Alvin Johnson was the president of the New York New School for Social Research when, in 1933, he responded with alacrity to the growing crisis in Europe.The previous year, Alvin Johnson had traveled to Europe and had witnessed a potential need for a haven for academics and scholars. Johnson had been in frequent correspondence  with German-speaking Jewish scholars (especially economists) as a result of his work co-editing The Encyclopedia of the Social Sciences (1930-1935), to which many of these scholars had contributed entries. In addition, he had traveled to Germany in 1924, before his 1932 trip. These contacts, sustained over time through the Weimar era, made apparent to him the worsening political climate in Germany and the dangers they faced. Johnson initiated a program to provide refuge for endangered scholars, many of whom ended up at the New School.

Alvin Johnson holding an open book. The New School Photograph Collection. New School Archives and Special Collections Digital Archive. Web. 23 Sep 2014.

In April 1933, Johnson began to raise $60,000 per year for two consecutive years. (Adjusted for inflation, that is equivalent to approximately $1,000,000 a year in 2013.) This $120,000 was to support a faculty of 15 scholars, giving an annual salary of $4,000 per scholar. After only raising $10,000, Alvin Johnson received a donation of the whole $60,000 from Hiram J. Halle, a prominent Jewish industrialist and philanthropist, making all other donations additions to the cause. This allowed Johnson to begin immediately, and additional funding from the Rockefeller Foundation enabled him to enlarge his rescue efforts. By October, 1933, ten academics were brought to The New School and employed: the University in Exile began. By 1935, another six were added. And the name changed from the University in Exile to the Graduate Faculty of Political and Social Science.

The original members of the University in Exile included: the agricultural economist Karl Brandt, the public finance specialist Gerhard Colm, the economist and assessor of the Weimar’s Cartel Court Arthur Feiler, the economic theorist Eduard Heimann, the professor of jurisprudence and legal sociology Herman Kantorowicz, the economist and sociologist and first Dean Emil Lederer, the sociologist Hans Speier, the ethnologist and musicologist E. von Hornbostel, the Czech-born founder of Gestalt psychology, Max Wertheimer, and the specialist in social policy Freida Wunderlich. Univ-in-Exile-origFaculty of dismissed or furloughed German professors at the New School for Social Research. Left to right, seated: Emil Lederer, Alvin Johnson, director of the New School for Social Research; Frieda Wunderlich, and Karl Brandt. Left to right, standing: Hans Speier, Max Wertheimer, Arthur Feiler, Eduard Heimann, Gerhard Colm, and E. von Hornbostel. (New York Times, October 4, 1933). Photo credit: Times Wide World Photo.

Social Research

In the foreword of the first issue of Social Research, Alvin Johnson defined the purpose of the new journal: “Political revolution on the European continent had expelled from their usual orbits of activity scores and hundreds of the ablest scholars, to whom the scientific world had turned for light upon the problems that harass the whole of mankind. These scholars, representing collectively an important fraction of the world’s thinking power, had been divorced from their customary avenues of expression…Nothing could be more natural than the emergence of a new organ of publication at the New School, where the largest organic grouping of continental scholars abroad has been established as a Graduate Faculty of Political and Social Science.” The journal would publish writings from those at the New School primarily but would also include the works of others. The topics it covered would range from “theory, political, social and economic; problems of social and political organization that are worldwide in their general character though national in specific characteristics, such as class differentiation, militarism, the labor movement; problems involving the interdependence of nations, like the phenomena of prosperity and depression, prices and currency, movements of international trade and investment,”,a list of issues that could still be relevant in the modern world. The periodical still thrives today and can be accessed here.

Exiled Scholars at the New School, 1933-45

The New School for Social Research hosted 183 scholars, more than any other American institution and a significant percentage of the total 303 scholars saved by the Rockefeller Foundation. (For more on the involvement of the Rockefeller Foundation, visit the Rockefeller Archives here.)

Franz L. Alt, Austria / economics, statistics
Rudolf Arnheim, Germany / psychology of art
Solomon Asch, Germany / psychology
Max Ascoli ,Italy / political science
Pierre Auger, France / physics
Paul Baran, Poland / economics
Marcel Barzin, Belgium / philosophy
Jean Benoit-Levy, France / education
Adolph Berger, Poland / history of law
Erich Berger, Germany
Herbert Berghof, Austria / acting, dramaturgy
Gregor Bienstock, Russia / economics
Elie Bikerman, Russia / ancient history
Karl Birnbaum, Germany / psychiatry
Herbert Block, Germany / economics
G.A. Borgese, Italy / political science
Arnold Brecht, Germany / law, political science
Karl Brandt, Germany / agricultural science
Felix W. Brentano, Austria / dramaturgy
Camillo Brooke, Austria / food chemistry
Warner E. Brooke, Germany / economics
Theophile Cahn, France / biochemistry
Renata Calabresi, Italy / psychology
Gustave Cohen, France / French literature
Gerhard Colm, Germany / economics
Paolo Contini, Italy / political science
Nine Coucroun, Algeria / biophysics
Ladislas Czettel, Hungary / set design
Ernst Döblin, Germany / economics
Irma Dombois-Bartenieff, Germany / dance
Eufrosina Dvoichenko-Markoff, Russia / Russian literature
Gertrude von Eckardt, Germany / gymnastics
Henry W. Ehrmann, Germany / political science
Fritz Eichenberg, Germany / graphic arts
Mario Einaudi, Italy / political science
Hanns Eisler, Germany / composition, music theory
Boris Ephrussi, Russia / genetics
Arthur Feiler, Germany / economics
Ernst T. Ferand, Hungary / musicology
Friedrich Wilhelm Foerster, Germany / education, philosophy
Joseph Frank, Austria / architecture
Hans E. Fried, Austria / comparative government
Victor Fuchs, Austria / opera performance
George Garvy, Russia / economics
Trude Goth, Germany / dance
Max Graf, Austria / musicology
Henri Gregoire, Belgium / Byzantine studies
Leo Gross, Poland / political science
Judith Grunfeld, Germany / economics
Emil Julius Gumbel, Germany / statistics
Georges Gurvitch, Russia / sociology
Erich Gutkind, Germany / philosophy, sociology
Jacques Hadamard, France / mathematics
Albert Halasi, Hungary / economics
Ernst Hamburger, Germany / political science
Frederick Haussmann, Germany / international law
Werner Hegemann, Germany / city planning
Eduard Heimann, Germany / economics
John L. Herma, Austria / psychology
Paul Hermberg, Germany / statistics
Léon Herrmann, France / classics
Antonin Heythum, Czechoslovakia / architecture
Charlotta Heythum, Czechoslovakia / graphics
Dietrich von Hildebrand, Germany / philosophy
Julius Hirsch, Germany / industrial management
Lydia Hoffmann-Behrendt, Russia / piano performance
Ernst Honigmann, Germany / historical geography
Jascha Horenstein, Russia / conducting
Erich von Hornbostel, Germany / sociology of music
Erich Hula, Austria / political science,international law
Alexander Ince, Hungary / theater arts
Alfred Kähler, Germany / economics
Erich Kahler, Czechoslovakia / history
Ernst Kahn, Germany / social policy
Hermann Kantorowicz, Germany / law
Georg Katona, Hungary / economics, psychology
Felix Kaufmann, Austria / philosophy
Hans Kelsen, Czechoslovakia / law
Alexander Koyré, Russia / philosophy
Maurice Kraitchik, Russia / mathematics
Ernst Kris, Austria / psychology
Fritz Lachmann, Germany / economics
Michael Laskowski, Russia / agricultural chemistry
Charles F. Leblonde, France / medicine
Emil Lederer, Germany / economics
Fritz Lehmann, Germany / economics
Charles Leirens, Belgium / musicology
Friedrich W. Lenz, Germany / classics
Paul Leser, Germany / anthropology
Wolf Leser ,Poland / oriental languages
Nino Levi, Italy / law
Claude Lévi-Strauss, France / sociology, ethnology
Ernst Levy, Germany / psychology
Maria Ley Piscator, Austria / dance, theater
Rudolf Littauer, Germany / industrial law
Karl Loewith, Germany / philosophy
Adolph Lowe, Germany / economics
Julian Maes, Belgium / medicine
Michael Magat, Russia / physical chemistry
Bronislaw Malinowski, Poland / anthropology
Thérèse Marix, France / French literature
Jakob Marschak, Russia / economics
Carl Mayer, Germany / sociology
Alfredo Mendizabal, Spain / international law, philosophy of law
Julie Meyer, Germany / sociology
Paolo Milano, Italy / comparative literature
Boris Mirkine-Guetzévitch, Russia / political science
Franco Modigliani, Italy / economics
Robert Mosse, France / economics
Hans Neisser, Germany / economics
Hans Neufeld, Austria / theater arts
Max Nurnberg, Germany / social policy
Charles Oberling, France / medicine
Irma Otte-Betz, Austria / dance
Amédée Ozenfant, France / physics
Alexander Pekelis, Russia / business law
Francis Perrin, France / physics
Jean Perrin, France / physics
Werner Pese, Germany / economics
Roger Picard, France / economics
Kurt Pinthus, Germany / dramaturgy, literature
Erwin Piscator, Germany / theater arts
Miguel Z. Pizarro, Spain / Hispanic studies
Julius Pless, Czechoslovakia / biochemistry
Enrique R. Ramos, Spain / law
Wilhelm Reich, Austria / psychology
Fritz Reiche, Germany / physics
Arnold Reichenberger, Germany / romance languages
Hilde Reiss, Germany / architecture
Kurt Riezler, Germany / philosophy
Ernst Rinner, Germany / social policy
Fernando de los Rios, Spain / political science
Kurt Roesch, Germany / painting
Henri E.A.M. Rolin, Belgium / law, sociology
Solomon Rosenblum, Poland / physics
Louis Rougier, France / philosophy
Eugene Sagi, Czechoslovakia / biochemistry
Albert Salomon, Germany / sociology
Gottfried Salomon, Germany / sociology
Gaetano Salvemini, Italy / history
George de Santillana, Italy / history of science
Raymond de Saussure, Switzerland / psychiatry
Rudolf Schaeffer, Germany / linguistics
Paul Schrecker, Austria / philosophy
Franz Schueck, Germany / medicine
Richard Schueller, Austria / economics
Alfred Schutz, Austria / sociology
Balduin Schwarz, Germany / philosophy
Solomon Schwarz, Russia / social policy, economics
Angelo Piero Sereni, Italy / international law
Hans Simons, Germany / political science
Hans Sondheimer, Germany / theater
Hans Speier, Germany / sociology
André Spire, France / literature
Hans Staudinger, Germany / economics
Catherine Stern, Germany / psychology
Leo Strauss, Germany / philosophy
George Szell, Hungary / musicology
Rafael Taubenschlag, Poland / history of law
Alfred Thomas, Germany / engineering
Ernst Toch, Austria / musicology
Rudolf Treuenfels, Germany / marketing
Alexander Turyn, Poland / classics
Rustem Vambery, Hungary / law
Paul Vaucher, Switzerland / social history
Lionello Venturi, Italy / art history
Jean Wahl, France / philosophy
André Weil, France / mathematics
Jean Weiler, France / economics
Max Wertheimer, Czechoslovakia / psychology
John Simon White, Austria / literature
Aniuta Winter, Poland / medicine
Ernst Karl Winter, Austria / sociology, political science
Kurt Wohl, Germany / chemistry
Eva Wunderlich, Germany / comparative literature
Frieda Wunderlich, Germany / social policy
Georg Wunderlich, Germany / law
René Wurmser, France / biophysics
Julius Wyler, Switzerland / economics, statistics
A.S. Yahuda, Palestine / Oriental studies
Ignace Zlotowski, Poland / chemistry
Paul Zucker, Germany / art history
Carl Zuckmayer, Germany / writing, dramaturgy


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