Czech Intellectual Immigrants in the US from Nazism

Miloslav Rechc’gl, Jr.

It has been said that the wave of intellectuals from Continental Europe arriving in the United states in the thirties and early forties, driven there by intolerance and oppression, was so large and of such high quality that it constituted a phenomenon in the history of immigration. The only previous wave that may be comparable was that of the Forty-Eighters, the refugees of the revolution that swept most of Europe in 1848.

The intellectual immigrants of the thirties were, however, different from their predecessors, not only by sheer numbers, but also by their intellectual talent. They also became Americanized more quickly, learning English faster and becoming American citizens as soon as the law permitted. The above generalizations fit the intellectual refugees, who had to escape from Czechoslovakia from Nazism in that period, remarkably well. They too were fully made with their PhDs and other professional diplomas, and, in many ways, being the best brains in the country, which forever, lost them. Their beginnings in the new surroundings were not necessarily easy but they did the outmost to adjust and to get ahead, against all odds, frequently overtaking others, in the same field, which were born in the US.

This paper is essentially a survey of scholars and scientists with roots in Czechoslovakia who had to leave their native country, or other place in which they may have lived at that time, and sought refuge in the United States because of Nazi persecution. As one would anticipate, the overwhelming majority were Jewish, although a number on non-Jewish people were also among them. The success these individuals attained in the US has been phenomenal and their contributions to the United States have been judged as unique and immeasurable. Considering the high cost of education (according to 1960 estimates, the cost of top education in the US was as high as $45,000), the financial loss to Czechoslovakia must have been staggering. This does not, of course, take into account the distinctive and priceless contributions these individuals could have made to their native land, had they be permitted to stay there.


It has been said that the wave of intellectuals from Continental Europe arriving in the United States in the thirties and early forties, driven there by intolerance and oppression, was so large and of such high quality that it constituted a phenomenon in the history of immigration. The only previous wave that may be comparable was that of the Forty-Eighters, the refugees of the revolution that swept most of Europe in 1848. The intellectual immigrants of the thirties were, however, different from their predecessors, not only by sheer numbers, but also by their intellectual talent. They also became Americanized more  quickly, learning English faster and becoming American citizens as soon as the law permitted. The above generalizations fit the intellectual refugees, who had to escape from Czechoslovakia from Nazism in that period, remarkably well. They too were fully made with their Ph.Ds and other professional diplomas, and, in many ways, being the best brains in the country which, forever, lost them. Their beginnings in the new surroundings were not necessarily easy but they did the outmost to adjust and to get ahead, against all odds, frequently overtaking others in the same field who were born in the US.

Because of the lack of time, I have to leave out from my presentation humanist scholars, as well as the men and women of arts and letters, limiting it to natural and social scientists. However, even with this restriction, the group of these scientists has still been quite large which made it necessary to concentrate only on selected representative in each scientific area. I should also point out, at the onset, that I have not applied any litmus test to my study to differentiate individuals on the basis of the language they spoke or their ethnicity, the only criterion I have used was that they were born or had their roots on the territory of the historic Czech Lands.



In this category I found at least 8 outstanding American chemists of Czech origin, but because of lack of space, IÕll discuss only two:

Felix Haurowitz (1896-1987), b. Prague, Bohemia. He attended German Univ. of Prague, getting Dr. med. degree in 1922 and Dr. rer. nat. in 1923. In 1922-38 he was a member of faculty of dept. of physiology and medical chemistry at Univ. of Prague, from 1930 as assoc. prof. In 1938 he was dismissed and was invited to chair dept. at Univ. of Istanbul. In 1939 he emigrated to Turkey and in 1939-48 he held the position of professor and chairman of dept. of biol. and medical chemistry at Turkish Univ. in Istanbul. In 1947 he emigrated to US. From 1948 he was a member of faculty in the dept. of chemistry, Indiana 288 Univ., Bloomington, as professor and since 1958 as distinguished professor. He was a pioneer in isolation of and description of fetal hemoglobin, allosteric changes on hemoglobin on oxygenation, introduction of chemical aspects into immunology and into the problem of antibody biosynthesis. He was the author of Chemistry and Biology of Proteins (1950), Biochemistry: An Introductory Book (1955), Progress in Biochemistry since 1949 (1959), Immunochemistry and the Biosynthesis of Antibodies (1968).

Alfred Bader (1924-), b. Vienna, of Czech ancestry. He fled from Austria to England in 1938 (at age 14) to escape Nazi persecution. However, in England he was suspected of being a Nazi sympathizer, and in 1940 was deported to Canada to be interned at a camp in southern Quebec. He obtained release in 1941 and began working on admission to a university. Denied admission at McGill University because its Jewish quota was full, he was accepted at Queen's University, in Kingston, Ontario, which operated without quotas. He studied engineering chemistry, then continued his education at Harvard University. Bader was employed as a research chemist by Pittsburgh Plate Glass Co. in 1950, remaining with PPG until 1954. While pursuing this career, he sensed the need for a small reliable company dedicated to providing quality research chemicals (at that time Kodak was their only supplier, and that large company seemed to show insufficient consideration for small and independent researchers), and as a result he co-founded the Aldrich Chemical Company in 1951, with the title of Chief Chemist (the company operated out of a garage). By 1954 he was able to buy out his partner to become sole proprietor and company president, at which time he took his leave from PPG. In 1975 the Aldrich Chemical Company merged with the Sigma Chemical Corporation to become the Sigma-Aldrich Corporation, the 80th largest chemical company in the United States. Bader was president (later chairman) of the combined company. In an unexpected corporation upheaval Bader was ousted from the company in 1991.

Bader is also known as an art collector. After the return of democracy to Czechoslovakia, Bader initiated Postgraduate Fellowships in Chemistry that support a study of young Czech students at the Harvard University, Columbia University, Imperial College of London and University of Pennsylvania. He also established the Bader Scholarship for Research of 17th Century Painting which provides unique private support of art history research in the Czech Republic and the sole continuous support given to the youngest generation of art historians.


Among natural sciences, physics seems to be the largest category. I found at least 21 physicists of Czech origin who found refuge from Nazism in the US, of whom I have selected four:

Wolfgang Pauli (orig. Pascheles) (1900-1958), b. Vienna, Aust., of Bohemian ancestry. Pauli's paternal grandparents were from prominent Jewish families of Prague; his greatgrandfather was the Czech-Jewish publisher Wolf Pascheles. He was educated at the University of Munich, where he obtained his Ph.D. in 1922. After further study in Copenhagen with Niels Bohr and at Gšttingen with Max Born, Pauli taught at the University of Hamburg before accepting in 1938 the professorship of theoretical physics at the Federal Institute of Technology, Zurich. Under his direction the institution became a great centre of research in theoretical physics during the years preceding World War II. In 1940 he was appointed to the chair of theoretical physics at the Inst. for Advanced Study, Princeton and in 1946 he became a US citizen. In 1945 he won the Nobel Prize for his discovery of the Pauli exclusion principle which states that in an atom no two electrons can have the same energy which relates the quantum theory to the observed properties of atoms. He postulated existence of new sub atomic particle named neutrino by Fermi which was detected in 1956.

George Placzek (1905-1955), b. Brno, Moravia. Placzek studied physics at Charles Univ. in Prague and Vienna. He worked with Hans Bethe, Edward Teller, Rudolf Peierls, Werner Heisenberg, Victor Weisskopf, Enrico Fermi, Niels Bohr, Lev Landau, Edoardo Amaldi, Emilio Segr, Leon van Hove and many other prominent physicists of his time. After HitlerÕs Anschluss of Austria and seizing a large region from Czechoslovakia, Placzek left Copenhagen, where he was working, for the US in1938. Placzek's major domains of scientific work involve a fundamental theory of Raman scattering, molecular spectroscopy in gases and liquids, neutron physics and mathematical physics. Together with Otto Frisch, he suggested a direct experimental proof of nuclear fission. Together with Niels Bohr and others, he was instrumental in clarifying the role of Uranium 235 for the possibility of nuclear chain reaction. Later, Placzek held leading positions in the Manhattan project, where he worked from 1943-1946 as a member of the British Mission; first in Canada as the leader of a theoretical division at the Montreal Laboratory and since May of 1945 in Los Alamos, 290 later replacing his friend Hans Bethe as the leader of the theoretical group. Since 1948, Placzek was a member of the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, a permanent member s. 1952.

Felix Bloch (1905-1983), b. Zurich, Switz.; his father was born in Bohemia. He studied engineering and then physics at E.T.H., Zurich and subsequently at Univ. of Leipzig, receiving Dr. phil. degree in 1928. He remained in European academia, studying with Wolfgang Pauli in ZŸrich, Niels Bohr in Copenhagen and Enrico Fermi in Rome before he went back to Leipzig assuming a position as privat dozent. In 1933, immediately after Hitler came to power, he left Germany, emigrating to work at Stanford University in 1934, where he became the first professor for theoretical physics. In 1939, he became a naturalized citizen of the United States. During WW II he worked on nuclear power at Los Alamos National Laboratory, before resigning to join the radar project at Harvard University. After the war he concentrated on investigations into nuclear induction and nuclear magnetic resonance, which are the underlying principles of MRI. In 1946 he proposed the Bloch equations which determine the time evolution of nuclear magnetization. He and Edward Mills Purcell were awarded the 1952 Nobel Prize for "their development of new ways and methods for nuclear magnetic precision measurements." In 1954–1955, he served for one year as the first Director-General of CERN. In 1961, he was made Max Stein Professor of Physics at Stanford University.

Walter Kohn (1923- ), b. Vienna, Aust.; his father was a native of Hodon’n, Moravia. Kohn arrived in England in 1938, as part of the famous Kindertransport rescue operation, immediately after the annexation of Austria by Hitler. Because he was considered a German national, he was sent to Canada by the English in July 1940. In 1945 he obtained B.A. in mathematics and physics and in 1946 M.A. in mathematics at Univ. of Toronto. In the same year he emigrated to US and in 1948 he was awarded Ph.D. in applied physics by Harvard Univ. In 1950-60 he was a member of faculty of Carnegie Inst. of Technology, Pittsburgh, since 1953 as assoc. prof. and since 1957 as full professor. In 1960-79 he held the position of professor of physics at Univ. of California, San Diego; in 1961-63 he was also dept. chair. Since 1979 he was director of Inst. for Theoretical Physics, Santa Barbara, CA. He was recipient of numerous awards and is a member of N.A.S. In 1998 he was awarded the Nobel Prize in chemistry. The award recognized his contributions to the understandings of the electronic properties of materials. In particular, Kohn played the leading role in the 291 development of density functional theory, which made it possible to incorporate quantum mechanical effects in the electronic density (rather than through its many-body wave function). This computational simplification led to many insights and became an essential tool for electronic materials, atomic and molecular structure.


Martin Otto Harwit (orig. Haurowitz)(1931-), b. Prague, Czech.; son of Prof. Felix Haurowitz. In 1939 he emigrated to Turkey with his family and in 1946 to US. He attended Oberlin Coll. (B.A., 1951), Univ. of Michigan (M.A., 1953) and M.I.T. (Ph.D., in physics, 1960). From 1961 he was a member of astronomy dept. of Cornell Univ., since 1964 as assoc. prof. and since 1958 as full professor.

In 1987-95 he held the position of director of the National Air and Space Museum, Washington, DC. He designed the first liquid-helium-cooled rockets for boosting telescopes into the atmosphere, and investigated airborne infrared astronomy and infrared spectroscopy for NASA. He has authored several books, including a widely-used textbook on astrophysics and an overview of the history of astrophysics.

Since leaving the Museum, Harwit has conducted research into the source of electromagnetic radiation, and been involved in the design of the European Space AgencyÕs Far-infrared Submillimeter Telescope (FIRST).


Of the three geologists I found, I like to talk about one:

Irene Kaminka Fischer (1907- 2009), b. Vienna, Aust.; her mother was born in Žatec, Bohemia. She was a mathematician and geodesist, a member of the National Academy of Engineering, Fellow of the International Geophysical Union and Inductee of the National Imagery and Mapping Agency Hall of Fame. Fischer became one of two internationally known women scientists in the field of geodesy during the golden age of the Mercury and Apollo moon missions. Her Mercury Datum, or Fischer Ellipsoid 1960 and 1968, as well as her work on the lunar parallax, were instrumental in conducting these missions. She obtained her training at the Technical Univ. of Vienna, where studied descriptive and projective geometry, and at the Univ. of Vienna where she studied mathematics. In 1931 she married historian and geographer Eric Fischer who helped introduce American history to Vienna. In 1939, the Fischers fled Nazi Austria, traveling by rail to Italy, by boat to Palestine and in 1941 by boat around East Africa and the Cape of Good Hope to Boston where they first lived with Eric Fischer's relatives. In America, she first worked as a seamstressÕ assistant, then she graded blue books at Harvard and the MIT.


Of the 13 American mathematicians with Czech roots, I have selected four:

Emil Schoenbaum (1882-1967), b. Prague, Bohemia. He attended Univ. of Prague, Vienna and Gšttingen, getting his Dr. phil. degree from Univ. of Prague in 1906. He became the first director of Czechoslovak Social Insurance Inst., Prague. He originated social insurance in Czechoslovakia. In 1923-39 he was Prof. of insurance mathematics and mathematics statistics, Charles Univ., Prague. In 1939 he emigrated to Latin America and worked on soc. insurance reform n various South American countries.

Kurt Gšdel (1900-1978), b. Brno, Moravia. He received Dr. phil. in mathematics from Univ. of Vienna in 1930. In 1930-39 he was associated with Univ. Vienna as privatdozent. He emigrated to US and became member of the Inst, for Advanced Study, Princeton (1938-76), since 1953 as full professor of mathematics. He formulated ŅGodel Theorem,Ó stating that in any rigidly logical mathematical system there are proportions or questions that cannot be proven or disproved on the basis of the axioms within that system. Hence basic axioms of mathematics may give rise to contradictions. He is considered the greatest logician since Aristotle.

František Wolf (1904-1989), b. Prostějov, Moravia. A Czech mathematician, known for his contributions to trigonometry and mathematical analysis, specifically the study of the perturbation of linear operators. He studied physics at Charles University in Prague, and then mathematics at Masaryk University in Brno under the supervision of Otakar Borůvka; he was awarded a doctorate in 1928. He then taught mathematics at the high school level until 1937, when he obtained a faculty position at Charles University. When the German army invaded Czechoslovakia in 1938, Wolf obtained an invitation to visit the Mittag-Leffler Institute in Sweden; he remained in Sweden as part of the underground resistance to the Germans until 1941 before emigrating to the United States. He taught at Macalester College for a year, and then joined the faculty of the University of California, Berkeley in 1942. At Berkeley, he was one of the co-founders of the Pacific Journal of Mathematics in 1951.

He retired in 1972, but then moved to Guatemala where he helped to set up a graduate program in mathematics at the University of Valle. Always among his strongest interests was the well-being of Czechoslovakia. He had found many Czech immigrants in Minnesota, and he was a strong supporter of the Czech community in the Bay Area. During the founding of the United Nations in San Francisco in 1945, a dispute arose in the Czechoslovak delegation, and Frank was chosen on one occasion to address the gathering on behalf of his country.

Olga Taussky-Todd (1906-1995), b. Olomouc, Moravia. She attended Univ. of Zurich and Vienna, receiving her Dr. phil. from Univ. of Vienna in 1930. In 1934-38, 1939-40 she attended Cambridge Univ., which awarded her M.A. in 1937. From 1940-44 she was a lecturer in mathematics, Univ. of London and later was involved in industrial research. In 1947 she emigrated to US. In 1947-57 she served as a mathematics consultant to National Bureau of Standards, Washington, DC, while being concurrently a member of the Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton, NJ. From 1957 she was a member of faculty of dept. of mathematics at California Inst. of Technology, since 1971 as full professor. She was recognized by her peers as one of the foremost mathematicians of her generation. Her research in algebra, number theory, and matrix theory has influenced scholars throughout her long and distinguished career. For more than 30 years, she has been the moving force in the development of matrix theory, and her influence on both pure and applied mathematics has been profound.



Rudolf Altschul (1901-1963), b. Jindřichův Hradec, Bohemia. He received Dr. med from German Univ. of Prague in 1925. In 1929-39 he was res. fellow at Histology Inst., Ger. Univ. Prague and concurrently had a private practice in neuropsychiatry. In 1939 he emigrated to Canada. In 1939-63 he was a member of faculty of Univ. of Saskatchewan, Canada, since 1941 as assist. prof. of histology and neurology, since 1945 as assoc. prof. and since 1948 as full professor; in 1955-63 he was also was head, dept. of anatomy. His major work was in fields of histology, neurology and cholesterol metabolism. He was the author of Selected Studies on Arteriosclerosis (1950) and Endothelium: Its Development, Morphology, Function and Pathology (1954).


Hugo Iltis (1882-1950), b. Brno, Moravia. He received Dr. phil. in botany from Univ. of Prague in 1905. In 1905-38 he was professor at Masaryk Gymnasium, Brno and concurrently was associated with T. H. Brno. In 1921-38 he was founder and director of Masaryk Acad., Brno. In 1939 he emigrated to US. In 1940-52 he was professor of biology at Mary Washington Coll., Univ. of Virginia, Fredericksburg. He did research on life and work of Gregor Mendel He opposed Nazi racist theory and attacked H. F. K Gunther for linking antiSemitism with imperialist and expansionist ideologies. He was the author of Life of Mendel (1966).

Hugh Helmut Iltis (1925-), b. Brno, Czech.; son of Hugo Iltis. He emigrated with family to US in 1939. He attended Univ. of Tennessee, Knoxville (B.A., in biology, 1948) and Washington Univ., St. Louis (M.A., 1950, and Ph.D., 1952). In 1952-55 he was a member of faculty, Univ. of Arkansas, from 1954 as assist. prof. From 1955 he was a member of faculty in dept. of botany, Univ. Wisconsin, Madison, since 1961 as assoc. prof. and since 1967 as full professor and director of Herbarium. His research dealt with origin of corn, and potatoes; morphological analysis of the origin of corn from wild maize; human ecology;  conservation; preservation of biotic diversity; biogeography; significance of human evolution to environmental crisis.


Of five biochemists, I will mention two:

Heinrich Benedict Waelsch (1904-1986), b. Brno, Moravia. He received his Dr. med. in 1929 and Dr. phil. in 1930 from German Univ. of Prague. In 1929-38 he was a member of faculty of School of Medicine, Univ. of Prague. In 1938 he emigrated to US. In 1939-33 he was a member of faculty of Columbia Univ. Coll. of Physicians and Surgeons, since 1944 as assist. prof. of biochemistry, since 1949 as assoc. prof. and since 1954 as full professor of biochemistry. His specialty was intermediary metabolism, esp. of the central nervous system. His hypothesis of compartments of metabolism influenced the study of brain biochemistry. He was the author of Ultrastructure and Cellular Chemistry of Neural Tissues (1957).

Gertrude Erika Perlmann (1912-1974), b. Liberec, Czech. She studied chemistry and physics at German Univ. of Prague, receiving D.Sc. in 1936. In 1937 she emigrated to Denmark and in 1939 to US. In 1939-45 she was a member of faculty of Harvard Univ. School of Medicine. In 1945 she was a member of staff of Rockefeller Univ., New York, since 1957 as assist. prof. of biochemistry, since 1958 as assoc. prof. and since 1973 as full professor. She specialized in chemical and physicochemical characterization of proteins and made structural studies on enzymatically modified proteins. She was editor of Proteolytic Enzymes (1970-76).


Maria Kirber (1917-2010), b. Prague, Czech. She attended German Univ. of Prague Medical Scholl and Charles Univ. Medical School. In 1939 she emigrated to US. In 1941 she obtained M.S. from Univ. of Pennsylvania and in 1942 Ph.D. in bacteriology. In 1941-72 she was a member of dept. of microbiology at Medical Coll. of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, since 1945, as assist. prof. since 1949, as assoc. prof., and from 1961 as professor of virology and since 1962 also of microbiology. She conducted research on antigenic structure of hemolytic streptococci and influenza viruses, experimental viral and bacterial eye infections and autoimmune reactions of the eye.

Manfred Eliezer Reichmann (1925-), Trenč’n, Czech; his mother was a native of Plzeň, Bohemia. In 1940 he emigrated to Palestine. In 1944-51 he attended Hebrew Univ., in 1949 receiving M.A. and in 1951 Ph.D. In 1951 he emigrated to US and in 1953 to Canada. In 1955- 64 he was research officer of Plant Virus Inst., Canadian Dept. of Agriculture, Vancouver and in 1962-64 he was also professor of biochemistry, Univ. of British Columbia, Vancouver. In 1964 he emigrated to US and became member of faculty in dept. of microbiology, Univ. of Illinois, Urbana, where he served as prof. of botany since 1964 and professor of microbiology since 1971. He specialized in plant viruses and did physicochemical studies on their shape and sizes, and the chemical makeup of their proteins and nucleic acids in relation to genetic coding.


Ernst Peter Pick (1872-1960), b. Jaroměř, Bohemia. He studied medicine and pharmacology at German Univ. of Prague, receiving Dr. med. in 1896. In 1911-38 he was a member of faculty of Univ. of Vienna, since 1917 as full professor and in 1924-38 as director of Pharmacological Inst. and in 1932-33 as dean of medical faculty. In 1938 he was dismissed and in the same year emigrated to US. In 1939-60 he was clinical professor of pharmacology, Columbia Univ. His specialty was serology and breakdown of proteins and poisons.


Hans Popper (1903-1988), b. Vienna, Aust.; his father was native of Kralovice, Bohemia. He received Dr. med, from Univ. of Vienna in 1928. In 1938 he emigrated to US. In 1938-42 he was associated with Cook County Grad. School of Medicine, Chicago. In 1942-57 he was a member of staff, Cook County Hospital and held the position of director of labs. In 1943-57 he was professor of pathology and in 1946-57 head of div. of pathology, Cook County Grad. School of Medicine. Concurrently, in 1946-57, he rose from assist prof. to professor of pathology, Northwestern Univ. School of Medicine, Chicago. In 1957-67 he was professor of pathology, Columbia Univ. and since 1964 also a member of faculty of newly established Mt. Sinai School, School of Medicine of the City of New York, since 1964 as acting dean and since 1965 as dean of academic affairs. In 1966 he was named Irene Heinz Given Foundation professor and chairman of dept. of pathology, in 1972-73, dean and since 1972 president. He was the authority on liver diseases and founding father of hepatology. His publications include: Hepatitis and Hepatic Tests (1956) and Liver: Structure and Function (1957). He also co-edited Progress in Liver Diseases (1961-79).

Otakar Jaroslav Pollak (1906-2000), b. Brno, Moravia. He received his Dr. med. degree from Masaryk Univ. in 1930 and Dr. phil. in chemistry in 1934. In 1932-38 he served as asst. prof. of pathology at Masaryk Univ. In 1939 he emigrated via Netherlands to US. In 1939-41 he was prof. of pathology, Middlesex Univ., Waltham, MA. In 1941-44 he was a pathologist and dir. of labs and research, Taunton State Hospital, MA. In 1952-72 he was pathologist and dir. of labs, and research, Kent Gen. Hospital, Dover, DE; concurrently he was asst. prof., Hahnemann Medical Coll. (1952-56). From 1974 he was med. director and professor of laboratory medicine, Delaware Tech. and County Coll., Georgetown, DE. He also held other appointments. He did research on atherosclerosis.

Kurt Aterman (1913-2002), b. Bielsko on Moravian-Polish border. He studied at Charles Univ., Prague, receiving Dr. med. degree in 1938.In 1939 he emigrated to UK. He attended QueenÕs Univ., Belfast where he received his B. med. and B. chem. degrees. In 1957 he emigrated to Canada. In 1958-61 he was assoc. prof. of pathology, Dalhousie Univ., N.S., Canada; in 1961-63, professor, WomenÕs Medical Coll. PA; in 1963-67 professor, State Univ. of NY, Buffalo; 1967-79 professor of pathology, Dalhousie Univ. He did research in experimental pathology, especially of the liver.

C. Social Sciences


There at least seven sociologists of note, of whom we shall first mention two:

Alfred Schutz (1899-1959), b. Vienna, Aust.; his mother Johanna Fialla was of Czech ancestry. He attended Univ. of Vienna, receiving Dr. juris in 1921. He started his career as a 298 pianist and accompanist for singers. In 1926-38 he served as executive officer for legal matters at a private bank, Reitler & Co. In 1938 he was dismissed when the Nazis took over the firm. In 1938 he first emigrated to France and a few months later to US. In 1943-59 he taught sociology and philosophy at the graduate school of the New School for Social Research, New York, since 1952 as a full professor. His major work was The Phenomenology of the Social World (1932) which presented critique of Max WeberÕs sociological theory, based on Edmund HusserlÕs phenomenological views. He gained international recognition as an original thinker when social science theory moved away from positivism and quantitative methods and sought to identify new theoretical and normative concepts. His Collected Works, edited by Maurice Natanson, were published in 1962-66.

One of the greatest sociologists in the US was Paul Felix Lazarsfeld (1901-1976), b. Vienna, Aust.; his mother was a native of Opava, Moravia. He received Dr. phil. degree at the Univ. of Vienna in 1924 and did postdoctoral work in France. In 1925-29 he taught mathematics at gymnasium in Vienna and in 1929-33 he was a member of faculty at Psychological Inst., Univ. of Vienna. In 1933-35 he was given fellowship by Rockefeller Foundation to study psychological research in the US. In 1935 he decided to stay in US. In 1937-40 he became director of the Office of Radio Research, Princeton Univ. and in 1939 transferred to Columbia Univ., starting as assoc. prof. and in 1949 becoming full professor and chairman of grad. dept. of sociology and in 1940-49 director of Bureau of Applied Social Research; in 1963 he was named Quetelet professor of social sciences . Upon retirement, he became professor of sociology at the Univ. of Pittsburgh (1971-76). He specialized in analyzing the impact of all mass media on society and promoted the growth of social research centers to expand the empirical sociological research. These studies led to his publications: Radio Research (1940), The PeopleÕs Choice: How the Votes Makes up his Mind in a Presidential Campaign (1944), Communications Research (1949), and Radio Listening in America (1948),). He also promoted the use of mathematics in social sciences. He elaborated his views in Mathematical Thinking in the Social Sciences (1954), The Language of Social Research (1955).


Beate Salz (1913-), b. Heidelberg, Germany; her father was born in Bohemia. She emigrated to UK in 1933 and attended Cambridge Univ. and City of London Coll. In 1936 she emigrated to US, where she attended Ohio State Univ., Columbus (B.A., 1941) and then New School for Social Research, New York (Ph.D. in sociology and economics in 1950). In 1952-53 she was asst. prof. of anthropology at the Univ. of North Carolina, in 1953-54 asst. prof. at Univ. of Chicago and since 1954 a member of faculty in the dept. of sociology and anthropology at Univ. of Puerto Rico, Rio Piedras, since 1955 as assoc. prof. and since 1963 as full professor; she also served as dept. chairperson. She carried out studies on the effect of industrialization and modernization on the cultures of and societies in Latin America and the Caribbean. She was the author of The Human Element in Industrialization: A Hypothetical Case Study of Ecuadorean Indians (1955).


There were at least ten prominent American psychologists with Czech roots who sought refuge in the US from Nazism, one of the greatest being Max Wertheimer.

Max Wertheimer (1880-1941), b. Prague, Bohemia. He studied law at Charles Univ., then psychology and philosophy at Charles Univ. and music at Univ. of Berlin, receiving Dr. phil. at Univ. of Wurzburg in 1904. In 1904-12 he carried out independent psychological research in Prague, Frankfurt, Vienna and Berlin. In 1916-39 he was a member of faculty of University of Berlin, since 1992 as assoc. prof. In 1929 he was appointed full professor at Univ. of Frankfurt. In 1933 he removed to Czechoslovakia and in the same year emigrated to US. In 1933-43 he was professor of philosophy and psychology at New School for Social Research, New York, becoming the first immigrant psychologist there. He was the founder of Gestalt School for Psychology and promoter of application of Gestalt methodology to other social sciences; stressed importance of wholes in learning and problem solving; discovered phi phenomenon concerning illusion of motion in perception. He was the author of Productive Thinking (1945).

Another outstanding psychologist was Marie Jahoda (1907-2001), a native of Vienna of Bohemian descent. Being of Jewish ancestry, and like many other psychologists of her time, grew up in Austria where political oppression against socialists was rampant henceforward Dollfu§ claimed power. Starting in her adolescent years she became engaged in the socialist party. This was a major influence on her life. In 1928 she earned her teaching diploma from the Pedagogical Academy of Vienna, and in 1933 earned her Doctor of Philosophy in Psychology from the University of Vienna. Together with her husband Paul Lazarsfeld and Hans Zeisel, she wrote a now-classical study of the social impact of unemployment on a small community: Die Arbeitslosen von Marienthal (1932). In 1937, after a period of imprisonment by the Austro-fascist regime, Jahoda fled Austria, staying in England during World War II. In 1946 she arrived in the United States. During her time there, she worked as a professor of social psychology at the New York University and a researcher for the American Jewish Committee and Columbia University. She contributed significantly to the analysis of the Authoritarian Personality. Between 1958 and 1965, at what is now Brunel University, she was involved in establishing Psychology degree programs, including the unique four-year, "thin-sandwich" degree. Jahoda founded the Research Center of Human Relations, and was recruited by the University of Sussex in 1965, where she became Professor of Social Psychology. Later at Sussex University she became consultant, and then Visiting Professor, at the Science Policy Research Unit.

Josef Brožek (1913-2004) was a native of Měln’k, Czechoslovakia. Brožek, spent part of his childhood under adverse conditions in Siberia. His father, a non-combatant in World War I, was taken prisoner by the Russian army and he and his young family were forcibly moved to Russia. He received his Ph.D. at Charles University in Prague in 1937. His doctoral dissertation was titled ŅMemory, Its Measurement and Structure: A Psychotechnological Study,Ó and was completed at a time when behaviorism dominated American psychology, his Lehigh colleagues noted. Three decades later, memory research became a centerpiece of modern cognitive psychology. He emigrated to the U.S. in 1939, and became a naturalized citizen in 1945. Brožek joined the Lehigh faculty in 1959 after serving 18 years on the faculty of the University of Minnesota, where he was a professor in the laboratory of physiological hygiene in the School of Public Health. Brožek advanced through a succession of posts at the university, ending his time there as a full professor. At this point in his scholarly career, Brožek was perhaps best known for his work with the Minnesota Semistarvation-Nutritional 301 Rehabilitation Study, which was conducted between 1944 and 1946. He came to Lehigh as a full professor and chair of the psychology department and held the position for four years, before being given the title of Ņresearch professorÓ- one of only two professors at Lehigh at that time to have that distinction. That position allowed him to devote considerable time to the study of the history of science and of psychology.

On the teaching and training front, Brožek considered his greatest contributions to be two summer institutes on the history of psychology that were funded by the National Science Foundation. Brožek designed and trained college teachers at institutes held at the University of New Hampshire in 1968 and at Lehigh in 1971.He was also the co-author or editor of numerous books, including the Origins of Psychometry (1970) and Psychology in the U.S.S.R: A Historical Perspective. Over the course of his career, he published more than 160 books and articles. His personal library, part of which is located in Linderman Library, contains one of the most extensive collections anywhere of books and journals of psychology and physiology published in Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union.

Political Science

Frank Munk (1901-1999), b. Kutn‡ Hora, Bohemia. Prague School of Commerce trained political scientist and economist. Because of his political activities and Jewish background he was forced to escape from Czechoslovakia in 1939 and initially taught economics at Reed College, and then at the Univ. of California at Berkley. He left Berkeley to become an international civil servant. During the years 1944-46, he was Director of Training for the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration (UNRRA). In January 1946, he made what he has described as an emotional return to Prague, as Chief Economic Adviser representing UNRRA. Although he planned to stay in Prague permanently, he decided to return to US, when he was offered professorship of political science at Reed Coll., in 1946. He remained there until his retirement in 1965. Subsequently he became prof. of political science at Portland State University. Frank Munk published three books while on the faculty at Reed: The Economics of Force (1940), The Legacy of Nazism (1943), and Atlantic Dilemma (1964). In 1996, the Munk-Darling Lecture Fund in International Relations was inaugurated

Josef Korbel (orig. Kšrbel) (1909-1977) was a Czechoslovak diplomat and U.S. educator, who is now best known as the father of Bill Clinton's Secretary of State, Madeleine Albright, and the mentor of George W. Bush's Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice. Though he served as a diplomat in the government of Czechoslovakia, Korbel's Jewish heritage forced him to flee after the Nazi invasion in 1939. Prior to their flight, Kšrbel and his wife had converted from Judaism to Roman Catholicism. He served as an advisor to Edvard Beneš, the exiled Czech president in London, until the Nazis were defeated. Korbel was asked by Beneš to serve as the country's ambassador to Yugoslavia, but was forced to flee again during the Communist coup in 1948. After learning that he had been tried and sentenced to death in absentia, Korbel was granted political asylum in the United States in 1949.

 He was hired to teach international politics at the University of Denver, and became the founding Dean of the Graduate School of International Studies. One of his students was Condoleezza Rice, the first woman appointed National Security Advisor (2001) and the first African American woman appointed Secretary of State (2005). His daughter, Madeleine Albright, became the first female Secretary of State in January 1997. After his death, the University of Denver established the Josef Korbel Humanitarian Award in 2000. The Graduate School of International Studies at the University of Denver was named the Josef Korbel School of International Studies on May 28, 2008.

Kurt Wolfgang Deutsch (1912-1992), Prague, Bohemia. He received Dr. juris from Charles Univ., Prague in 1938, M.A. from Harvard Univ. in 1941 and Ph.D. also from Harvard in 1951. In 1942-58 he was a member of faculty of M.I.T., since 1952 as a full professor of history and political science. From 1958-67 he held the position of professor of government at Yale Univ. and since 1967 the position of professor of government at Harvard; in 1971 he was appointed Stanfield professor of international peace. He investigated the patterns of communication leading to political conflict and also did research on nationalism and supranational integration, communication and cybernetics, international politics, world modeling and empirical political theory. He wrote numerous books, including: Nationalism and Social Communication (1953), Political Community at International LevelÉ (1953), The Nerves of the Government: Models of Political Communication and Control (1963), Arms Control and the Atlantic AllianceÉ (1967), The Analysis of International Relations (1968), Nationalism and its Alternatives (1969), Politics and Government: How People Decide their Fate (1970), Mathematical Approaches to Politics (1973).


Among American social scientists with Czech roots who escaped from Nazism, the economists were the most numerous. For lack of time, we shall mention only a few:

Karl Pribram (1877-1973), b. Prague, Bohemia. He studied at Univ. of Prague, Breslau, Berlin and Vienna, receiving Dr. juris degree from the Univ. of Prague in 1900. He held the position of assoc. prof. at Univ. of Vienna and in 1912-33 prof. of economics at the Univ. of Frankfurt. In 1934 he emigrated to US. Until 1936 he was a member of research staff of Brookings Inst., Washington, DC and n 1942-51 chief economist at US Tariff Commission. Concurrently, in 1939-52, he also held the position of adjunct prof. at American Univ., Washington, DC. His research dealt primarily with economic theory and political economy. Pribram was also prominent as social philosopher and sociologist. He was the author of Cartel Problems (1935) and Conflicting Patterns of Thought (1949).

Emil Lederer (1882-l939), b. Plzeň, Bohemia. He studied at the University of Berlin, specializing in law and economics and took his doctorate in jurisprudence at Vienna and in political science at Munich. He became an associate professor at Heidelberg in 1918 and a full professor in 1922. From 1923 to 1925 he was a visiting professor at the University of Tokyo in Japan, where he made a study of the Japanese economy, and in 1931 he became professor of political science in Berlin. Lederer became the chief aide of Alvin Johnson, director of the New School for Social Research, New York, in the organization of the Graduate Faculty of Political and Social Science of the New School. They had become acquainted while Dr. Johnson was associate editor of The Encyclopedia of the Social Sciences, when Dr. Lederer contributed many articles to that publication.

In the spring of 1933, when the Nazis began, dismissing internationally known scholars from the universities, Dr. Johnson conceived the idea of establishing in New York a "university in exile" which would preserve European methods and contributions in a coherent unit. He invited Dr. Lederer to New York that June and made arrangements with him, and Dr. Lederer returned to Europe and assembled the ƒmigrŽ Faculty, which became a nucleus of a group of German, Austrian, Italian and Spanish scholars. Dr. Lederer, who was professor of economics, was elected first dean of the Graduate Faculty and served for two years.

Dr. Lederer was one of the important contributors to modern economic theory. He was a follower of Max Weber, and was himself the leader of an important school of economic thought combining orthodox theory with the Marxist-revisionist, orientation. He was the author of more than a score of works in German, most of them centering around three themes: the problems of the white collar workers, his synthesis of the Bšhm-Baverk and Marxian systems of economic theory, and his study of the Japanese economy. During his years in the United States he published two books, Japan in Transition, with Emy Lederer-Seidlar, his first wife, issued in 1938, and Technical Progress and Unemployment, an extended study issued by the International Labor Office at Geneva. He also contributed many articles to Social Research, scholarly quarterly, of which he was an editor.

Joseph Alois Schumpeter (1883-1950), b. Třešť, Moravia. He studied law and economics at Univ. of Vienna, receiving Dr. juris degree in 1906. In 1909 he was appointed assoc. prof. of economics at Univ. of Czernowitz, Bukovina and in 1911-21 assoc. prof. at the Univ. of Graz, Aust. In 1913-14, he was exchange prof. at Columbia Univ. which awarded him Ph.D. in 1913. In 1919 he was appointed finance minister of Austria. In 1925-35 he served as assoc. prof. of economics at Univ. of Bonn, Ger. In 1932 he emigrated to US. In 1932-50 he held the position of professor of economics at Harvard Univ. He was a pioneer in the field of econometrics and specialist in history of economic theory and development, business cycles, capitalism and socialism in an economic and sociological perspective. He served as president of Econometric Society (1939-41). He wrote numerous books, including Business Cycles: A Theoretical, Historical and Statistical Analysis of the Capitalist Process (1939), Capitalism, Socialism and Democracy (1942), Rudimentary Mathematics for Economists and Statisticians (1946), Imperialism and Social Class (1951), Ten Great Economists. From Marx to Keynes (1951).

Anton’n Basch (1896-1971), b. Německý Brod, Czech. Charles Univ. trained economist. He became general manager of Corporation for Chemical and Metallurgic Production, one of the biggest concerns in Czechoslovakia. In autumn 1938 he went into exile and emigrated to US. From 1940 he was professor at Chicago University, later at Columbia University. He became chief economist, International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (1942-57); resident rep. in India (1957-59), head of capital market unit (1959- 61). Since 1961 he was vis. prof. of economics, Univ. of Michigan. Basch became in American environment a reputable expert in economic analyses of themes as "what will be with 305 Europe after the war." The basic aims of Basch's analyses was definition of methods and concrete steps that should provide after-war economic revival and renewal of Europe and that on general condition of liberalization of intra-European trade, joined with the radical economic restructuralization.

Franz Pick (1898-1985), b. Česk‡ L’pa, Bohemia. He studied economics at Univ. of Leipzig and Univ. of Hamburg. He later moved to Paris where he worked as an economic consultant and was paymaster for the Czechoslovak underground. He came to US in 1940 and became an international currency analyst and an ardent advocate of gold as world currency. He wrote more than 50 books on currency, and gave seminars on currency theory in this country, South America and Europe. He was a collaborator, BarronÕs (1942-45) and founder of PickÕs World Currency Report (1945). He was currency consultant to more than 40 governments. Published The Black Market Yearbook (1952-55), PickÕs Currency Yearbook (1955-62) and was the author of Gold. How and Where to Buy and Hold It (1959), The US Dollar - Deflate vs. Devalue (1959).

Law and Jurisprudence

Hans Kelsen (1881-1973) was born in Prague to Jewish parents. He was a European legal philosopher and teacher who emigrated to the United States in 1940 after leaving Nazi Germany. Kelsen is most famous for his studies on law and especially for his idea known as the pure theory of the law. He studied at several universities, including Berlin, Heidelberg, and Vienna. He received a doctor of laws degree from Vienna in 1906 and began teaching at the school in 1911. He taught public law and Jurisprudence at Vienna until 1930, when he moved to Germany to teach at the University of Cologne. There he taught International Law and jurisprudence and served as dean for two years. With the rise of the Nazi government, he left Germany and emigrated to Switzerland in 1933. He taught at the Graduate Institute of International Studies of the University of Geneva until 1940. He accepted a position as lecturer at the Harvard University Law School the same year, and relocated to the United States. Later in 1940 he accepted a teaching position at the University of California at Berkeley. He remained at Berkeley until his retirement in 1952.

Kelsen's pure theory of the law is fairly abstract. Its objective is knowledge of that which is essential to law; therefore, the theory does not deal with that which is changing and accidental, such as ideals of justice. Kelsen believed that law is a science that deals not with the actual events of the world (what is) but with norms (what ought to be). The legal relation contains the threat of a sanction from an authority in response to a certain act. The legal norm is a relation of condition and consequence: if a certain act is done, a certain consequence ought to follow. Kelsen's main practical legacy is as the inventor of the modern European model of constitutional review - first used in the Austrian First Republic, then in the Federal Republic of Germany, Italy, Spain, Portugal, and later many countries of Central and Eastern Europe. Kelsen is considered one of the preeminent jurists of the 20th century and has been highly influential among scholars of jurisprudence and public law, especially in Europe and Latin America.

Fred Herzog (1907-2008) was born in 1907 in Prague. He graduated from the University of Graz with a doctor of laws degree and moved to Vienna after graduation. Herzog worked as a prosecutor and an assistant judge before becoming a full judge in 1935. During his judicial career, he worked in the criminal court in a suburb of Vienna and as a traveling circuit court judge. Shortly after Nazi soldiers marched into Austria in 1938, Herzog received a letter from the Ministry of Justice informing him that he was suspended from the office of judge because he was a Jew. Herzog left Austria for Sweden in January 1939. Afraid that Hitler might decide to invade Sweden, Herzog left Stockholm for New York in January1940, exactly one year after he arrived. In New York, he applied for a dishwashing job that paid $12 a week, but was deemed unqualified because he had no previous dishwashing experience. Fortunately, he was able to obtain a fellowship and enrolled at the University of Iowa College of Law.

After earning his J.D. and graduating with high distinction, Herzog moved to Chicago, where he worked as a legal editor until he was granted citizenship and joined the Illinois bar. He briefly worked in private practice, but decided that he wanted to teach instead. In 1947, Herzog joined the faculty of Chicago-Kent, where he taught labor law, property, legislation, trusts and equity. His students included Illinois Governor Richard B. Ogilvie Õ49, Illinois Supreme Court Chief Justice Thomas J. Moran Õ50, and Homer J. Livingston Jr. Õ66, former president and CEO of the Chicago Stock Exchange. Herzog was appointed dean in 1970, shortly after Chicago-Kent merged with Illinois Institute of Technology. Herzog served as dean during the transition and expanded the writing program and increased the number of seminars that the school offered. Herzog accepted the position of first assistant attorney general of Illinois and resigned from the law school in early 1973. 307 He remained with the Illinois Attorney GeneralÕs Office until 1976, when he became dean of the John Marshall Law School. He served as dean there from 1976 to 1983 and as interim dean from 1990 to 1991.

Charles (Fried (1935-), b. Prague, Czech. As a 4-year-old boy in 1939, Charles Fried escaped with his family from Czechoslovakia in advance of the Nazi invasion. Fried became a United States citizen in 1948. After studying at the Lawrenceville School and receiving his Bachelor of Arts degree from Princeton University in 1956, he attended Oxford University, where he earned a Bachelor's and a Master's degree in Law in 1958 and 1960, respectively, and was awarded the Ordronnaux Prize in Law (1958). In 1960, Fried received his Juris Doctor (J.D.) degree from Columbia Law School, where he was a Stone Scholar. Subsequently he served as law clerk to Supreme Court Justice John Marshall Harlan II. Fried was admitted to the bars of the United States Supreme Court, United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, and numerous U.S. courts of appeals. He argued 25 cases in front of the Supreme Court while in the Solicitor General's office. He has served as counsel to a number of major law firms and clients, and in that capacity argued several major cases, perhaps the most important being [Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals], both in the Supreme Court and in the Ninth Circuit on remand. Fried's government service includes a year as Special Assistant to the Attorney General of the United States (1984-85) and a consulting relationship to that office (1983), as well as advisory roles with the Department of Transportation (1981-83) and President Ronald Reagan (1982)

In October 1985, President Reagan appointed Fried as Solicitor General of the United States. Fried had previously served as Deputy Solicitor General and Acting Solicitor General. As Solicitor General, he represented the Reagan Administration before the Supreme Court in 25 cases. In 1989, when Reagan left office, Fried returned to Harvard Law School. From September 1995 until June 1999, Fried served as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts, while teaching constitutional law at Harvard Law School as a Distinguished Lecturer. Prior to joining the court, Fried held the chair of Carter Professor of General Jurisprudence at Harvard Law School. On July 1, 1999, he returned to Harvard Law School as a fulltime member of the faculty and Beneficial Professor of Law. He has served on the Harvard Law School faculty since 1961, teaching courses on appellate advocacy, commercial law, constitutional law, contracts, criminal law, federal courts, labor law, torts, legal philosophy, and medical ethics.

Fried has published extensively. He is the author of seven books and over 30 journal articles, and his work has appeared in over a dozen collections. Unusually for a law professor without a graduate degree in philosophy, he has published significant work in moral and political theory only indirectly related to the law; Right and Wrong, for instance is an impressive general statement of a Kantian position in ethics with affinities with the work of Thomas Nagel, John Rawls, and Robert Nozick. Fried has been Orgain Lecturer at the University of Texas (1982), Tanner Lecturer on Human Values at Stanford University (1981), and Harris Lecturer on Medical Ethics at the Harvard Medical School (1974-75). He was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1971-72. Fried is a member of the National Academy of SciencesÕ Institute of Medicine, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the American Law Institute.


This survey has dealt essentially with scholars and scientists with roots in Czechoslovakia who had to leave their native country, or other place in which they may have lived at that time, and sought refuge in the United States because of Nazi persecution. As one would anticipate, the overwhelming majority of them were Jewish, although a number on non-Jewish people were also among them. The success these individuals attained in the US has been phenomenal and their contributions to the United States have been judged as unique and immeasurable. Considering the high cost of education (according to 1960 estimates, the cost of top education in the US was as high as $45,000), the financial loss to Czechoslovakia must have been staggering. This does not, of course, take into account the priceless and distinctive contributions these individuals could have made to their native land, had they been permitted to stay there.