Displaced Scholars

I – The Academic Assistance Council

The Academic Assistance Council was one of the largest organizations of its kind, placing approx. 2000 scholars from its inception through the mid-years of WWII.

AAC, established on May 24, 1933 by founders:

(Lord) William Henry Beveridge (1879-1963), economist and social reformer; Director of the London School of Economics and Political Science [LSE] from 1919-1937

Leo Szilard (1898-19640, born in Budapest, Hungary. Studied engineering and physics; partner with Albert Einstein since 1921. Immigrated to Britain 1933, immigrated to the U.S. in 1938 to teach at Columbia Univ. in NYC. Joined the team of Enrico Fermi which was transferred by the MED (Manhattan Project) to Chicago.

(Lord) Ernest Rutherford  (1871-1937) Born in New Zealand; studied at Cambridge; became the Chair of physics at McGill Univ., Montreal in 1898; Chair of physics at Manchester Univ. in 1907; Director of the Cavendish Lab in Cambridge in 1919 http://www.rutherford.org.nz/biography.htm

a.k.a. The Society for the Protection of Science and Learning http://www.rsl.ox.ac.uk/dept/scwmss/wmss/online/modern/spsl/spsl.html

Frederick Lindemann, though not a founder, significantly recruited Leo Szilard to leave Vienna and come to London, and was instrumental in funding and recruiting scientists to the Clarendon Lab at Oxford, which he founded. Frederick Alexander Lindemann (1886-1957) born in Baden-Baden, Germany to an aristocratic family; became Churchill’s Science Advisor; 1941 became Lord Cherwell, served Parliament and Churchill’s cabinet; established the post-war Atomic Energy Authority and directed it until his death.


ICI, Imperial Chemicals Industries financed the Academic Assistance Council, according to Edward Teller who was recruited by Lindemann and Beveridge: [page 88 of Edward Teller “Memoirs”] “By April 1933, the British had begun a rescue operation on behalf of the scientists in Germany whose ethnicity or politics placed them at risk. Called the Academic Assistance Council, it was financed by Imperial Chemical Industries (I.C.I.), the British analog of I.G. Farben. Every scientist at risk who had ability, whether the British needed him or not, was being welcomed in Britain. Indeed, the British went further and sought out the people who were likely to be forced to leave. The purpose was to get us out”…

ICI was created in 1927 by the merger of four British chemical companies


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