Abstract

In the 1930s, American educators reacted defensively when philanthropic foundations and relief committees tried to assist refugee scholars—victims of the Nazi dictatorship's "racial" and political purge of the German universities and scientific research institutes—in obtaining academic appointments in the United States. Despite the existence of antisemitic prejudice, a large number of scholars in the Central European migration were able to resume their professional careers in American colleges and universities. What accounts for their successful integration into the institutions of higher education, and how were the barriers of discrimination against Jews in faculty appointments broken? Beyond the talents and adaptability of the refugee scholars, this article discusses the role of American philanthropy, especially the distinctive contributions of the Rockefeller Foundation and the Emergency Committee in Aid of Displaced Foreign Scholars, and the changing perceptions of these immigrants within the American academic community between 1933 and 1945.

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