Judah Magnes Outlines Hebrew University Expansion

November 5, 1933

In a speech marking the opening of the 1933-34 academic year, Judah Magnes, the President of the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, outlined a plan for the University’s expansion. It included the creation of fourteen new positions for Jewish professors from Germany. They lost their positions as part of Nazi policy to dehumanize Jews in German society.

In his address Magnes stated, “It has been a heartening act of human fellowship and an historic expression of the unity of science and learning for universities and committees in various countries of Europe and in America to have given hospitality and the opportunity for further work to a considerable number of discharged and resigned scholars. It will not, I am sure, be regarded as invidious if I say that, no matter how sincerely these savants are welcomed elsewhere, it is not possible to want them so genuinely, to need them so deeply, and to wish to keep them so sincerely as here in Jerusalem, among their brothers.”

$60,000 was raised by the university from the Joint Distribution Committee, the American Friends of the Hebrew University, the American Jewish Physicians Committee and the American Academic Assistance Committee to provide for the German professors.

The photo shows Dr. Magnes giving his speech at Hebrew University on November 5, 1933. Seated on either side of Magnes from left to right are: Max Schloessinger, Hayim Bialik, Menachem Ussishkin and Shmaryahu Levin.

(Photo from Goren, Arthur, Dissenter in Zion: From the Writings of Judah L. Magnes, Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1982, p. 306)