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Saved by the Bay (2014) | Press Release

Saved by the Bay (2014) | Press Release

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The exhibition, "Saved by The Bay. The Intellectual Migration from Fascist Europe to UC Berkeley," curated by Francesco Spagnolo, was presented at The Magnes Collection of Jewish Art and Life, UC Berkeley, in the Spring of 2014.

More information at http://bit.ly/savedbythebay
The exhibition, "Saved by The Bay. The Intellectual Migration from Fascist Europe to UC Berkeley," curated by Francesco Spagnolo, was presented at The Magnes Collection of Jewish Art and Life, UC Berkeley, in the Spring of 2014.

More information at http://bit.ly/savedbythebay

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Categories:Types, Presentations
Published by: The Magnes Collection of Jewish Art and Life on Feb 05, 2014
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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03/21/2014

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Kathleen Maclay
| Media Relations kmaclay@berkeley.edu, (510) 643-
 
5651 February 4, 2013
Berkeley
 — A new exhibition at UC Berkeley’s Magnes Collection of Jewish Art and Life tells the stories of more than 70 scholars, writers and artists – many of them Jewish, related to Jews or political dissidents – who escaped the rise of Nazism and fascism in Europe in the 1930s and ‘40s to bring their talents and dreams to the University of California, Berkeley. Doing so, they contributed to the campus’s global reputation for tolerance, academic excellence and freedom, and public intellectual engagement, according to exhibit organizers and historians. “UC Berkeley was definitely better off for opening its doors to these people who were seeking a home, and it is still benefitting from that today,” said Francesco Spagnolo, the lead curator of the exhibition, “Saved by the Bay: The Intellectual Migration from Fascist Europe to UC
 
Berkeley.” The exhibition tells how the immigrants made new homes in the San Francisco Bay Area and continued, or went on, to garner top awards in a wide range of arts and sciences, while also contributing their unique perspectives to campus debates on issues such as the Free Speech Movement and the Cold War-era Loyalty Oath required of University of California employees. Below are snapshots of a few of these migrants who made names for themselves on higher education’s western frontier at UC Berkeley:
 
· Vienna native Max Knight (born Max Kuhnel) fled for England the day before the Nazis invaded Austria. He ended up in California, working for a while with the Office of War Information. Then he became principal editor of the University of California Press, where he went on to oversee the publication of hundreds of books. Knight translated plays by German writer Bertolt Brecht into English, and the works of quirky American poet Ogden Nash into German.
 
This student ID card belonged to Manfred Bukofzer, who came to the United States in 1939 and UC Berkeley as a musicologist in 1941. His papers are in the Jean Gray Hargrove Music Library. (Image courtesy of The Magnes.)
 
 
· History professor emeritus and authority on childhood, Paula Fass, who in her 2011 memoir, “Inheriting the Holocaust: A Second Generation Memoir” (2011), recalls growing up with Polish parents who survived the Nazi atrocities.
 
· Emilio Segrè was forced by Italy’s anti-Semitic laws to abandon his professorship at the University of Palermo. Segrè accepted a post in 1938 at the then Berkeley Radiation Lab. Eight years later joined the UC Berkeley faculty as a professor of physics and the history of science. In 1959, Segrè and Berkeley colleague Owen Chamberlain won the Nobel Prize in physics for discovering the antiproton. · Peter Selz, former director of the Berkeley Art Museum/Pacific Film Archive and emeritus professor of art at UC Berkeley, who was born in Munich in 1919 and came to the United States in 1936. He became an expert on German expressionist painting and a historian of American art, and oversaw the planning and 1967 opening of what was then a brand-new Berkeley Art Museum on Bancroft Way. Spagnolo, who oversaw the exhibition’s careful assembly over the past two years, noted its overarching theme of scholars and artists who went “from peril to safety, from exclusion to intellectual prominence.”
Priceless learning opportunity”
Spagnolo worked on the exhibition together with about a dozen undergraduate and graduate students, including the 2012-2013 Magnes Graduate Student Fellow and history student Daniel Viragh. Other students were involved in either a class about the intellectual migration from Nazi Germany taught by history professor Martin Jay, an authority on Europe in the period covered by the exhibit, or a special Undergraduate Research Apprenticeship Program 
 
(URAP) project led by history professor Thomas Laqueur, whose own family fled Germany for Istanbul before coming to the United States. During an opening reception, University of California President Janet Napolitano praised the exhibition’s remarkable story and called the collaboration “a priceless learning opportunity.” The students and other team members uncovered hundreds of letters, childhood photos, passports, affidavits and professional correspondence as well as personal information in the University Archives, The Bancroft Library, Jean Gray Hargrove Music Library and department records.  A fraction of their finds are featured in “Saved by the Bay,” including war rations books, anonymous hate mail sent to musicologist Alfred Einstein, a German consult general’s rejection of a request to extend a passport in response to math professor Hans Lewy’s three-year suspension when he refused to sign the campus Loyalty Oath, family photos and a 1985 certificate awarding Max Knight Austria’s Medal of Honor. The exhibition breaks down the immigrant stories into information about their lives in Europe, their strategies to escape, their lives at Berkeley and their post-war attitudes about Europe. Visitors also can watch a 10-minute film featuring interviews with key people involved in putting the exhibition together.
Personalizing history
Student curator Elena Kempf, a Munich native and third-year history major focusing on

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