Turkey's Modernization

Refugees from Nazism and Ataturk's Vision
By Arnold Reisman

New Academia Publishing

Copyright © 2006 Arnold Reisman
All right reserved.

ISBN: 978-0-9777908-8-3


As a sophomore at UCLA, I remember juniors and seniors excitedly discussing "the German professor's" philosophy lectures. I couldn't wait till I could take his course as an elective outside of my engineering major. Sadly for me, he died just before the semester I was to take his class. Little did I know then that over half a century later, I would be learning about Hans Reichenbach's life, talking via long distance to his 96-year-old widow, Maria, and his daughter, Elizabeth. As a first-year graduate student I was unaware that Richard von Mises, William Prager, and Arthur von Hippel, authors of seminal texts I was reading, would appear in the course of my research for a book manuscript on their forced exile years.

While moving away from mathematical dynamics of fluid flow and the highly experimental materials science and beginning to read or my dissertation in the fast-emerging field of Operations Research, I quickly learned about America's pioneers in the science of management-the time studies of Frederick W. Taylor and the motions studies by Frank and Lillian Gilbreth (Cheaper by the Dozen, 1948). I was also impressed to learn that the modern American (as well as urban Turkish) home kitchen was designed to conserve limb motion and body movement. It was not until doing research for this book that I learned who had first converted these efficiency ideas into kitchen-design blueprints. In the 1920s Margarete Sch��tte-Lihotzky, an Austrian architect, integrated this concept into large multi-dwelling complexes that had been built in Austria and Germany for working-class families. I also learned that there was an anti-Nazi underground in Austria and that Sch��tte-Lihotzky, (and a fellow Austrian architect) left Turkey to join this movement. I did not understand that each time my doctoral advisor would invite me to have lunch at the UCLA Faculty Club, I would be sitting in the same room as the great Turkologist, Andreas Tietze, the superb sinologist/sociologist, Wolfram Eberhard, and the renowned theatrical producer and opera director, Carl Ebert.

Long after my student days, I listened to Paul Hindemith's music being performed by the Cleveland Orchestra. By the time the children of my children had reached young adulthood, I had spent many a Saturday morning at the Atat��rk Arts Complex in the Taksim Square of Istanbul where the music was always god, as was the company of my Turkish friends, and the ticket price always low thanks to municipal subsidies. I have only recently learned that the original concert hall was designed by Clemens Holzmeister in collaboration with the very same Carl Ebert whose theatrical and operatic productions I had so enjoyed in Los Angeles back in the 1950s (Fig. 1).

In the late 1950s, I did not reflect on the possibility that the optical, solar, and radio telescopes I was helping design would be used over the coming decades by astronomers who, like me, had been lucky to escape from the Nazis. Nor could I have known in the early 1940s that, in Istanbul, only one night's voyage away across the Black Sea from Feodossiya, there were young displaced persons like me. But, unlike me, they were living fairly normal, happy lives surrounded by family, and each was receiving a good education. They were under the protection of the "barbarian" Turks while I was in Feodossiya and elsewhere often just trying to be on the "right side" of the battle between armies of the "proletariat" Russians and those of the "civilized" Germans. It was the Germans that I feared most.

I was keenly listening to the news coming in from Europe when the Soviet Union cut off ground traffic in an attempt to starve the Allies out of Berlin during the first stand-off of the Cold War (1948), but I did not make the connection that Berlin's mayor at that time was Ernst Reuter, whose life had been saved by a Turkish invitation to help set up their universities and city planning organizations.

As an amateur sculptor, I enjoyed seeing a Rudolf Belling sculpture every time I went to give guest lectures at the Ma��ka campus of Istanbul Technical University. The older I become, the more X-rayed, CTed, and MRIed I get. So when that happens, I think of physicist, Friedrich Dessauer, an early X-ray researcher, and Carl Weissglass, his engineer. I also think of radiologist Max Sgalitzer, a victim of excessive exposure over a lifetime of pioneering this wonderful diagnostic medium, and his Istanbul wing-mates, Walter Reininger, the engineer and inventor of an early dosimeter, and Margarethe Reininger, an early radiological nurse, one of a husband-and-wife team.

As I researched material for this book, I came to the conclusion that Erica Bruck's research publications and laboratory manuals/standards have influenced the heath care I received in California, Wisconsin, and Ohio. The same is true for my children and grandchildren who are scattered around the globe. Also, with age, many more of my friends have to fight off cancer, a dreadful disease indeed. Each time the word comes up, I think that if a cure is ever found, zoologist Curt Kosswig will have played a role in that outcome.

Ignorant as I am of immunology, I cannot help but wonder whether the work in this field by immunologist Felix Haurowitz influenced the use of Bacillus Calmett-Guerin vaccine (BCG), an anti-tubercular agent, widely used to prevent reoccurrence of bladder cancer. As I followed the controversy surrounding the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum's exhibit entitled "The Crossroads: The End of World War II, the Atomic Bomb and the Cold War" and the uproar in 1995 regarding the refurbishment of the warrior plane Enola Gay, all to mark the 50th anniversary of the end of the war, I had no idea the museum's director at the time was Dr. Martin Harwit, the son of Felix Haurowitz. And to my great, although pleasant, surprise, while in the final stages of getting the manuscript ready for the publisher, one of its guest copy editors, Jean Hull Herman who spent sixteen years as editor-in-chief of M��BIUS The Poetry Magazine was shocked to learn that Erich Auerbach, one of her literary idols, wrote his classic account of the genesis of the novel, Mimesis, while in Turkey.


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