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Reinhard Selten, a Nobel prize-winner with a life story similar to my father's...

September 4th, 2016 in the NY Times "Reinhard Selten, Won Nobel in Economics"

Reading this resonated with me, thinking about my father... Thankfully he was able to be an apprentice, albeit, undercover. His employer took a risk hiring him. His menial work came later, in the forced labor camp. He also paid very close attention to political matters, while listening to BBC, "illegally" during the war. He remained a BBC listener and a public radio supporter, making fresh bread and sharing with it with fellow volunteers during the fund raising drives, when he helped with the phones at WNYC. He maintained strong political opinions, emphasizing to us how important it is to have civil liberties and independence from government.

From the article:

Reinhard Selten, who was expelled from school in Germany when he was 14 because he was half Jewish, but returned after World War ll to study mathematics and became the country's first and only Nobel winner for economics, died on August 23 in Poznan, Poland. He was 85.
Reinhard Justus Reginald Selten was born on October 5, 1930, in what was then Breslau, Germany, and is now Wroclaw, Poland. His father, Adolfo Selten, a blind bookseller with a third grade education, was Jewish. His mother, the former Kathe Luther, was Protestant.

The couple decided that they would let Reinhard decide on a religion for himself, but as the Nazis began imposing laws against Jews, they had him baptized. His father died in 1942.

In his official Nobel biography, Professor Selten recalled that despite the baptism he was not only dismissed from high school as a son of a Jew but was also denied the opportunity to learn a trade. He was relegated to menial labor.

"My situation as a member of an officially despised minority forced me to pay close attention to political matters very early in my life," he wrote. "Moreover, I found myself in opposition to the political views shared by the vast majority of the population.

"I had to learn to trust my own judgment rather than official propaganda or public opinion. This was a strong influence on my intellectual development. My continuing interest in politics and public affairs was one of the reasons why I began to be interested in economics in my last high school years."

Hitler's Jewish Soldiers

Having recently read Bryan Mark Rigg's groundbreaking book on this topic, I was very impressed by Larry Price's documentary "Hitler's Jewish Soldiers," which also features Rigg as a speaker. It is great to see Mischlinge in similar situations to that of my father portrayed in such a thoughtful way. 

The ironic and fearful predicament of Mischlinge is well presented. Expertly done! I highly recommend this documentary. See an interview with the filmmaker here: