Page 26 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 47

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JEWISH BOOK ANNUAL
But HUC was quite involuntarily moved into the controversy
because o f various opinions and facts which surfaced. A dis­
concerting opinion — more like an attack — that confronted
HUC was that it must have known that the Guttmanns were
involved, o r at least that many individual professors, students,
and/or adm inistrators must have known. But HUC has yet to
find anyone who had any knowledge that the books were in
the hands o f the Guttmanns. Fu rthermo re , in the period
around the sale, when the Guttmanns were logical candidates
to be the consignors, President Gottschalk had asked them point
blank if they were, and they denied i t .13
It is a fact that Dr. Guttmann had been one o f about a dozen
scholars tha t HUC rescued from Nazi Europe in the late 30s
and early 40s. The difficult question was whether there was
any relationship between HUC’s rescue o f Guttmann and his
family and the rescue o f the Hochschule’s books and m anu ­
scripts. T h a t question was answered by Dr. Gottschalk as fol­
lows: “Th e Hebrew Union College, in 1939, invited A lexander
Guttmann . . . to teach at the College. Dr. G u ttm ann ’s life and
that o f his family were saved because this invitation led to non ­
quota visas to the United States. Incidentally, this invitation and
the resulting visa gave Guttmann the opportunity to smuggle
the books and manuscripts out o f Germany. No invitation, no
visa, no smuggling.” Dr. Gottschalk went on to write, “Th e He­
brew Union College lent Dr. Gu ttm ann $1400 to ship his
‘library’ and personal possessions to the United States and then
forgave the loan.”14 G u ttm ann ’s release to the press contained
none o f this. As I learned from repo r te rs’ questions, they in­
ferred from the material given them that Gu ttm ann merely em­
igrated from Germany (not a word about HUC ’s invitation that
got him the visa) and b rough t the books out and then began
to teach at HUC .15
It seemed not enough to be silent about HUC’s life-saving
role; the Guttmanns and /or their lawyers insinuated negative
ideas about the College into the minds o f the reporters. By
indicating that one reason for selling the collection was to raise
13. Alfred Gottschalk, “The Guttmann Papers” (Letter to the Editor),
TheJewish
Post and Opinion,
November 13, 1985, p. 15.
14. Ibid.
15. For example, Robert M. Elkins, “Manuscript Trial Ordered by Court,”
Cin­
cinnati Enquirer,
August 28, 1984, pp. B-l-2.