A Dutch Nobel Prize winner collaborated with Nazis but also helped Jews, according to historians.
Peter Debye, awarded the Nobel for chemistry in 1936 for a study on molecules, had his honors stripped last year by two Dutch universities after it was revealed that he supported the expulsion of Jews from scientific bodies in accordance with Nazi policy.
Further investigating Debye’s case, the Netherlands War Documentation Institute presented a report Tuesday that showed Debye worked with the Nazis and “accepted the separation of Jewish and non-Jewish circles without public protest.”
However, the report also states that he helped two Jewish scientists who emigrated under pressure.
Questions about Debye’s past arose last year following the publication of “Albert Einstein in the Netherlands” by a German author who includes a 1938 note by Debye, then director of the renowned Max Planck Institute in Berlin, telling Jewish members of the institute to resign.