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Hitler's Gift: Scientists Who Fled Nazi German

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Pages: 256

Language: English

Book format: An electronic version of a printed book that can be read on a computer or handheld device designed specifically for this purpose.

Publisher: Piatkus: New edition edition (6 Sept. 2001)

By: Lady Jean Medawar (Author)

Drawing on interviews with more than 20 surviving refugee scholars, the authors give a moving account of the scientific diaspora which resulted from Hitler's policy of dismissing Jewish scientists. The irony is that they went on to help win the war for the Allies. 'If the dismissal of Jewish scientists means the annihilation of contemporary German science, then we shall do without science for a few years!' With these words Hitler closed the door on Germany's 50-year record of world supremacy in science. The subsequent exodus of German and Austrian scientists caused critical damage to Germany's scientific output and brought invaluable gains to the West. The Third Reich's losses included Einstein, and also Leo Szilard, who became the driving force behind the atomic bomb project. As one refugee remarked: 'Far from destroying the spirit of German scholarship, the Nazis had spread it all over the world. Only Germany was to be the loser.' This book recounts how Britain played a significant role in rescuing the scientists and how, within weeks, leading British academics had set up an agency to support the exiles and help them to find jobs. Of the 1,500 refugees they rescued, 15 went on to win Nobel Prizes.

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