Friday, September 21, 2007

Columbia University And Hitler

Ahmandinejad is still headed to Columbia University to speak, as President Lee Bollinger has confirmed, and he defends the university's doing so as part of its `tradition of academic inquiry'.

Actually, he's perfectly correct It seems that coyly flirting with Jew haters is nothing new for Columbia University.One might almost call it a tradition.

The History News Network has a facinating recap of Columbia's flirtation with Hitler and the Nazis that bears looking at, written by Dr. Rafael Medoff, Director of The David S. Wyman Institute for Holocaust Studies:

{...}"Seventy years before this week’s invitation to Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Columbia rolled out the red carpet for a senior official of Adolf Hitler’s regime. The invitation to Iran’s leader may seem less surprising, but no less disturbing, when one recalls that in 1933, Columbia president Nicholas Murray Butler invited Nazi Germany’s ambassador to the United States, Hans Luther, to speak on campus, and also hosted a reception for him. Luther represented "the government of a friendly people," Butler insisted. He was "entitled to be received ... with the greatest courtesy and respect." Ambassador Luther's speech focused on what he characterized as Hitler's peaceful intentions. Students who criticized the Luther invitation were derided as “ill-mannered children” by the director of Columbia’s Institute of Arts and Sciences.

Columbia also insisted on maintaining friendly relations with Nazi-controlled German universities. While Williams College terminated its program of student exchanges with Nazi Germany, Columbia and other universities declined to do likewise. Columbia refused to pull out even after a German official candidly asserted that his country’s students were being sent abroad to serve as “political soldiers of the Reich.”

In 1936, the Columbia administration announced it would send a delegate to Nazi Germany to take part in the 550th anniversary celebration of the University of Heidelberg. This, despite the fact that Heidelberg already had been purged of Jewish faculty members, instituted a Nazi curriculum, and hosted a burning of books by Jewish authors. Prof. Arthur Remy, who served as Columbia’s delegate to the Heidelberg event, later remarked that the reception at which chief book-burner Josef Goebbels presided was “very enjoyable.”


As Prof. Stephen Norwood of the University of Oklahoma has found in his research on the academic community’s response to Hitler in the 1930s, Columbia was not the only prominent U.S. university to behave shamefully with regard to the Nazis. Harvard hosted a visit by Hitler’s foreign press spokesman, Ernst “Putzi” Hanfstaengl. American University chancellor Joseph Gray visited and praised Nazi Germany. MIT Dean Harold Lobdell personally tore down posters for a rally against a Nazi warship docked in Boston’s harbor, and MIT participated in a 1937 celebration at the Nazi-controlled University of Goettingen. Yale, Princeton, Bryn Mawr, and others continued student exchanges with Nazi Germany into the late 1930s, and more than twenty U.S. colleges and universities took part in the 1936 Heidelberg event.

But Columbia is unique in one important respect. Its administration alone seems to have learned so little from the mistakes of the 1930s that it is prepared to welcome the leader of yet another antisemitic, terrorist regime."

I couldn't have said it better myself, Doc. Well done.


Anonymous said...

in defending/justifying their postion on inviting the stop-n-go clerk, columbia university issued a statement stating the yound people at the university are tomorrows world leaders and as such must be exposed to this type of rhetoric.
i don't find columbia's invite to the stop-n-go clerk as shocking as i find that columbia university is producing tomorrows world leaders.
can someone make a movie and call it "stop the wrold i want to get off?"

it's been a really long time since i have made an off topic comment at J/P.........

in the 1960 movie "exodus", paul newman plays ari ben canaan. is his character based on a real life
person? if so, who would it be?

Freedom Fighter said...

Haven't a clue.But if I were making a movie about the 1948 Israeli War of Independence, I'd probably make it about Yehuda Lapidot, AKA `Nimrod' who commanded the Irgun brigades that held off the Jordanian Arab Legion and saved half of Jerusalem.

This character...