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A Refugee Nobelist

Jack Steinberger, whose investigations of subatomic particles led to a Nobel Prize in Physics in 1988 (shared with co-researchers Leon M. Lederman and Melvin Schwartz), was born in Bad Kissingen, Germany on this date in 1921. His father was a cattle-dealer and cantor, his mother a hop-dealer and language teacher. Steinberger was sent out of Nazi […]

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November 19: The Anti-Nazi Novelist

Anna Seghers (Netty Reiling), an anti-Nazi novelist who wrote an internationally acclaimed book, The Seventh Cross — one of the very few war-time depictions of Nazi concentration camps — was born in Mainz, Germany on this date in 1900. She joined Germany’s communist party in 1928 and warned about rising Nazism in her 1932 novel, […]

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February 22: Stefan Zweig

In despair over Nazism and the destruction it had wrought upon Europe, world-renowned writer Stefan Zweig used barbituates to commit suicide with his wife Charlotte Elisabeth Altmann on this date in 1942 in Petropolis, Brazil, where they had moved nearly two years earlier. “Every day I learned to love this country more,” he wrote in […]

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September 26: Gräfenberg and the G-Spot

Dr. Ernst Gräfenberg, inventor of the intrauterine birth control device (IUD), who was rescued by Margaret Sanger from a Nazi prison in 1940, was born near Göttingen, Germany on this date in 1881. Gráfenberg moved from opthalmology to obstetrics and gynecology in the years before World War I and developed the “Gräfenberg ring,” the first […]

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May 7: Ruth Prawer Jhabvala

Ruth Prawer Jhabvala, Man Booker Prize-winning novelist and the winner of two Academy Awards for screenwriting (and the only person to win both honors), was born to Jewish parents in Germany on this date in 1927. Best known for her work as a screenwriter with Merchant Ivory Productions (Howard’s End, Mr. and Mrs. Bridge, The […]

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Those Who Survived

They Rarely Did It Alone by Robert Oppenheimer From the Spring, 2015 issue of Jewish Currents MY FATHER ALFRED, my Aunt Ruth, and their parents Ella and Willie lived in Cologne, Germany in the 1920s and ’30s. As a young boy, my father more than once saw from his bedroom window violent incidents in which […]

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April 9: Abdul Mati Klarwein — and Miles Davis

Surrealist artist Abdul Mati Klarwein was born in Hamburg on this date in 1932, to a Jewish architect father of Polish origin and a German opera singer mother. The three of them fled to Palestine when he was two years old. Klarwein was best known as a record album artist: His works included covers for Miles Davis; Earth, […]

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February 12: Kurt Lewin and Social Psychology

Kurt Lewin, a German founder of social psychology and experimental psychology, and one of the first psychologists to write about group dynamics and organizational development, died at 56 on this date in 1947. Lewin worked with the psychologists of the Gestalt school, with the Marxist philosophers associated with the Frankfurt School, and as an academic […]

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