In the latest issue:

Real Men Go to Tehran

Adam Shatz

What Trump doesn’t know about Iran

Patrick Cockburn

Kaiser Karl V

Thomas Penn

The Hostile Environment

Catherine Hall

Social Mobilities

Adam Swift

Short Cuts: So much for England

Tariq Ali

What the jihadis left behind

Nelly Lahoud

Ray Strachey

Francesca Wade

C.J. Sansom

Malcolm Gaskill

At the British Museum: ‘Troy: Myth and Reality’

James Davidson

Poem: ‘The Lion Tree’

Jamie McKendrick


Jenny Turner

Boys in Motion

Nicholas Penny

Jia Tolentino

Lauren Oyler

Diary: What really happened in Yancheng?

Long Ling

Short Cuts: Harry Goes Rogue

Jonathan Parry

I Love You StillRussell Jacoby

Terms and Conditions

These terms and conditions of use refer to the London Review of Books and the London Review Bookshop website ( — hereafter ‘LRB Website’). These terms and conditions apply to all users of the LRB Website ("you"), including individual subscribers to the print edition of the LRB who wish to take advantage of our free 'subscriber only' access to archived material ("individual users") and users who are authorised to access the LRB Website by subscribing institutions ("institutional users").

Each time you use the LRB Website you signify your acceptance of these terms and conditions. If you do not agree, or are not comfortable with any part of this document, your only remedy is not to use the LRB Website.

  1. By registering for access to the LRB Website and/or entering the LRB Website by whatever route of access, you agree to be bound by the terms and conditions currently prevailing.
  2. The London Review of Books ("LRB") reserves the right to change these terms and conditions at any time and you should check for any alterations regularly. Continued usage of the LRB Website subsequent to a change in the terms and conditions constitutes acceptance of the current terms and conditions.
  3. The terms and conditions of any subscription agreements which educational and other institutions have entered into with the LRB apply in addition to these terms and conditions.
  4. You undertake to indemnify the LRB fully for all losses damages and costs incurred as a result of your breaching these terms and conditions.
  5. The information you supply on registration to the LRB Website shall be accurate and complete. You will notify the LRB promptly of any changes of relevant details by emailing the registrar. You will not assist a non-registered person to gain access to the LRB Website by supplying them with your password. In the event that the LRB considers that you have breached the requirements governing registration, that you are in breach of these terms and conditions or that your or your institution's subscription to the LRB lapses, your registration to the LRB Website will be terminated.
  6. Each individual subscriber to the LRB (whether a person or organisation) is entitled to the registration of one person to use the 'subscriber only' content on the web site. This user is an 'individual user'.
  7. The London Review of Books operates a ‘no questions asked’ cancellation policy in accordance with UK legislation. Please contact us to cancel your subscription and receive a full refund for the cost of all unposted issues.
  8. Use of the 'subscriber only' content on the LRB Website is strictly for the personal use of each individual user who may read the content on the screen, download, store or print single copies for their own personal private non-commercial use only, and is not to be made available to or used by any other person for any purpose.
  9. Each institution which subscribes to the LRB is entitled to grant access to persons to register on and use the 'subscriber only' content on the web site under the terms and conditions of its subscription agreement with the LRB. These users are 'institutional users'.
  10. Each institutional user of the LRB may access and search the LRB database and view its entire contents, and may also reproduce insubstantial extracts from individual articles or other works in the database to which their institution's subscription provides access, including in academic assignments and theses, online and/or in print. All quotations must be credited to the author and the LRB. Institutional users are not permitted to reproduce any entire article or other work, or to make any commercial use of any LRB material (including sale, licensing or publication) without the LRB's prior written permission. Institutions may notify institutional users of any additional or different conditions of use which they have agreed with the LRB.
  11. Users may use any one computer to access the LRB web site 'subscriber only' content at any time, so long as that connection does not allow any other computer, networked or otherwise connected, to access 'subscriber only' content.
  12. The LRB Website and its contents are protected by copyright and other intellectual property rights. You acknowledge that all intellectual property rights including copyright in the LRB Website and its contents belong to or have been licensed to the LRB or are otherwise used by the LRB as permitted by applicable law.
  13. All intellectual property rights in articles, reviews and essays originally published in the print edition of the LRB and subsequently included on the LRB Website belong to or have been licensed to the LRB. This material is made available to you for use as set out in paragraph 8 (if you are an individual user) or paragraph 10 (if you are an institutional user) only. Save for such permitted use, you may not download, store, disseminate, republish, post, reproduce, translate or adapt such material in whole or in part in any form without the prior written permission of the LRB. To obtain such permission and the terms and conditions applying, contact the Rights and Permissions department.
  14. All intellectual property rights in images on the LRB Website are owned by the LRB except where another copyright holder is specifically attributed or credited. Save for such material taken for permitted use set out above, you may not download, store, disseminate, republish, post, reproduce, translate or adapt LRB’s images in whole or in part in any form without the prior written permission of the LRB. To obtain such permission and the terms and conditions applying, contact the Rights and Permissions department. Where another copyright holder is specifically attributed or credited you may not download, store, disseminate, republish, reproduce or translate such images in whole or in part in any form without the prior written permission of the copyright holder. The LRB will not undertake to supply contact details of any attributed or credited copyright holder.
  15. The LRB Website is provided on an 'as is' basis and the LRB gives no warranty that the LRB Website will be accessible by any particular browser, operating system or device.
  16. The LRB makes no express or implied representation and gives no warranty of any kind in relation to any content available on the LRB Website including as to the accuracy or reliability of any information either in its articles, essays and reviews or in the letters printed in its letter page or material supplied by third parties. The LRB excludes to the fullest extent permitted by law all liability of any kind (including liability for any losses, damages or costs) arising from the publication of any materials on the LRB Website or incurred as a consequence of using or relying on such materials.
  17. The LRB excludes to the fullest extent permitted by law all liability of any kind (including liability for any losses, damages or costs) for any legal or other consequences (including infringement of third party rights) of any links made to the LRB Website.
  18. The LRB is not responsible for the content of any material you encounter after leaving the LRB Website site via a link in it or otherwise. The LRB gives no warranty as to the accuracy or reliability of any such material and to the fullest extent permitted by law excludes all liability that may arise in respect of or as a consequence of using or relying on such material.
  19. This site may be used only for lawful purposes and in a manner which does not infringe the rights of, or restrict the use and enjoyment of the site by, any third party. In the event of a chat room, message board, forum and/or news group being set up on the LRB Website, the LRB will not undertake to monitor any material supplied and will give no warranty as to its accuracy, reliability, originality or decency. By posting any material you agree that you are solely responsible for ensuring that it is accurate and not obscene, defamatory, plagiarised or in breach of copyright, confidentiality or any other right of any person, and you undertake to indemnify the LRB against all claims, losses, damages and costs incurred in consequence of your posting of such material. The LRB will reserve the right to remove any such material posted at any time and without notice or explanation. The LRB will reserve the right to disclose the provenance of such material, republish it in any form it deems fit or edit or censor it. The LRB will reserve the right to terminate the registration of any person it considers to abuse access to any chat room, message board, forum or news group provided by the LRB.
  20. Any e-mail services supplied via the LRB Website are subject to these terms and conditions.
  21. You will not knowingly transmit any virus, malware, trojan or other harmful matter to the LRB Website. The LRB gives no warranty that the LRB Website is free from contaminating matter, viruses or other malicious software and to the fullest extent permitted by law disclaims all liability of any kind including liability for any damages, losses or costs resulting from damage to your computer or other property arising from access to the LRB Website, use of it or downloading material from it.
  22. The LRB does not warrant that the use of the LRB Website will be uninterrupted, and disclaims all liability to the fullest extent permitted by law for any damages, losses or costs incurred as a result of access to the LRB Website being interrupted, modified or discontinued.
  23. The LRB Website contains advertisements and promotional links to websites and other resources operated by third parties. While we would never knowingly link to a site which we believed to be trading in bad faith, the LRB makes no express or implied representations or warranties of any kind in respect of any third party websites or resources or their contents, and we take no responsibility for the content, privacy practices, goods or services offered by these websites and resources. The LRB excludes to the fullest extent permitted by law all liability for any damages or losses arising from access to such websites and resources. Any transaction effected with such a third party contacted via the LRB Website are subject to the terms and conditions imposed by the third party involved and the LRB accepts no responsibility or liability resulting from such transactions.
  24. The LRB disclaims liability to the fullest extent permitted by law for any damages, losses or costs incurred for unauthorised access or alterations of transmissions or data by third parties as consequence of visit to the LRB Website.
  25. While 'subscriber only' content on the LRB Website is currently provided free to subscribers to the print edition of the LRB, the LRB reserves the right to impose a charge for access to some or all areas of the LRB Website without notice.
  26. These terms and conditions are governed by and will be interpreted in accordance with English law and any disputes relating to these terms and conditions will be subject to the non-exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of England and Wales.
  27. The various provisions of these terms and conditions are severable and if any provision is held to be invalid or unenforceable by any court of competent jurisdiction then such invalidity or unenforceability shall not affect the remaining provisions.
  28. If these terms and conditions are not accepted in full, use of the LRB Website must be terminated immediately.
Intellectuals in Exile: Refugee Scholars and the New School for Social Research 
by Claus-Dieter Krohn, translated by Rita Kimber and Robert Kimber.
Massachusetts, 255 pp., $15.95, July 1994, 0 87023 864 7
Show More
Show More

Without the refugees from Nazi Europe American intellectual life would lack weight and reach. It is impossible to conceive of American political thought without Hans Morgenthau, Hannah Arendt or Leo Strauss; American psychoanalysis without Erik Erikson, Bruno Bettelheim or Heinz Hartmann; American publishing without Kurt Wolff or Theodore Schocken; architecture without Walter Gropius; art history without Erwin Panofsky; mathematics without Kurt Gödel; physics without Enrico Fermi – and the list goes on and on. Of course, not every refugee intellectual caused cultural waves. Karl Korsch, for instance, a leading German Marxist, found no role in American society. E.J. Gumbel, who had published sensational booklets in Weimar Germany on the assassinations of leftists, became a quiet American statistician. Some refugees returned to Europe after the war, leaving no mark on American letters. ‘Farewell, America,’ wrote Alfred Döblin as he steamed out of New York. ‘You were not very fond of me./But I love you still.’ Others laboured on projects that would see the light of day much later, Ernst Bloch’s Das Prinzip Hoffnung, written in the States, was published only in 1959. The classic work of the Frankfurt School, Adorno and Horkheimer’s Dialectic of Enlightenment, composed in Los Angeles during the war, became widely available only in the late Sixties.

The story of these refugees has increasingly spurred conferences, projects and studies. The books run from Anthony Heilbut’s chatty and smart overview. Exiled in Paradise, to more specialised volumes like Barry Katz’s Foreign Intelligence, which tells the story of the Office of Strategic Services – the predecessor to the CIA that employed a bevy of refugee leftist intellectuals like Marcuse, Franz Neumann, Otto Kirkheimer and Paul Baran. Recent books include poignant accounts like Gabrielle Edgcomb’s From Swastika to Jim Crow, about the sixty-odd German Jewish professors who found refuge at black colleges in the American South.

According to Claus-Dieter Krohn, a quarter of the scholars who fled to the United States from Nazi Germany spent some time at the New School for Social Research in New York. This role suited the New School, which had been founded as a haven by and for outsiders. In 1917 the president of Columbia University, Nicholas Murray Butler, dismissed several professors for protesting against America’s entry into World War One. This precipitated the resignations of two leading historians, Charles Beard and James Robinson, both of whom had long bridled at interference by trustees and college presidents.

With some associates at the New Republic, Beard and Robinson hatched plans for a ‘new’ school. ‘New’ was in the air. The New Republic had been founded just three years earlier; and Robinson and Beard championed what they called ‘new history’ – history that was more social and engaging than a dry listing of wars, treaties and kings. They wanted to establish a ‘new’ school that would be faculty-driven, interdisciplinary, and devoted to adult education and social reform. The New School for Social Research opened in 1919: Thorstein Veblen and John Dewey were on the staff; Harold Laski and Lewis Mumford were regular visitors.

Located in Greenwich Village, the New School became a centre for music, dance and the visual arts, the place to teach or attend lectures. Much of the credit for putting it on the cultural map goes to Alvin Johnson, its president from 1922 till 1945. Like Beard and Robinson, Johnson was a Midwestern progressive. He was also a relentless promoter, organiser and do-gooder, who had a genuine eye for talent. In 1927 Johnson began editing the Encyclopedia of the Social Sciences, a 15-volume affair that many would say has never been surpassed. For contributors he assembled an international cast of illustrious scholars – Karl Mannheim wrote on ‘utopia’, Friedrich Hayek on ‘saving’.

In editing the Encyclopedia Johnson made many friends and contacts in Germany. Angered by the Nazi Government’s expulsion of Jews and leftists from universities, he was one of the very few to move with dispatch. Already in the spring of 1933 he drew up a scheme for a University in Exile to hire dismissed professors. His fund-raising letter stated that ‘it must be done promptly. The world is quick to forgive invasions of academic liberty. It long ago forgave Mussolini.’

Others dragged their feet. The Rockefeller Foundation, which had long supported foreign scholars, initially seemed unconcerned. Its Pans representative coolly observed that the Nazis would not go too far; in any event, he pointed out, the fired professors were ‘Jews or Social Democrats or worse’. Johnson persevered, opening in October 1933 the New School’s Graduate Faculty of Political and Social Science, a name the refugees preferred to the University in Exile, which sounded too provisional.

Claus-Dieter Krohn’s book examines the background and the impact of the New School’s Graduate Faculty. He wants to correct misconceptions and fill in lacunae, commenting that ‘still no adequate historical account of this unique institution’ exists. Although the Rockefeller Foundation eventually backed the refugee project, little study has been made of that support: which scholars were helped and why? Most important, Krohn seeks to rebut the ‘stereotypical impression’ that the New School remained a German ghetto for scholars who had little influence on American academic life.

Krohn’s subtitle, ‘Refugee Scholars and the New School for Social Research’, promises much more than he wants to deliver. He has previously published a book on academic economists in Weimar Germany, and here he sticks mainly to refugee ‘reform’ economists. This both narrows his subject-matter and weakens his argument. A study that considered others who taught at the New School like Leo Strauss or Karen Horney or Hannah Arendt would hardly have to strain to demonstrate their impact. But one that wants to show the influence of Karl Brandt, Gerhard Colm, Arthur Feiler, Eduard Heimann, Emil Lederer and Frieda Wunderlich – to take the original group of refugee economists – has its work cut out.

According to Krohn, Johnson favoured the German reform economists because they could bring much-needed support to beleaguered New Dealers. They were not only familiar with issues of under-consumption and business cycles, but were willing for the government to intervene to restore the economy. The first public seminars held by the refugees, ‘Laissez Faire – Interventionism – Planned Economy’ and ‘Has Capitalism Failed?’, announced their orientation. Several New School economists, most notably Gerhard Colm, moved into government positions and played a part in bringing about budgetary and fiscal reforms. Yet even Krohn admits their impact was limited.

Fortunately, Krohn does not write exclusively about reform economists: he touches on the contribution of other New School economists like Jacob Marschak to econometrics, and Adolph Lowe to economic theory. Even so his narrow limits don’t allow much breathing space. A study of refugee economists beyond the New School could take in Oskar Morgenstern, Fritz Machlup, Ludwig von Mises and Friedrich Hayek, and again no one could contest their contribution. A study limited to economists at the New School risks telling us too little.

Half-realising this, Krohn shifts his ground and argues more broadly that the New School scholars led successful academic lives. Charges of isolation and irrelevance are his main worry. He informs us that the faculty received many invitations to give lectures at other universities; that the New School journal Social Research became widely influential; and that ‘presidents of several great universities’ jockeyed to serve on the Board of Trustees. All this suggests that the New School was anything but a ‘hermetic ghetto’ of Europeans.

Why is he so upset by this? Are charges of hermeticism so damning? Are status and recognition by mainstream institutions so desirable? Can’t a ‘hermetic ghetto’ be productive and ultimately important? Moreover, what is influence and how is it measured? Krohn broaches several of these issues but never digs deeply. He thinks isolation is bad, influence good. He hardly recognises – strange in a historian of refugees – that isolation may be necessary and justified; and that it might lead to more important contributions either to scholarship or to public life than immediate acceptance. He seems oblivious to the fact that ‘influence’ does not stand outside history. His brief discussion of the Frankfurt School highlights his narrowness.

The Frankfurt School or Institute of Social Research offers obvious parallels to the Graduate Faculty of the New School of Social Research. Its individual members shared roughly the same background and neo-Marxist views. Together the two groups represented, according to Krohn, ‘the most significant centre of German émigré scholarship ... quantitatively and qualitatively’. Of course, differences jump out. For all its internal conflicts the Frankfurt School possessed a certain theoretical cohesiveness as well as its own endowment, allowing it to function as a unit. Neither of these things was true of the Graduate Faculty.

Krohn wants to argue something more, however. While the New School’s economists functioned as a ‘kind of think tank for New Deal striving’, the Frankfurt refugees retreated into ‘deeper isolation’; they suffered from ‘intellectual self-doubt, escapism and élitism’. ‘A lack of interest on the part of the Institute’s core group in becoming integrated’ explains their ‘shattered lives’, writes Krohn, alluding to the subtitle of Adorno’s Minima Moralia. Even The Authoritarian Personality, which the Frankfurt School co-produced, was ‘not a negation of the group’s hermeticism’. Adorno’s philosophical essays in that volume ‘were so far removed from the quantitative research represented in the other chapters by younger American scholars that they might as well have been published separately’.

Krohn uses ‘integration’ like a hammer to attack outsiders as élitists and shirkers. He does not argue, but simply believes that ‘integration’ as a think-tank theoretician or a quantitative researcher spells ‘influence’. What sort of influence – and for how long? Krohn doesn’t ask. He scratches around for traces of the reform economists, while deriding the Frankfurt School as ‘hermetic and irrelevant’. Hermetic and irrelevant? Perhaps at one point, but where has he been all these years? If contemporary American scholarship is his test, he doesn’t have to look far to find evidence of the Frankfurt School. Some twenty volumes of Adorno alone are in print in English. Several shelves could be filled with editions of books by Marcuse, Horkheimer, Leo Loewenthal, Franz Neumann and with the recent literature on all of them. They are familiar points of reference in several disciplines.

Moreover, Krohn fails to notice when he has a real and tantalising case of influence: in writings about white-collar employees or the new middle class. He discusses Emil Lederer’s theories of technical progress and unemployment, bewailing the fact that they ‘never received the attention they deserved’. He says virtually nothing about Lederer’s ideas on class structure and salaried employees, which were perhaps his main contribution. Lederer pasted this interest on to his student, Hans Speier, who also went to the New School. (Speier’s 1933 book on the subject, blocked in Germany, appeared much revised in English in 1986 as German White-Collar Workers and the Rise of Hitler.)

Recent American writings on the ‘new middle class’, the ‘aristocracy of the working class’ or ‘white-collar workers’ regularly refer to Speier and Lederer. This is where the story of influence becomes tantalising. C. Wright Mills’s White Collar: The American Middle Classes appeared in 1951, making both Mills and the ‘white collar’ cultural news. Mills had studied and collaborated with Hans Gerth, a refugee sociologist at the University of Wisconsin. Gerth taught Mills much about German sociology, and probably introduced him to the ideas of his friend Speier. Few of the relevant writings of Lederer and Speier existed in English. However, at Columbia University, where he was teaching while working on White Collar, Mills had access to unpublished translations of them, which he duly cited in White Collar. According to Arthur Vidich, a New School professor who was also a student of Gerth, Mills’s White Collar represents ‘the most explicit general statement and application’ of the ideas of Speier and Lederer. Mills, the ‘new middle class’ and ‘white-collar workers’ are unmentioned in Krohn’s account.

Intellectuals in Exile is a diligent work, much better than its argument. It offers in formation about the Rockefeller Foundation; the beginnings of the University in Exile; the politics of saving persecuted scholars in the Thirties; and reform economic thought in Germany and the United States: all this is valuable. Yet it lacks oxygen – Krohn wanders down too many minor paths asking minor questions.

Send Letters To:

The Editor
London Review of Books,
28 Little Russell Street
London, WC1A 2HN

Please include name, address, and a telephone number.

Read anywhere with the London Review of Books app, available now from the App Store for Apple devices, Google Play for Android devices and Amazon for your Kindle Fire.

Sign up to our newsletter

For highlights from the latest issue, our archive and the blog, as well as news, events and exclusive promotions.