New School Creates University in Exile for Jewish Intellectuals


United States

Education Media & Culture Migrations

Not long after Adolf Hitler came to power in Germany in 1933, New York City’s New School for Social Research, a progressive free university founded in 1919, created the University in Exile. With the support of the Rockefeller Foundation, this graduate division sponsored visas, voyages, and jobs for more than 180 persecuted intellectuals and their families, many of whom continued to make major contributions to their fields once in the United States. The University in Exile represented a unique non-governmental effort to address the violence of the Nazi regime in the context of the United States’ refusal to allow mass Jewish asylum. In 1939 alone, more than 309,000 German, Austrian, and Czech Jews applied for admission. Of these, only 27,000 were allowed entry due to the strict quota system established in 1924 (see also: The Quota System, 1924).