From fascist Europe to U.C. Berkeley: Students help uncover a history of intellectual migration

“It must have been an Indiana Jones moment for Stuart Fine. Poring over rare documents, many of which had been boxed up for decades, the 19-year-old U.C. Berkeley freshman uncovered a lost world.

Fine was one of nine students taking part in a project of the university?s Undergraduate Research Apprenticeship program. Their mission: Explore the lives of 70 professors, most of them Jewish, who had fled Nazi-occupied Europe in the ?30s and later joined the U.C. Berkeley faculty. Their findings will be part of a 2014 exhibit at the Magnes Collection of Jewish Art and Life in Berkeley.

‘It was fascinating to learn about these people,’ Fine said. ‘I knew about the Jewish intellectual diaspora after the war, but I had no idea so many amazing people came to U.C. Berkeley or that Cal accepted so many persecuted Jews.’

The documents had been stored at the university’s Bancroft Library, which houses a portion of the Magnes’ archives.” – Dan Pine,

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