Letter from Richard Willstatter to Michael Heidelberger
Richard Willstatter, the son of a prosperous German Jewish merchant, resigned from his position as professor of chemistry
at the University of Munich in 1924 in protest over the refusal of a professorship to the geochemist Victor Moritz Goldschmidt,
which Willstatter regarded as a sign of growing anti-Semitism in German academia. Heidelberger's former mentor fled Germany
in March 1939, and after considerable difficulty, succeeded in emigrating to Switzerland, where he settled near Locarno on
Lago Maggiore. As he wrote Heidelberger in this letter, he was forced to leave behind most of his belongings as well as all
of his financial assets. One of the items he was able to take with him was a piece of petrified wood from Arizona, a gift
from Heidelberger and his wife in 1934. Willstatter commented on the rise of Nazism in Germany and the outbreak of World
War II: "My thoughts about Germany are shaped, more than by indignation about the criminals and their heinous deeds,
by disappointment and pain caused by the behavior of the many who allowed it all to happen."
Item is handwritten.
Number of Image Pages:
1 (84,954 Bytes)
1939-11-14 (November 14, 1939)
Courtesy of Michael Heidelberger.
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Medical Subject Headings (MeSH):
World War II
Antigens and Antibodies: Heidelberger and The Rise of Quantitative Immunochemistry, 1928-1954