The Grand Wake for Harvard Indifference

From Harvard Magazine:Nazi

At noon on November 16, 1938, some 500 Harvard and Radcliffe students jammed Emerson Hall to express their outrage at Kristallnacht, as the Nazis sarcastically dubbed the pogrom in Germany and Austria that had littered the streets with broken glass. But that lunch-time gathering turned out to be much more than a student protest meeting. Besides starting an initiative that eventually brought 14 young refugees from Germany, Austria, and Czechoslovakia to study at Harvard—and two refugees, in a parallel effort, to Radcliffe—it gave rise, with astonishing speed, to a national grassroots movement that helped hundreds of persecuted Central European students find refuge and education at colleges and universities across the United States. Though now largely forgotten, the humanitarian effort that emanated from Harvard highlights a tectonic change among many students at the time—from ivory-tower existence to social activism. And the story also illuminates a gradual transformation of Harvard and other leading colleges: from institutions that educated mainly the children of the elite to institutions that prized scholarly excellence. Now, as the generation of activists who led that effort is passing from the scene, it seems worthwhile to recall their story, especially as today’s students consider engaging in larger issues—among them, again, immigration.

More here.