Emergency community of German scientists abroad

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The Emergency Association of German Scientists Abroad was an organization founded by Philipp Schwartz in 1933 to find new jobs abroad for scientists who were persecuted in Nazi Germany .



Philipp Schwartz , anatomist and pathologist , has been an associate professor at the Johann Wolfgang Goethe University in Frankfurt am Main since 1927 . Due to the law to restore the civil service on April 7, 1933, he was dismissed without notice as a professor of Jewish origin and moved with his family to Zurich . Schwartz recognized that the situation was critical for many scientists in the German Reich and in the same month founded an “advice center for German scientists” based on the model of the emergency community of German science, with the help of other university lecturers, such as the later Nobel Prize winner Max Born . This saw itself as a kind of self-help organization “regardless of race or denomination ” and over the next few weeks experienced an influx of more than a thousand university employees from all over the German Reich. Right from the start, the declared aim was not to provide financial support in the sense of a fund , but to provide jobs for job seekers. Schwartz himself became the first chairman, but after only five months he himself was placed at the University of Istanbul . His successor was Fritz Demuth , a lawyer from the Berlin School of Management.

In the early months in particular, the emergency community had to deal with a number of administrative problems. German diplomas were partially not or no longer recognized abroad, and work and settlement bans prevented researchers from taking up new activities abroad. The first step in organizing the emergency community was the formation of a council of German professors abroad, which informed the emergency community about vacancies at universities all over the world. Well-known members of this council were, in addition to Schwartz, who organized emigrations to Turkey with Albert Malche , and Born, among others: Fritz Haber (Cambridge), Ernst Cassirer (Oxford), Leopold Lichtwitz (New York), James Franck (Copenhagen), Peter Pringsheim (Brussels), Hans Kelsen (Geneva), Richard von Mises (Istanbul), Bernhard Zondek (Stockholm), Hermann Weyl (Princeton).

Establishment and end

Another important way of staying connected with the world's universities has been to work with other academic communities and committees from abroad. The cooperation with the Academic Assistance Council (AAC), the British welfare organization for persecuted academics based in London, was of central importance . The AAC had had a permanent middleman since 1933, until the seat of the emergency community was relocated from Zurich to London in January 1936. While the AAC benefited from the wealth of information from the emergency community, the latter was able to award scholarships to academics in need thanks to the financial support of the AAC. There were also other partnerships with associations from Switzerland, France and the United States.

In 1936, 1,500 scientists were recorded in the community's files, all of whom found employment over the years. It should be noted, however, that a good number of those did not return to academic employment, but instead, for example, professors of medicine again worked as doctors or professors of law as lawyers . In 1941 the community was renamed the Association of Immigrant Scholars before it was dissolved in 1946 after the war ended.


Archival material

  • Catalog of the Archives of the Society for the Protection of Science and Learning, 1933–1987, Bodleian Library , Oxford: Norman Lockyer Observatory - Emergency Society for German Scholars in Exile . Signature: MS. SPSL 119 / 1-5; with 1046 sheets of material

Individual evidence

  1. a b c Feichtinger: Science between cultures. , P. 71
  2. ^ A b Stiefel, Mecklenburg: German lawyers in American exile. , P. 34
  3. a b Feichtinger: Science between cultures. , P. 72
  4. a b c Feichtinger: Science between cultures. , P. 73
  5. Stiefel, Mecklenburg: German lawyers in American exile. , P. 35
  6. Stiefel, Mecklenburg: German lawyers in American exile. , P. 35f.
  7. Stiefel, Mecklenburg: German lawyers in American exile. , P. 37.