Letter of Recommendation for Siegfried Landshut, New York, March 5, 1936

Source Description

Letters of recommendation combine the personal micro-level with the macro-level of social habits and circumstances in a given time period. This two-page letter of March 5, 1936 for the sociologist Siegfried Landshut which his former supervisor Eduard Heimann sent from his New York exile to [Hans] Kohn in order to help Landshut get a position at the Hebrew University clearly illustrates this combination. The letter opens with a short introduction and then turns to Siegfried Landshut’s curriculum vitae. Landshut, born in 1897 in Strasbourg in Alsace, began his studies after his voluntary service in the First World War. After briefly describing Landshut’s life and studies, Heimann proceeds to explain his relation with Landshut, who had been Eduard Heimann's research assistant at the sociological faculty at Hamburg University since 1927. The letter also describes how Landshut lost his employment at Hamburg University and then embarked on an international odyssey with his family that, according to Heimann, ended in Cairo in disastrous circumstances. In Siegfried Landshut's case, this letter helped significantly in getting him temporary employment at the Hebrew University. In a very personal and immediate way it reveals not only how National Socialism interrupted careers and lives at German universities, but it also sheds light on the networks within which letters of recommendation were written, which migration paths Jews followed, how being Jewish was relevant in professional contexts and the argumentative space friendship and a sense of responsibility occupy in such letters.
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Recommended Citation

Letter of Recommendation for Siegfried Landshut, New York, March 5, 1936 (translated by Insa Kummer), edited in: Key Documents of German-Jewish History, <https://jewish-history-online.net/source/jgo:source-199> [November 19, 2019].