Ark of Civilization: Refugee Scholars and Oxford University, 1930-1945

ISBN : 9780199687558

Sally Crawford; Katharina Ulmschneider; Jas Elsner
416 Pages
156 x 234 mm
Pub date
Mar 2017
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In the opening decades of the twentieth century, Germany was at the cutting edge of arts and humanities scholarship across Europe. However, when many of its key thinkers - leaders in their fields in classics, philosophy, archaeology, art history, and oriental studies - were forced to flee to England following the rise of the Nazi regime, Germany's loss became Oxford's gain. From the mid-1930s onwards, Oxford could accurately be described as an 'ark of knowledge' of western civilization: a place where ideas about art, culture, and history could be rescued, developed, and disseminated freely. The city's history as a place of refuge for scientists who were victims of Nazi oppression is by now familiar, but the story of its role as a sanctuary for cultural heritage, though no less important, has received much less attention. In this volume, the impact of Oxford as a shelter, a meeting point, and a centre of thought in the arts and humanities specifically is addressed, by looking both at those who sought refuge there and stayed, and those whose lives intersected with Oxford at crucial moments before and during the war. Although not every great refugee can be discussed in detail in this volume, this study offers an introduction to the unique conjunction of place, people, and time that shaped Western intellectual history, exploring how the meeting of minds enabled by libraries, publishing houses, and the University allowed Oxford's refugee scholars to have a profound and lasting impact on the development of British culture. Drawing on oral histories, previously unpublished letters, and archives, it illuminates and interweaves both personal and global histories to demonstrate how, for a short period during the war, Oxford brought together some of the greatest minds of the age to become the custodians of a great European civilization.


I. General
1 Jas Elsner: Pfeiffer, Fraenkel, and Refugee Scholarship in Oxford during and after the Second World War
2 Anthony Grenville: Academic Refugees in Wartime Oxford: An Overview
3 Laurence Brockliss: Welcoming and Supporting Refugee Scholars: The Role of Oxford's Colleges
4 Philip Davies: Out of the Archives: Oxford, the SPSL, and Literae Humaniores Refugee Scholars
5 Harold Mytum: Networks of Association: The Social and Intellectual Lives of Academics in Manx Internment Camps During World War II

II. Archaeology and Philology
6 Katharina Lorenz: Otto Brendel and the Classical Archaeologists at Oxford
7 Sally Crawford and Katharina Ulmschneider: 'The Bund' and the Oxford Philological Society, 1939-45
8 David Gill: Brian Shefton: Classical Archaeologist
9 Katharina Ulmschneider and Sally Crawford: The 'Cheshire Cat': Paul Jacobsthal's Journey from Marburg to Oxford
10 Christopher Stray: Eduard Fraenkel (1888-1970)

III. History
11 Oswyn Murray: Arnaldo Momigliano on Peace and Liberty (1940)
12 Charmian Brinson and Marian Malet: Rudolf Olden in Oxford
13 Kate Lowe: 'I shall snuffle about and make relations': Nicolai Rubinstein, the Historian of Renaissance Florence, in Oxford during the War
14 Conrad Leyser: Karl Leyser, Oxford, and Wartime

IV. Art and Music
15 Fran Lloyd: Becoming Artists: Ernst Eisenmayer, Kurt Weiler, and Refugee Support Networks in Wartime Oxford
16 Ann Rau Dawes: Milein Cosman at the Slade
17 Rachel Dickson: From Onchan to Oxford - An Emigre Journey: Heinz Edgar Kiewe
18 Alexander Cullen: Bringing Asia to Oxford: Dr William Cohn and the Museum of Eastern Art
19 Bojan Bujic: Shipwrecked on the Island of the Blessed: Egon Wellesz's New Beginnings in Wartime Oxford

V. Philosophy and Theology
20 Anna Teicher: Jacob Leib Teicher between Florence and Cambridge: Arabic and Jewish Philosophy in Wartime Oxford
21 Graham Whitaker: Philosophy in Exile: The Contrasting Experiences of Ernst Cassirer and Raymond Klibansky in Oxford

VI. Publishing
22 Anna Nyburg: German-speaking Refugee Publishers in Oxford: Phaidon, Bruno Cassirer, and the Oxford University Press
23 Rahel Feilchenfeldt: A New Start - The English Publishing House Bruno Cassirer Oxford (1940-90). A Bibliographical Examination

About the author: 

Sally Crawford is a Senior Research Fellow at the Institute of Archaeology in Oxford, where her research into the archives in collaboration with co-editor Katharina Ulmschneider has led to myriad exhibitions, lectures, and publications on the history of archaeology. She is a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries, Co-Director of the Historic Environment Image Resource, co-founder and Chair of the Society for the Study of Childhood in the Past, and monograph co-editor of the series Studies in Early Medicine.; Katharina Ulmschneider is a Senior Research Fellow at Worcester College, Oxford, a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries, and an Associate Member of the Society of Archivists. She has published widely on medieval archaeology and economy and also on the impact of metal detecting in archaeology, and her co-edited book Markets in Early Medieval Europe won the British Archaeology Book award in 2004. Since 2013 she has been Co-Director of the Historic Environment Image Resource alongside Sally Crawford.; Jas Elsner is the Humfry Payne Senior Research Fellow in Classical Archaeology and Art at Corpus Christi College, Oxford, as well as Visiting Professor of Art and Religion at the University of Chicago. He is widely published and serves as the joint editor of two monograph series, Greek Culture in the Roman World and Ashgate Studies in Pilgrimage. Since 2013 he has been Principal Investigator on the Empires of Faith Project between the British Museum and Wolfson College, Oxford, which explores the visual cultures of world religions in the Mediterranean and Asia between 200 and 800 AD and will form the basis of a forthcoming monograph series from Oxford University Press.

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