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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Post Mortem of the Controversy, February 3, 2006
This review is from: Case of the Nazi Professor (Hardcover)
The Prologue tells about Lienhard Bergel, who left Germany in 1931 to teach at the New Jersey College for Women (now Douglass College). Bergel discovered that the head of the German Department and others were Nazi supporters who spread pro-Nazi propaganda (p.1). After Bergel refused to join them he was fired for "incompetence". The President and Trustees of Rutgers colluded in this decision. In 1940 this Department Head, Friedrich j. Hauptmann fled to Europe and became part of the Nazi propaganda machine (p.2). When this affair was reopened in 1985 after 50 years, the President of Rutgers refused to correct this injustice. So a committee was formed to investigate and report their findings (p.6).

Chapter 2 tells of the political organization at Rutgers (p.8). There was little self-governance, it was like a petty kingdom. It gives the background of Hauptmann and Bergel: little in common but their nationality (p.12). The rise of Hitler gained attention in American and controversy (pp.14-15). Bergel, a Social Democrat, opposed defenders of Hitlerism; this led to enmity with Hauptmann. Professor Albert Holzmann, head of the Rutgers German Department, was the main supporter of Nazi Germany (p.17). A change in rules provided the objective criteria for subjective judgment (pp.18-19). The effects of the Great Depression was the reduction in students and government aid, and a surplus of teachers (fewer students). Bergel had the least service, and there were other factors (p.26). But Bergel believed that political bias was the sole explanation (p.30). "Diversity" (?) was practiced at Rutgers and elsewhere (p.35).

Chapter 5 explains how student activists created "The Crisis" by drawing attention to Bergel's dismissal to the general public. The ACLU investigated (p.51). Student Alan Silver contacted Frederick Woltman of the "New York World Telegram". An academic conflict had created a political problem. Chapter 6 tells of the hearings that allowed each side to state their views. Hauptmann did not believe in "freedom to differ" (p.61). Students testified for Bergel, and for Hauptmann. Hauptmann compared Nazi anti-Semitism to US exclusion of Japanese (p.65). Bergel admitted he did not attend routine meetings (p.69), and his demeanor displeased the trustees (p.70). The report of the trustees blamed Bergel (pp.73-74).

The criticisms of the trustees seem justified historically. But Bergel's supporters and allies didn't protest much (p.78). Chapter 7 has "The Aftermath". After Hauptmann disappeared in 1940, the College leaders kept it covered up (Chapter 8). Hauptmann returned to Germany by 1941 and worked for the Nazis in Slovakia. The war's end found him arrested in August 1944, but later released and never prosecuted (p.106). Hauptmann died in 1978 (Chapter 9).

The `Epilogue' tells of the Interim Report that was publicized by the New Brunswick "Home News". Rutgers protected its prior decision, however it turned out. The authors compare the treatment of this story by journalists and by historians (p.112). But journalists have to produce a product every day for paying customers, historian are kept writers who do not face the same pressures. Neither Rutgers nor Bergel were totally in the right. But Clothier and Corwin weren't forthright and open (p.117).
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Case of the Nazi Professor
Case of the Nazi Professor by David M. Oshinsky (Hardcover - March 1, 1989)
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