Book Prospectus

(May 28, 2005)

The Nazis’ Gifts to Turkish Higher Education and Inadvertently to Us All: Modernization of Turkish universities (1933-1945) and its impact on present science and culture.


Arnold Reisman

<[email protected]>

In 1933



Reichstag  burning!


                                                                      In 1933


Gates to Istanbul University


Some 15 years later

This is a tale of individuals caught at the crossroads and in the cross-fires of history. Their native lands were in the throes of discarding them. Their lives were saved because an alien country was discarding a societal culture inherited from the Ottomans. Turkey recognized the need to modernize its society while Germany and Austria were literally throwing babies and much more, out with the bath water. The Nazis came to power.  Many of these intellectuals were Jewish.

The book documents a bit of history that is dimly lit and largely unknown. In the 1930s the new republic of Turkey badly needed western intellectual know-how to create a modern system of higher education and to modernize practice in various professions. In the west Fascism was rising. Much of the intellectual capital in German speaking countries involved individuals unacceptable to the new ideology and those for whom the ideology was unacceptable. Most had no other emigration options. For those who did, professional employment was not guaranteed. Turkey extended invitations to these desperate souls.  For certain chits, the German Reich allowed the emigrations to take place.  Germany needed Turkey’s neutrality to keep the Bosporus and Dardanelles open to its navy and shipping at all times – including war times. Throughout WWII the pressure was high to have these expatriates returned to the Reich along with all Turkish Jews. Turkey never caved in.


The system of higher education inherited by the Republic of Turkey in 1923, consisted of a few hundred Ottoman vintage (Islamic) madrasas, a fledgling university called the Dar-ül Fünun, and three military academies, one of which was expanded into a civil engineering school around 1909. With secularization enshrined in its constitution, the new government recognized a need for modernization/westernization throughout Turkish society and established a number of policies to bring this about. Indigenous personnel to do this were not to be had. Starting in 1933 and running through WWII, Turkey provided safe-haven for many intellectuals and professionals for whom the Nazis had other plans.


This book discusses the impact of these émigré professors, on Turkey’s higher education in the sciences, professions, and humanities, and also on its public health, library, legal, engineering, and administrative practices. The multi-faceted legacy of this impact on present Turkish society with all its richness is documented if but in part. Some of the socio-economic reasons for Turkey’s not taking full advantage of the second and third generation progenies of its modern higher educational system, and the ensuing “brain drain,” are analyzed. Lastly, the book briefly addresses the impact on American science and higher education of the Turkish-saved professors, many of whom subsequently re-emigrated to the US.

Acknowledgments:  The author is grateful to an old and dear friend Aysu Oral, for her knowledge of Turkish history, language, and culture, which greatly contributed to finding, abstracting, and translating  much text from Turkish language documents;  to graduate students, Ismail Capar and Emel Aktas who provided some of the Turkish material; the troika of  Eugen Merzbacher, distinguished physics Professor Emeritus, University of North Carolina, Matthias Neumark of Charlottesville, VA, and Andrew Schwartz of Acton Mass., both retired businessmen who provided many insights because they were there at the time, were not too young to understand events nor too old to recall and retell their stories; to Rita and Marek Glaser of Tel Aviv, Israel, also old and dear friends, for searching archival information and contacting Holocaust survivors for personal experiences that are relevant. Clearly, a number of scholars, archivists, and institutions have provided much of the information contained herein. Among these are Anthony Tedeschi and Becky Cape, Head of Reference and Public Services, The Lilly Library, Indiana University; Samira Teuteberg, AHRB Resource Officer, Centre for German-Jewish Studies; University of Sussex; Dr Norman H. Reid, Head of Special Collections, University of St Andrews Library, Scotland and to J. J. O’Connor and E. F. Robertson , Department of Mathematics and Statistics of the same university; Andrea B. Goldstein, Reference Archivist, Harvard; Viola Voss, Archivist, Leo Baeck Institute, New York; Ralph Jaeckel and staff of the von Grunebaum Center for Near East Studies, UCLA; Chris Petersen, the Ava Helen and Linus Pauling Papers, Valley Library, Oregon State University; Stephen Feinstein, University of Minnesota; Rainer Marutzky, Braunschweig Institute for Wood Research; Dr. Klaus Kallmann, New York Natural History Museum (Ret); Prof. Dr. Johannes Horst Schröder, Institut fur Biologie, Munich (Ret); Meg Rich, Archivist and Daniel J. Linke, University Archivist and Curator of Public Policy Papers, Seeley G. Mudd, Manuscript Library, Princeton University; Marcia Tucker, Historical Studies-Social Science Library, Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton; Ken Rose, Assistant Director, Rockefeller Archive Center; Paul G. Anderson, Archivist, Becker Medical Library, Washington University in St. Louis; Julia Gardner, Reference/Instruction Librarian, Special Collections Research Center, University of Chicago Library; Virginia G. Saha, Director, Cleveland Health Sciences Library;  Nejat Akar MD, Professor of Pediatric Molecular Genetics, Ankara University, Faculty of Medicine; Professor Arin Namal, University Istanbul Medical Faculty Department of Medical Ethics and Medical History; Kyna Hamill, Tisch Library Archives, and  Amy E. Lavertu, Information Services Librarian, Hirsh Health Sciences Library at Tufts University; Historian Tuvia Friling of Ben Gurion University, Beer Sheva, Israel, an expert on Jewish issues in the Balkans and Turkey during the relevant period; Daniel Rooney, Archivist, National [US] Archives and Records Administration; and especially to Ron Coleman, Reference Librarian, United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, who went beyond the call of duty in providing references and did so in a most timely fashion.
Key words: Turkey; History; History of science and technology; Development; Technology Transfer; Educational Policy; Government Policy; Higher education; Nazi persecution; Nazism; Holocaust; Shoah; Migration; Diaspora; Exile.



Arnold Reisman received his BS, MS, and Ph.D. degrees in engineering from UCLA.  He is a registered Professional Engineer in California, Wisconsin, and Ohio and has published over 200 refereed papers and 14 books.  After 27 years as Professor of Operations Research at Case Western Reserve University, he chose early retirement in 1994.  During 1999-2003 he was Visiting Scholar in Turkey at both Sabanci University, and the Istanbul Technical University.  His current research interests are; technology transfer; epistemology of knowledge generation; meta research; and most recently, the history of German speaking exiled professors starting 1933 and their impact on science in general and Turkish universities in particular.  He is also actively pursuing his life long interest in sculpting.  He is listed in Who’s Who in America, Who’s Who in the World, American Men and Women of Science, and Two Thousand Notable Americans and is a Fellow of the American Association for Advancement of Science.

Book Length

Text length and number of visuals are negotiable. Manuscript delivered in nine (9) months or less of contract signing.



  1. Introduction
  2. The Builders

         Architecture and City Planning

  1. The Preservators


Library Science and librarianship


Botany and zoology

  1. The Creators

Performing arts

Visual arts

  1. The Social Reformers



  1. The Healers



  1. The Scientists


Biology, Chemistry, and Biochemistry

Mathematics and Engineering Science

Philosophy and Science




  • University histories


Ankara University

Istanbul Technical University

Istanbul  University


    1. Problems the emigres encountered


  • Correspondence and memoirs


  1. Legacy left behind

Selected biographies of first-generation Turkish elite educated by the émigré professors.

Selected biographies of second-generation Turkish elite educated by the émigré professors.

Oral histories

First generation: Turkish elite educated by the émigré professors.

Surviving spouses

  1. Turkey’s post-war policies and practices: Effects limiting the legacy’s    

impact potential.

  1. After their re-emigration, Turkey-saved professors’ impact on:

         American science and higher education

German science and higher education




Sample chapters available on request.

Less Hitler and Henrys in new history A-level

Less Hitler and Henrys in new history A-level

By Judith Burns

Education reporter, BBC News


Genghis Khan and the Explosion from the Steppes will be one of the new topics on offer if the draft A-level is accredited

The rise of Islam and pre-colonial African kingdoms are among topics on offer in a draft new history A-level, due to be introduced next year.

The course, from exam board OCR, will also include options on Alfred the Great and Genghis Khan.

The aim is to give greater breadth to the fifth most popular A-level subject.

OCR’s head of history, Mike Goddard said the subject had been criticised “for being too repetitive and having a 20th Century Western focus”.

Hitler and the Henrys

Mr Goddard said these criticisms were sometimes unfair but added that: “Hitler and the Henrys can dominate.

“Universities tell us they want incoming students to have greater breadth of knowledge.

New history topics

Alfred and the Making of England: 871 – 1016

The Early Anglo Saxons: 400 – 800

Genghis Khan and the Explosion from the Steppes: 1167 – 1405

Japan: 1853 – 1937

African Kingdoms: 1400 – 1800

The Rise and Decline of the Mughal Empire in India: 1526 – 1739

The Rise of Islam: 550 – 750

The Ascendancy of the Ottoman Empire: 1453 – 1606

China and its rulers: 1839 – 1989

The Middle East, Ottomans to Arab Spring: 1908 -2011

“It’s vital that schools and colleges have an opportunity to deliver, for example, the history of pre-colonial, non-Western civilisations, alongside British history.”

The board says the course will continue to include familiar subjects such as the Tudors and Stuarts, Victorian social reform and the rise of Hitler but the aim is to broaden the subject “in time and space”.

Some of the 10 new topics will appear in an A-level syllabus for the first time.

Mr Goddard said the African Kingdoms topic, developed with university experts would “give students, for the first time, the chance to discover the economic and political power of four pre-colonial kingdoms which had far-reaching global trade and diplomatic connections”.

Altogether there will be 58 topics divided into three groups:

world history

British history

historical themes

King Henry VIII is a staple of the A-level history syllabus

Sixth-formers are asked to choose three topics – one from each group.

New subject criteria from Ofqual requires that from 2015 students should take options from across a 200-year range and include the study of more than one state.


OCR says its specification ranges over nearly 1,700 years and includes dozens of states.

The board hopes it might be appealing for teachers to get out of their comfort zones and teach topics that are new to them, using a range of new online resources and support facilities.

Prof Peter Mandler, president of the Royal Historical Society, said the principle of broadening school history was an approach favoured by academics.

“History tells us not so much about who we are as about who we have been and what we might yet be,” he said.

“We welcome efforts by the examination boards to bring recent academic research on hitherto under-explored histories within reach of school pupils.

“It is particularly important not to tell the history of the non-Western world solely through its contact with the West.”

The new course will be submitted for accreditation by the exam regulator Ofqual next month.

If approved it will be taught in schools from September 2015.

via BBC News – Less Hitler and Henrys in new history A-level.

Top 5 Ridiculous Comments: You Share DNA With These People!

Untitled - 2Top 5 Ridiculous Comments: You Share DNA With These People! | The Skeptics Guide to the Universe.

#2) When you are incapable of making valid, logical arguments to support your position, there is always one thing you can do …. invoke HITLER!

Isn’t that right, Mr. Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğanof Turkey?

“Those who condemn Hitler day and night have surpassed Hitler in barbarism,” and a few days later clarified his statement by adding “You can see that what Israel does to Palestine, to Gaza right now, has surpassed what Hitler did to them.”

And it gets worse.

Biosurveillance: Government to track your health as a matter of national security

Darelene-StormBy Darlene Storm

A very broad government biosurveillance plan that makes your health records a matter of “national security” showed up on my radar today. It opens the door leading to the government having near-real-time access to monitor your health. I apologize for only hearing about this, and bringing it to you at the last minute, since the deadline to submit comments is 5 PM Eastern time today, May 21. Of course the reason we might not have heard much about this “sneaky biosurveillance plan that will track American’s health records” is because the 50-page departmental draft (pdf) states, “Do not cite or quote.” Well that’s too damned bad, since this affects you, me, our kids, everyone in the United States!

It’s regarded as national security, meaning in the same way NSA surveillance was a secret until the Snowden leaks, you won’t even know how your health is being spied upon and shared with others. The 2015-2018 National Health Security Strategy (NHSS) (pdf) will keep track of and share information about not just sick people and sick animals, but even sick plants.

“The information collected by the government will be ‘all-encompassing’ and include ‘what our health status is, whether we exercise, how often we get a cold, or what kind of medications we’re taking,” according to the Citizens’ Council for Health Freedom (CCHF).

“This is not privacy.” Twila Brase, president and co-founder of CCHF, added (pdf), “Officials want a ‘near-real-time’ reporting requirement for electronic data systems. What is a ‘health threat’ or ‘incident’ that could jeopardize our ‘national health security?’ The Strategy says these could include terrorist activities, antibiotic resistance, climate change or subjects surrounding the economic environment. In other words, anything and everything could become a health threat by the government’s standards.”

Brase told CNCNews that the “NHSS proposal would allow the federal government to monitor an individual’s behavior before, during and after any government-defined health ‘incident.’ It’s very broad. It doesn’t seem to have any limits, except they say something about, you know, properly protecting the data. But from our perspective, if the government gets access to this kind of data, [and] is allowed to do research with the data…then our privacy has already been compromised. The government has already said that our data is their data for their purposes of national health security.”

There’s an old ACLU “joke” about ordering pizza in the future that’s meant to highlight the unpleasant “potential for centralized monitoring” and “the possibility of a dark future where our every move, our every transaction, our every communication is recorded, compiled, and stored away, ready for access by the authorities whenever they want.” In that future, a person wouldn’t be allowed to order a pizza or soda that would be “unhealthy” — or they could order “unhealthy” pizza but would be charged a health penalty fee and must sign an insurance liability waiver — since the pizza employee has access to the person’s health records. We are already tracked via our cell phones, websites, purchases, license plate readers and now biosurveillance plans to track Americans’ health records. It’s sad that this “joke” from 2006 is very nearly our reality in 2014.

The draft proposal (pdf) claims NHSS will create “health situational awareness” made up from “many types of health-related and non-health-related data.” A graphic illustration of inputs to health situational awareness includes: non-health sources like informatics, supply chain, energy, environment, event driven, media, social determinants, transportation services, active intelligence and veterinary. Examples of health-related sources include: morbidity and mortality, lab/diagnostics, social service utilization, disease prevalence, health service utilization, public health investigation and response asset data. All of the above are merely part of the big picture, or “examples” of what data feeds into the “biosurveillance” portion of public health and medical situational awareness.

Put another way:

Situational awareness will involve collecting, aggregating, and processing data from both traditional and nontraditional sources (such as social media) and from various governmental and nongovernmental stakeholders, while ensuring that data from all sources are of high quality. Health situational awareness will include the ability to interpret data to create relevant, tailored information that decision-makers can use. Decision-makers will have the capability to visualize and manipulate data from many sources to create an operational picture suited to the specific situation and the decisions before them.

Brase warns that the “government’s biosurveillance plan is much more intrusive than the data collection currently being done by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).” It “talks about the need for the ‘examination of data from electronic medical records’ and calls for ‘cooperation among federal and non-federal stakeholders, including the scientific community and public and private healthcare providers … to achieve an efficient and reliable surveillance system.”

She added, “It’s very clear to us that really the government is moving toward real-time access, toward close collaboration of government and doctors for ready access to the electronic medical record and then to conduct research and analysis.”

“The scary truth is that this government surveillance program brings together several federal agencies—all who will be able to view, share, interpret and research the data collected through the system,” CCHF warns (pdf). “Cut through the jargon, and simply put, the government’s plan means that your medical records would be shared with government officials.”

CCHF urges you to speak out against the government’s biosurveillance plan to warehouse our health information. Or you can otherwise submit your public comments here.

Darlene Storm (not her real name) is a freelance writer with a background in information technology and information security. It seems wise to keep an eye on new hacks and holes, to know what is possible and how vulnerable you might be. Most security news is about insecurity, hacking, cybersecurity and even privacy threats, bordering on scary. But when security is done right, it’s a beautiful thing…sexy even. Security is sexy.

This is a weblog of Darlene Storm. The opinions expressed are those of Darlene Storm and may not represent those of Computerworld., May 21, 2014

Turkey Keen to Access Iranian Pharmaceutical Companies’ Technology

TEHRAN (FNA)- Turkish companies are seeking cooperation with leading Iranian pharmaceutical companies in a bid to utilize their valuable experiences in the sector, a Turkish official said.

The official, who coordinates Turkey’s pharmaceutical companies, said that the Turkish side is willing to develop cooperation with the Iranian side.

He further added that Turkish Abdi Ebrahim Company is resolved to transfer Iranian Sinagen Company’s know-how to Turkey to produce biological medicines.

First joint pharmaceutical project based on modern technology will be launched in Turkey, if an agreement to that effect be signed.

Iran and Turkey have in recent years increased their cooperation in all the various fields of economy, security, trade, education, energy and culture.


via Farsnews.