Johannes Stark Flirts with High Nazi Officials

The right of a government to pass laws regulating the behaviour of its people is upheld by Professor Johannes Stark, Nobel prize physicist in 1919 in the current issue of Nature.

“It must be emphasized once more that the National Socialist Government is far from desiring to make an attack on the freedom of scientific investigation,” he writes. “Rather it is anxious to give scientific persons every possible help for their work. I have myself on many occasions been asked by the National Socialist Government to join them in assisting individual scientific persons and institutes.

“The National Socialist Government has not subjected Jewish scientists to exceptional treatment, or forced them to emigrate; it has passed a law for the reform of the Civil Service which applies to all kinds of officials, not only to those concerned with science. According to this law, ‘non-Aryan’ officials were obliged to leave their positions if they were not appointed before 1914,or is they had not fought at the front in the war.

SCIENTISTS EXCEPTED

“No government can be denied the right to make such rules in the interests of its own people, and no group of officials, for example, scientific ones, can be made an exception to such a general law. As a matter of fact however, in a number of individual ###ses an exception was made to the advantage of Jewish scientists.

“Various Jewish scientists, without being forced to do so, have given up their professorships and moved to other countries. This they have done, as some of them declared openly, out of sympathy with their Jewish kinsfolk who were affected by the law.

“This attitude can be understood and appreciated. One should not however set them up outside of Germany as martyrs of unjust treatment by the National Socialists in Germany, nor quote them as signs of the denial of intellectual freedom in Germany. This would be a misunderstanding of the actual position.

“The withholding of criticism of the new regime in Germany, or at least a conscientious regard for the truth in scientific circles, will be to the advantage not only of international cooperation but also of the Jewish scientists themselves.

“With regard to the assertions and opinions of my respected colleague, Professor A. V. Hill, on the above mentioned matter,” Professor Stark concludes, “I should like to invite him to visit Germany and as a scientific investigator to become acquainted with the actual facts by means of his own observation and collection of evidence.”

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