Page 65 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 54

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ing opinion—more like an attack—that confronted HUC was that
it must have known that the Guttmanns were involved, or at least
that many individual professors, students, and/or administrators
must have known. But HUC has yet to find anyone who had any
knowledge that the books were in the hands of the Guttmanns.
Furthermore, in the period around the sale, when the Guttmanns
were logical candidates to be consignors, President Gottschalk had
asked them point blank if they were and they denied it .13
It is a fact that Dr. Guttmann had been one of about a dozen
scholars that HUC rescued from Nazi Europe in the late 30s and
early 40s. The difficult question was whether there was a relation­
ship between HUC’s rescue of Guttmann and his family and the
rescue of the Hochschule books and manuscripts. That question
was answered by Dr. Gottschalk as follows: “The Hebrew Union
College, in 1939, invited Alexander Guttmann . . . to teach at the
College. Dr. Guttmann’s life and that of his family were saved be­
cause this invitation led to non-quota visas to the United States. In­
cidentally, this invitation and the resulting visa gave Guttmann the
opportunity to smuggle the books and manuscripts out of Germa­
ny. No invitation, no visa, no smuggling.” Dr. Gottschalk went on
to write, “The Hebrew Union College lent Dr. Guttmann $1400
to ship his ‘library’ and personal possessions to the United States
and then forgave the loan.”14Guttmann’s release to the press con­
tained none of this. As I learned from reporters’ questions, they in­
ferred from the material given them that Guttmann merely
emigrated from Germany (not a word about HUC’s invitation that
got him the visa) and brought 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 of the reporters. By indicating
The Guttmann Affair
13. Alfred Gottschalk, “The Guttmann Papers” (Letter to the Editor),
The
Jewish Post and Opinion
, November 13, 1985, p. 15.
14. Ibid.
15. For example, Robert M. Elkins, “Manuscript Trial Ordered by Court,”
Cincinnati Enquirer,
August 28, 1984, pp. B - l-2 .