Defending the Plan

Letter to AAJR Fellows about Program.JPG

Memo from Alexander Marx and Salo Baron to AAJR Fellows soliciting support for the Refugee Research Fellowship Program. Image courtesy of the American Jewish Historical Society.

After the AAJR Executive Committee approved the proposal for the fellowship program, Marx and Baron sent out a letter to Academy fellows describing the committee’s decision. In the letter, Marx and Baron sought to answer two important questions.

First, they explained why they believed the cause of Jewish scholarship was worth protecting. They wrote that the lives and livelihoods of Jewish scholars in Germany were at risk because of growing “race-hatred” encouraged by the Nazi regime. In Marx and Baron’s opinion, preserving and promoting the work of German Jewish scholars was important not only for the future of German Jewry but also for the future of American Jewry. Such work, they wrote, advanced “the cause of creative scholarship in the field of Jewish studies” in general—a boon to Jewish academics on both sides of the Atlantic.

Second, the letter clarified why Marx and Baron believed that AAJR was the institution best suited to take up the cause. Marx and Baron pointed out that AAJR was one of the few Jewish institutions that was open to members from all stripes of Jewish practice—Orthodox, Conservative, and Reform—as well as to members who were affiliated with a range of educational institutions. This inclusivity would allow AAJR to offer fellowships to the widest group of German Jewish scholars.

Defending the Plan