NEW YORK (Feb. 2)
Dr. Otto Nathan, economist, teacher, author and close friend of Albert Einstein, died here last week at the age of 93. Nathan was involved in numerous campaigns on behalf of world peace, Israel and Socialist democracy. He was also a leading figure in the struggle against Nazism and worked tirelessly to aid Jews and other refugees from the Nazis.
Born in Bigen, Germany, he was an economic advisor to the Weimar Republic from 1920 to 1932 and served as a German delegate to the World Economic Conference in Geneva in 1927. Upon the invitation of the Brookings Institution, Nathan came to the United States in the mid-1930’s.
He was a faculty member of several major institutions, including Princeton University where Einstein was also teaching. The two became friends. Upon Einstein’s death in 1955, Nathan became the executor of his estate and the co-trustee of Einstein’s archive along with Einstein’s secretary, Helen Dukas, who died in 1982.
The archive, numbering some 45,000 individual documents, includes both scientific material and a great deal of correspondence with many of the world’s outstanding personalities of Einstein’s time. The archive was sent to the Hebrew University in 1982. Einstein was a member of the Board of Hebrew University when it opened in 1925.
Nathan, who earned doctorates at Freiburg and Munich Universities, taught economics at Princeton, New York University, Howard University, and Vassar College. He also served as a consultant on economics to the Treasury Department and the Library of Congress. In the 1950’s he had difficulty in obtaining a passport and later became a target of the House Un-American Activities Committee.
Nathan was the author of numerous books, articles and studies, including “The Nazi Economic System,” “Nazi War Finance and Banking,” and was co-editor of “Einstein on Peace.” Last month he was named Honorary Fellow of Hebrew University in recognition of his untiring devotion to the Einstein estate and archive, its maintenance and vast enrichment.