, Vidal-Naquet, Roudinesco and The Affair: The Case of Alfred Dreyfus by Jean-Denis Bredin. He has held Guggenheim and Fulbright Fellowships and was appointed Officier de l’Ordre des Palmes Académiques by the French government.
Albert Memmi was born in Tunisia in 1920, the second of thirteen children of a poor, working-class Arabic-speaking Jewish family. He learned French in his Jewish elementary school and attended Lycée Carnot in Tunis. When the Nazis invaded Tunisia during World War II, he was unable to continue his studies and interned in a labor camp. He moved to Paris in 1945 where he met Germaine Dubach, a Catholic, whom he married in 1946. The couple moved back to Tunis, where two of their three children were born, and where Memmi taught high school philosophy and helped found a publication that would later become Jeune Afrique.
His first novel, The Pillar of Salt with a preface by Albert Camus, appeared in 1953. After Tunisia became independent in 1956, Memmi — a prominent leftist and Jew — returned to Paris where he has lived ever since. During the Algerian war, he published The Colonizer and the Colonized with a preface by Jean-Paul Sartre, in 1957. Portrait of a Jew and The Liberation of the Jew were published by Gallimard in 1962 and 1966. Memmi became a French citizen in 1973. He taught at Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes and Université de Paris-Nanterre, received the Académie Française’s Grand Prix de la Francophonie and is a Doctor Honoris Causa of the Ben Gurion University of the Negev.
Born in Berlin, Kurt Mendelssohn (1906-1980) received his doctorate in physics from the University of Berlin in 1930, having studied under Max Planck, Walther Nernst, Erwin Schrödinger, and Albert Einstein. As the Nazis took over, he left Germany for Great Britain in March 1933 after F. A. Lindemann invited him to join the Clarendon Laboratory at Oxford University. He remained at Oxford, becoming Emeritus Reader in Physics and Emeritus Professorial Fellow of Wolfson College when he retired in 1973. His work focused on low-temperature and solid state physics, especially the properties of liquid helium, which he had been the first to produce in Britain in 1933. He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1951. He received the Royal Society's Hughes Medal in 1967, and the Institute of Physics and Physical Society’s Simon Memorial Prize in 1968.
Born in New York City in 1941, Sheldon Novick graduated from the Bronx High School of Science, Antioch College, and Washington University School of Law in St. Louis. He was editor of Environment Magazine and wrote books and articles on environmental subjects (The Careless Atom had the first public account of the “China Syndrome”) before leaving St. Louis in 1977 to practice law in New York City, Philadelphia and Washington, DC. For six years he was a regional counsel for the US Environmental Protection Agency. In 1987, he moved to Vermont and started a new career as an author and teacher. He continues to teach at Vermont Law School as Adjunct Professor of Law and History.
Honorable Justice: The Life of Oliver Wendell Holmes was the first full biography of Holmes based on unrestricted access to the Holmes papers. Published in 1989, it received the American Bar Association’s Silver Gavel Award, and was short-listed for the National Book Critics Circle Award. After the biography appeared, Novick was invited to prepare the quasi-official Collected Works of Justice Holmes published by the Oliver Wendell Holmes Devise and the University of Chicago Press.
His biography of Holmes’s friend and rival, the novelist Henry James, was published in two volumes, Henry James: The Young Master (1997) and Henry James: The Mature Master (2007).
Paul Ornstein (1924-2017) was born in Hajdúnánás, Hungary and educated at the Franz Josef Rabbinical Seminary in Budapest, where he discovered psychoanalysis. After surviving the Shoah in Hungary, he received his degree in medicine from the University of Heidelberg, then emigrated to the United States and became a leading figure in psychoanalytic self-psychology. Dr. Ornstein is a graduate of the Chicago Institute for Psychoanalysis, an Emeritus Professor of Psychiatry and Psychoanalysis at the University of Cincinnati Medical School, and a Supervising Analyst at the Boston Psychoanalytic Institute. He co-authored Focal Psychotherapy: An Example of Applied Psychoanalysis with Michael and Enid Balint and edited The Search for the Self: selected writings of Heinz Kohut.
Tina Packer is Founding Artistic Director of Shakespeare & Company, in Lenox, Massachusetts, an internationally acclaimed theatrical performance, training and education company, where she directed over 50 productions and acted in many more.
As a young English actress, she trained at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, where she won the Ronson Award for Most Outstanding Performer, was an associate artist with the Royal Shakespeare Company, performed in the West End, and acted with repertory companies in Glasgow, Edinburgh, Leicester, and Coventry.
Her book, Power Plays: Shakespeare’s Lessons in Leadership & Management, was published in 2001. Her children's book Tales from Shakespeare was published in 2004. Along with acting, lecturing, directing, and writing, Tina continues to spearhead the international effort to reconstruct a historically accurate 1587 Rose Playhouse, where Shakespeare’s plays were first performed, in Lenox, Massachusetts.
Born in Cluj, Transylvania, Yoel Palgi (1918-1978) emigrated to Palestine in 1939 where he helped found Kibbutz Maagan. In 1944, with Hanna Szenes he was part of a group that parachuted into Hungary and Yugoslavia in an attempt to save Jews. After the World War II rescue mission, Palgi established and commanded Israel’s first paratrooper unit during the War of Independence. He was one of the founders of El Al, Israel’s national airline, of which he was deputy director from 1949-60. He headed El Al’s airlift of 200,000 Jews from Muslim countries to Israel. Palgi later served as ambassador to Tanzania and as director of construction for Kupat Holim, the Histadrut’s health insurance fund. He is buried in the Military Cemetery for Heroes in Jerusalem along with Hannah Szenes and other fallen members of the 1944 mission.
Susan Quinn grew up in Ohio and graduated from Oberlin College. Her biography, Marie Curie: A Life, won the Prix Littéraire des Lectrices de Elle in France, was a finalist for the Los Angeles Times book award, and was shortlisted for the Fawcett Book Prize in England. Marie Curie has been translated into eight languages.
Her previous biography, A Mind of Her Own: The Life of Karen Horney, won the Boston Globe’s Winship Prize. Susan Quinn, the recipient of numerous awards including a Guggenheim Fellowship and a Rockefeller Foundation residency, is also the author of Human Trials: Scientists, Investors and Patients in the Quest for a Cure (2001) and Furious Improvisation: How the WPA and a Cast of Thousands Made High Art Out of Desperate Times (2008). She lives in Brookline, Massachusetts. (photo: Barry Goldstein)
Santha Rama Rau
Santha Rama Rau (1923-2009) was the first widely-read female South Asian writer in the United States. Born in Madras, India, into an elite Indian family — her father, a high-ranking civil servant, became ambassador to Japan and the United States, and her mother was a founder of International Planned Parenthood —, she grew up in India, Great Britain, and South Africa and made the unusual choice of attending college in the United States rather than in England. She became Wellesley College’s first graduate from India. Between 1945 and 1970, she worked as a journalist for publications as varied as the New Yorker and the Reader’s Digest, writing mainly travel stories from Asia, Africa and the former Soviet Union. Many were collected as East of Home (1950), View to the Southeast (1957) and My Russian Journey (1959). Santha Rama Rau also wrote an autobiography, Gifts of Passage (1961), several novels, and adapted the E. M. Forster novel A Passage to India for Broadway and the London stage.
Born in Staten Island, New York, Gus Rancatore came to Boston to finish college, and never did.
Instead, he blundered into the ice cream business, and founded Toscanini’s Ice Cream in Cambridge, Massachusetts in 1981. The store is now a local institution with an international clientele. (photo: Michelle McDonald)
William Schack (1898-1988) was born in New York City and became a cultural journalist and reviewer of Yiddish theater. He wrote for The New York Times, Commentary Magazine and Midstream. His biography of the American artist Louis M. Eilshemius, And He Sat Among the Ashes, was published in 1939. Art and Argyrol was originally published in 1960. Schack’s papers are at the Archives of American Art.
Vlasta Schönová (1919-2001) or Vava was the third of four daughters of Solomon and Magdalena Schön. Following in her mother’s footsteps, she became an actress and began her career just before the Nazis occupied Czechoslovakia. For a while, she was able to continue acting by passing as a non-Jew. After she and her family were deported to Terezín, she performed, directed and wrote plays as a prisoner.
Theater was her passion since childhood, she writes. It invested her life with meaning and kept her alive, even in the Theresienstadt Ghetto where she was one of the only artists who was not eventually transported east for extermination. After liberation by the Soviet Army in 1945, Vava returned to Prague and resumed her career in Czech theater. After the Communist coup of 1948, she fled Czechoslovakia and settled in Israel. There she lived and worked in many different venues as the Israeli actress Nava Shean.
Born in New York City, David Schoenbrun (1915-1988) graduated from City College in 1934 and taught high school French and Spanish before working as a free-lance writer on foreign affairs to later become one of America’s most distinguished and versatile journalists, noted for his radio and television broadcasts, lectures, articles and books. Schoenbrun went to Europe in 1941 with the War Information Office as editor of the Western European desk. After joining the US Army in 1943, he was assigned to General Eisenhower’s headquarters in Algiers in Military Intelligence and went into France in the 1944 Provence landings as a combat correspondent with the First French Army.
In 1947 Edward R. Murrow recruited Schoenbrun to CBS and appointed him chief Paris correspondent for CBS News. He reported the birth of the State of Israel and its war of independence in 1948. In 1961, Schoenbrun became CBS’s chief correspondent in Washington, where he reported on the Kennedy years. In 1964 he left CBS to write books and work in free-lance broadcasting, appearing nightly on Channel 11-TV (NY) and on network talk shows.
His eight books are As France Goes, The Three Lives of Charles de Gaulle, Vietnam: How We Got In; How To Get Out, Triumph in Paris: The Exploits of Benjamin Franklin, America Inside Out, Soldiers of the Night: The Story of the French Resistance and On and Off the Air: An Informal History of CBS News.
Schoenbrun was awarded France’s Palmes Littéraires, Croix de Guerre and Légion d’honneur with rank of Chevalier, the Overseas Press Club Award for Best Radio Reporting from Abroad (1953), Best Television Reporting from Abroad (1955), Best Book for As France Goes (1957), Best Magazine Article of the Year (1959) and the Alfred I. Dupont Award as Best Commentator of the Year (1960).
Born in Palermo, Italy, Claudio G. Segrè (1937-1995) grew up in Los Alamos and in Berkeley. He attended Reed College, received a master’s degree in English from Stanford University, worked as a reporter for UPI and The Wall Street Journal and earned his doctorate in history from the University of California-Berkeley. Segrè, who specialized in Italian fascism, became professor of modern European history at the University of Texas at Austin.
His book, Italo Balbo: A Fascist Life, won the Italian Air Force Historical Association Prize and the Marraro Prize of the Society of Italian Historical Studies. Segrè’s numerous essays, short stories, humor pieces and articles appeared in American, British, Israeli and Italian publications. His memoir, Atoms, Bombs, and Eskimo Kisses: A Memoir of Father and Son, examines what it was like to be the son of physicist Emilio Segrè, who helped develop the atom bomb and won the Nobel prize in 1959.
Born in Tivoli, Italy, Emilio Segrè (1905-1989) enrolled at the University of Rome in engineering but switched to physics, joining Enrico Fermi’s research students, a group known as the “Ragazzi di via Panisperna”, renowned for prolific pioneering work in nuclear physics. Segrè graduated in 1928, the first of Fermi’s students, and with the Rome group, participated in the discovery of slow neutrons. In 1937, as professor at the University of Palermo, he co-discovered technetium, the first artificially synthesized element that does not occur in nature.
In 1938, when Mussolini passed antisemitic laws barring Jews from university positions, Segrè was on a research visit at the University of California (Berkeley); he stayed there temporarily at the Radiation Laboratory, before receiving a permanent appointment. In 1940, Segrè and his colleagues discovered astatine and plutonium-239, subsequently used to make the atom bomb.
Fermi immigrated to the United States shortly after Segrè, and their collaboration continued. During 1943-46, Segrè led the Manhattan Project’s Radioactivity Group at Los Alamos. He was a professor of physics at UC Berkeley from 1946 until 1972. In 1959, he won the Nobel Prize in physics for the discovery of the antiproton, with Owen Chamberlain.
In addition to his scientific papers, Segrè wrote a biography of Fermi, Enrico Fermi: Physicist, his autobiography A Mind Always in Motion and two volumes on the history of physics, From Falling Bodies to Radio Waves and From X-rays to Quarks. His scientific books include Nuclei & Particles, still used today, and E. Fermi Collected Papers. An avid photographer, Segrè recorded events and people in the development of modern physics. He donated his collection of photos to the American Institute of Physics, which named it the Emilio Segrè Visual Archives in his honor.
Dietrich Stoltzenberg (1926-2007) was born in Hamburg, the son of Hugo Stoltzenberg, a manufacturer and chemist, and Margarethe Stoltzenberg-Bergius, also a chemist. After studying chemistry at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, he earned his degree in 1958 with work carried out under Rudolf Criegee on cyclical hydroperoxide and azohydroperoxide.
He subsequently worked for the chemical industry, among other positions for the firm Phoenix-Gummiwerke and for Unilever in research, development, and production. Since his retirement in 1984 he has worked for various businesses as a consultant on issues of environmental protection and toxicology. As a member of the history of chemistry interest group of the German Chemical Society he has published several articles on the history of twentieth-century chemistry. His biography of Fritz Haber, published in German in 1994, was made a “science book of the year” by the magazine Bild der Wissenschaft and in 1997, Stoltzenberg received the Prize of the German Chemical Society for Writers.
Susan Rubin Suleiman
Born in Budapest, Susan Rubin Suleiman emigrated to the United States as a child with her parents. She earned a B.A. from Barnard College and a Ph.D. from Harvard University, where she has been on the faculty since 1981, now as the C. Douglas Dillon Professor of the Civilization of France and Professor of Comparative Literature. Suleiman has written widely on contemporary literature and culture, and has published poetry and autobiographical works. Budapest Diary (1996) is her memoir about returning to her native city after many years, where she speaks Hungarian "like a native, but with an accent."
Her other books include Crises of Memory and the Second World War (2006), Risking Who One Is: Encounters with Contemporary Art and Literature (1994), Subversive Intent: Gender, Politics, and the Avant-Garde (1990) and French Global: A New Approach to Literary History (2010), co-edited with Christie McDonald.
Suleiman’s many honors include the Radcliffe Medal for Distinguished Achievement, and France’s Palmes Académiques. She has held Fellowships from the Guggenheim and Rockefeller Foundations, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Radcliffe Institute, and the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum. Suleiman lives in Belmont, Massachusetts.
Joan Templeton, Professor Emerita of Long Island University, is a major Ibsen scholar whose work is appreciated worldwide. She is the author of Ibsen’s Women, Munch’s Ibsen and over fifty articles on Ibsen and other dramatists, in PMLA, Modern Drama, Scandinavian Studies, and elsewhere, and the editor of Ibsen News and Comment. The past president of the International Ibsen Committee and the Ibsen Society of America, she has held research fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Fulbright program and the American-Scandinavian Foundation. She has taught at the Universities of Paris IV-Sorbonne, Tours and Limoges. Her current project is a book on Shaw and Ibsen for the Palgrave Macmillan Shaw series.
(photo: Maurice Lévy)
Dorothy Thompson (1893-1961), journalist and broadcaster, was born in Lancaster, New York, the daughter of a Methodist preacher. She was educated at Syracuse University (class of 1914) and found her first work as a publicist and organizer for woman suffrage. In 1920 she sailed to Europe, and for the next thirty years worked as a free-lance correspondent, becoming America’s expert on Central Europe. In 1927 she married the novelist Sinclair Lewis. The union was marred by Lewis’s alcoholism, the pressures of Thompson’s success, and by her sexual ambiguity, which led her, in the early ‘30s, to a love affair with the German writer Christa Winsloe, author of Mädchen in Uniform.
In 1934 she became the first correspondent to be expelled from Berlin on the orders of Adolf Hitler: she was the loudest and strongest voice in American journalism against the menace of the Nazis. Her thrice-weekly column, “On the Record,” was syndicated to hundreds of newspapers; she wrote a monthly essay for the Ladies’ Home Journal and broadcast weekly, sometimes daily, on news topics over the NBC radio network. Time magazine in 1939 called her the most influential woman in America after Eleanor Roosevelt.
Her career declined after World War II, when she argued for a “humane” peace with the defeated Germans and, later, took up the cause of the Palestinian Arabs in opposition to the State of Israel. Divorced from Lewis in 1942, she enjoyed a happy (and lusty) final marriage with the Czech painter Maxim Kopf (1892-1958). She died in Portugal in 1961 and left instructions for her epitaph: “Dorothy Thompson Kopf — Writer.” She was unquestionably the preeminent woman journalist of her era — perhaps of all time in the United States. Peter Kurth wrote her biography, American Cassandra: The Life of Dorothy Thompson.
Claudine Vegh (née Rozengard) was born in Paris in 1934. Her father was from Warsaw and her mother from the Ukraine. In 1939, the Rozengard family left Paris and took refuge in Saint Girons, in southwestern France near the Pyrenees. Claudine’s parents had to flee the area in 1941, leaving Claudine behind with their neighbors in Saint Girons. Her father died while in hiding near Grenoble. In 1945, Claudine returned to Paris to live with her mother. She attended Lycée Hélène Boucher and medical school. She is a child psychiatrist who has always practiced in Paris. Her two children are also psychiatrists.
Fredric Warburg (1898-1981) was a distant relative of the wealthy American Warburgs. He attended British “public” schools where he excelled academically but as a Jew, often felt an outsider, finding refuge in his love of books. After serving in World War I as an artillery officer, he graduated from Oxford with a degree in classics and philosophy.
Warburg stumbled into publishing at Routledge & Sons where he spent 13 years. In 1936, he and a partner acquired the publishing firm of Martin Secker. Renamed Secker & Warburg, it became known as anti-fascist and anti-communist, publishing André Gide’s Back from the USSR and George Orwell’s Homage to Catalonia. From then on Secker & Warburg published all of Orwell’s books and Orwell and Warburg became intimate friends. Warburg published some 2,000 books by several hundred authors, including Orwell’s Animal Farm and 1984, works by H. G. Wells, Thomas Mann, Franz Kafka, Simone de Beauvoir, Colette, Alberto Moravia, Günter Grass, Pierre Boulle’s The Bridge over the River Kwai and William Shirer’s The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich.
Joseph Wechsberg (1907-1983) was born to Jewish parents in Ostrava, Moravia, a part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. His grandfather had been a prosperous banker, but the family assets were lost in World War I. Wechsberg attended Prague University Law School, Vienna’s State Academy of Music, and the Sorbonne. A lawyer for a short while, he worked as a musician on ocean liners and played the violin in Paris nightclubs. In Prague, he became a reporter for the Prager Tagblatt. In 1938 he was a lieutenant in the Czechoslovak army commanding a machine gun company on the Polish frontier and was sent with his wife to the United States to discuss the Sudeten crisis. Both requested asylum after World War II broke out. In 1939, Wechsberg knew only a few hundred words in English, but decided he would someday write for The New Yorker. In 1943, he was drafted into the US Army and sent to Europe as a technical sergeant in psychological warfare. His account of getting back to Ostrava was the first of over one hundred pieces for The New Yorker over three decades — profiles of Artur Rubinstein, Isaac Stern, George Szell, of merchant bankers and of great French restaurateurs, and letters from Berlin, Karlsbad, Bonn, Vienna, Trieste, Budapest, Belgrade, Ankara, Bucharest, Warsaw, Athens, and Baghdad. He also contributed hundreds of articles to magazines such as Gourmet, Esquire, Playboy, The Atlantic and The Saturday Evening Post and wrote features on cuisine and travel throughout Europe.
Benno Weiser Varon
Born in Czernowitz, Benno Weiser (1913-2010) and his family moved after World War I to Vienna where he began to study medicine and appeared in Jewish political cabaret acts. In 1938 he emigrated to Ecuador, where he also obtained visas for his immediate family and for 150 European Jews. In Quito, he became a prominent journalist, whose columns appeared in the country’s major newspapers. A lifelong Zionist, he later started working for the Jewish Agency, first in Bogota and in 1948 in New York where he headed its Latin America department. In 1960, he and his family moved to Israel where he headed the Israel-Ibero-American Institute. From 1964 until 1972, Benno Weiser, whose name was hebraicized as Benjamin Varon, was Israel’s ambassador to various Latin-American countries, first the Dominican Republic, then Jamaica and finally Paraguay. After his retirement from Israel’s foreign service, he taught at Boston University.
Victor Weisskopf (1908-2002), born in Vienna, Austria, joined a socialist student group while in gymnasium and started studying physics at the University of Vienna. In 1928, he went to study with Max Born in Göttingen where he received his Ph.D. in 1931. Weisskopf worked on basic quantum physics with Werner Heisenberg in Leipzig, then for a short time with Ernest Schrödinger in Berlin. In 1932, a Rockefeller Foundation grant allowed Weisskopf to join Niels Bohr in Copenhagen and Paul Dirac in Cambridge, England. In 1934-36, Weisskopf was research associate to Wolfgang Pauli in Zurich before working again with Niels Bohr in Copenhagen (April 1936 - September 1937).
Weisskopf fled the Nazis in the fall of 1937 and became an assistant professor at the University of Rochester. From 1943 to 1946 Weisskopf was deputy chairman of the theoretical division of the Manhattan Project in Los Alamos, under Hans Bethe. In 1945, he joined the MIT physics department; he was named Institute Professor in 1965, a position he held until he retired in 1974.
Weisskopf played a major role in particle physics in the US and in Europe: he was director general of CERN (Conseil Européen de Recherches Nucléaires) in Geneva (1961-65), and chaired the High Energy Physics Advisory Panel of the US Atomic Energy Commission (1967-73). A member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, American Physical Society, Pontifical Academy of Sciences, National Academy of Sciences, Academy of Arts and Sciences, and of many international organizations including French, Austrian, Danish, Bavarian, Scottish, Spanish, and Russian academies, Weisskopf received numerous awards for his work in quantum electrodynamics, in nuclear and elementary particle physics and as an advocate of nuclear disarmament, open exchanges of information among scientists of all nations, and individual freedom. He published over two hundred papers, and several books including in 1991 his autobiography, The Joy of Insight: Passions of a Physicist.
Chaim Weizmann (1874-1952) was a scientist and diplomat, a leader of the Zionist movement for an entire generation, and the first President of the State of Israel. Born in Motol, Belarus, he studied chemistry in Germany, received his doctorate from University of Fribourg in Switzerland in 1899 and took a position at Manchester University in 1904. He married Vera Chatzman in 1906. They had two sons: Benjamin (1907) and Michael (1916).
Considered a master negotiator, Weizmann convinced the British government to issue the Balfour Declaration just before the British conquered Palestine in November 1917. The document, in which “His Majesty’s Government view with favour the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people,” was a turning point in the history of the Jewish people and made Weizmann the figure most identified with the Zionist movement. Weizmann achieved significant breakthroughs in organic chemistry, discovering in 1916 in Manchester a process to synthesize acetone (used to manufacture munitions), and later established leading academic and research institutions in Israel (the Hebrew University in Jerusalem and the Sieff Research Institute in Rehovot, now the Weizmann Institute of Science). He viewed Zionism as fulfillment of political and spiritual independence for the Jewish people and considered science a noble activity, but also the economic basis for a modern economy.
Seeking friendly relations between Zionism and Arab nationalism, Weizmann met with Emir Faisal in 1918. During World War II, he recruited the Jewish home front in Palestine for the British war effort against Germany and fought for the establishment of the Jewish Brigade. He worked to establish democratic institutions in the Zionist movement and for the integration of the State of Israel into the international community.
When the State of Israel was established, Weizmann was appointed President of the Provisional State Council. In February 1949, after the first Knesset met, Weizmann was elected as the first President of the State of Israel. He served in this position, to which he was re-elected in 1951, until his death in November 1952 in Rehovot, Israel.
Vera Weizmann (1881-1966), née Chatzman, was born in the Russian city of Rostov-on-Don. She was a medical student soon to become a pediatrician when, in 1906, she married Chaim Weizmann, a chemist already involved in the Zionist movement. For the next 46 years of their marriage, Vera was his companion, hostess, critic and adviser, with an intimate view of Weizmann’s career as scientist, diplomat and Jewish leader.
Born into a Jewish family in Karlsruhe, Richard Willstätter (1872-1942) attended the Technical High School in Nuremberg and the University of Munich where he studied chemistry under Adolf von Baeyer, receiving his doctorate in 1894 for work on the structure of cocaine. He then joined the faculty, continuing his research on alkaloids. In 1905 he became professor at the ETH Zürich where he determined the formula of chlorophyll. In 1912 he moved to Berlin where he became professor of chemistry at the University, and director of the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute for Chemistry. He studied pigments in flowers and fruits and showed that chlorophyll is a mixture of two compounds, chlorophyll a and chlorophyll b. He received the Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 1915.
Asked in 1915 by his friend Fritz Haber to help develop poison gasses, Willstätter refused but worked on protection, developing an effective filter for which he received the Iron Cross. In 1916 he returned to the University of Munich as successor to his mentor, von Baeyer, and investigated the mechanisms of enzyme reactions.
In 1924, Willstätter retired (at age 52) to protest the University’s growing antisemitism and continued his research at his Munich home. In 1939 Willstätter emigrated to Switzerland and spent the last three years of his life near Locarno writing his autobiography Aus meinem Leben, which appeared in German in 1949 and was translated into English in 1965 as From My Life.
Born in Vienna in 1930, Nelly Wilson (née Jussem) came to England in 1945 as one of the 150 former concentration camp children invited by the British Government to settle there. She graduated with a BA Honours degree in French from the University of Bristol where she subsequently taught as a senior lecturer, after several years of research in France on a doctoral thesis presented at the University of Paris.
Wilson’s longstanding interest in the significance of the Dreyfus Affair and in Charles Péguy’s illuminating reflections on Bernard Lazare’s crucial role in the Affair inspired her book on the subject. Published by Cambridge University Press in 1978, the book was awarded the Jewish Chronicle non-fiction prize. It was followed by a slightly expanded French edition (Albin Michel, 1985). Since her retirement from teaching, she has lectured and written widely on the subject and on other related topics.
Robert S. Wistrich
Born in Kazakhstan to parents who had fled Poland’s anti-Semitism, Robert Solomon Wistrich (1945-2015) grew up in England where he earned his MA at Cambridge University in 1969 and his PhD at the University of London in 1974. Wistrich, whom The Journal for the Study of Antisemitism called in 2011 the “leading scholar in the field of anti-Semitism study,” joined the Hebrew University of Jerusalem in 1982 where he became Erich Neuberger Professor of European and Jewish history and in 2002, head of the Vidal Sassoon International Center for the Study of Antisemitism.
During 1999-2001, Wistrich was one of six scholars on the International Catholic-Jewish Historical Commission examining the wartime record of Pope Pius XII. He also served as rapporteur on anti-Semitism and related issues for the US State Department, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, the Council of Europe, the UN Commission on Antisemitism and Human Rights, and the Human Rights Commission in Geneva.
Among his books, Socialism and the Jews won the American Jewish Committee award, The Jews of Vienna in the Age of Franz Joseph won the Austrian State Prize in History and Israel’s Wiznitzer Prize for best book on Jewish history in 1989 and Antisemitism: The Longest Hatred won the H.H. Wingate Prize for nonfiction in the UK.
Charlotte Wolff (1897-1986) was born into a middle-class family of secular German Jews in Riesenburg, West Prussia. She was attracted to girls and women and her family accepted her sexual orientation. She studied philosophy before obtaining her medical degree in 1926 in Weimar Berlin where she was befriended by Walter and Dora Benjamin. One of the 700 or so women physicians then practicing in the city, Wolff treated prostitutes and poor women in working-class neighborhoods. Her volunteer work at a birth control clinic led her to the fields of psychotherapy, sexology and chirology (the study of hands). After being detained by the Gestapo in 1933, she fled to Paris.
In Paris and the artists’ colony of Sanary, Wolff met an international circle of artists and writers including Maria and Aldous Huxley, Thomas and Heinrich Mann, and Man Ray, who photographed her in 1935. Since her medical degree was not recognized in France and she feared a Nazi invasion of France, Wolff travelled to England in 1936. She became a permanent resident in 1937, with permission to practice psychotherapy but not medicine. At first, she read the hands of Maria Huxley’s friends to earn her living, but soon found work as a researcher and was re-instated as a physician in 1952. She maintained her interest in sexology and published the books Love Between Women, Bisexuality, the novel An Older Love, and the biography Magnus Hirschfeld: Portrait of a Pioneer in Sexology. Before Hindsight, she wrote a shorter memoir titled On The Way To Myself. She died in London, shortly before her eighty-ninth birthday.
Susan Zuccotti received her B.A. in history from Wellesley College, and her PhD in modern European history from Columbia University. She has taught Holocaust and general Western European history at Columbia, at Barnard and at Trinity College.
Dr. Zuccotti is the author of The Italians and the Holocaust: Persecution, Rescue, and Survival which received the National Jewish Book Award for Holocaust Studies in the United States and the Premio Acqui Storia-Primo Lavoro in Italy, The Holocaust, the French, and the Jews, Under His Very Windows: The Vatican and the Holocaust in Italy which received the National Jewish Book Award for Jewish-Christian Relations and the Sybil Halpern Milton Prize of the German Studies Association, Holocaust Odysseys: The Jews of Saint Martin Vésubie and Their Flight through France and Italy, 1939-1945 and of a biography of a French Capuchin priest who, working closely with Jewish friends and associates, rescued thousands of Jews in Marseille and Rome during the Holocaust, titled Père Marie-Benoît and Jewish Rescue. She has also published many articles and reviews in academic journals.
Friderike Zweig is one of the most accomplished 20th century women to have written memoirs of their men. Born Friderike Maria Burger in Vienna on December 4, 1882, she was a teacher, translator, journalist, novelist and political activist at a time when most Viennese women didn’t finish high school. Friderike was married to Felix von Winternitz and mother of two daughters when she began to share a household with Stefan Zweig during the first world war.
The Winternitzes divorced and in 1920, Friderike married Stefan Zweig, then the most widely-translated writer in the world. They established a home in Salzburg that admirers called “the Villa in Europe” where Friderike served as Zweig’s researcher and editor as well as marital partner. Their strong and unconventional relationship survived the chaotic aftermath of the first world war in Austria; the Nazi occupation of Europe; their divorce in 1938; Stefan’s remarriage to Lotte Altmann, whom Friderike had hired as her husband’s secretary; and their separate paths to the Americas.
Their correspondence continued until the day before Zweig’s death by suicide in 1942. Friderike lived almost three decades longer in New York and Connecticut where she devoted herself to literary projects and social activism.
Stefan Zweig (1881-1942) was the most widely read German-language author of the twentieth century. Zweig was a secular Jew, a Pan-European and a pacifist. He was born in Vienna on November 28, 1881 and studied there and in Berlin. As a young man, he translated French poetry by Verlaine, Baudelaire, and Verhaeren into German. He quickly branched out into journalism, fiction, biography and writing for the theater. His plays, including the anti-war Jeremiah, were produced throughout Europe. His books were eventually translated into over 50 languages. Today, he is best known for his many works of non-fiction. They include the classic memoir The World of Yesterday and many biographical essays on famous writers and thinkers such as Erasmus, Tolstoy, Balzac, Stendhal, Nietzsche, Dostoevsky, Dickens, Freud and Mesmer. He lived in Salzburg with his first wife Friderike until 1933, when his books were burned by the Nazis. In 1934, he emigrated to England where he continued writing and met his second wife Lotte Altmann. In 1941, the couple moved to Brazil where they committed suicide in 1942.