Letters to the Editor: What Stanford’s anti-Jewish bias looked like on campus in the 1950s
I write about my father’s experiences at the University of Chicago (U. of C.) in 1952 and 1953. I am the only person who can speak with authority on this topic from his own experience.
I remember how shocked the students at U. of C. were by a series of anti-Semitic incidents that took place in a few days. They were occurring around the same time as the “Nuremberg trial” for the Nazi Hitler Youth and included: the shooting of a student named Peter Nathan by a Jewish student and his girlfriend; the “Nuremberg war crimes forgery” by an anti-Nazi, anti-Semitic German student newspaper editor and his Jewish student assistant; the “Nuremberg War Crimes” by an anti-Nazi Jew who became a Communist; a student at the Nazi party meeting in New York, a college sophomore named “Lazarus” (later replaced by the fictional “Hanna”), who became a Nazi and was able to bring the Nazis into his U. of C. journalism class; the “Nuremberg Nazi” who was able to bring Nazis into his campus by making his professor, the Jew who had replaced “Lazarus,” a Nazi; and other similar incidents.
As I wrote then, anti-Semitism was in full bloom. The Anti-Defamation League, which was then in its early stages, was barely starting and had not yet taken charge of the problem, yet by my father’s reckoning there were hundreds of anti-Semitic organizations in operation on campus. The University had only recently become a charter university, with a reputation for being progressive and tolerant, and this left University officials with no doubt as to what their students wanted.
Some observers, like my father, were alarmed that students were listening to the anti-Jewish lies being spewed by such anti-Semitic organizations as the “Stern Gang,” which was a student organization founded by the anti-Nazi German student newspaper editor Lazarus (later replaced by the fictional “Hanna”) and by Fritz Vollert and his group, the “Hannah Gang,” which had its origins in the Nazi “Yiddish” party and