19 Dec

Following on from the story of Heinz Thannhauser, we have traced the histories of another three German Jewish refugee pupils from Buxton College. As in the case of Heinz, they  subsequently ended up in the United States and the US Army, unlike Heinz they survived the war and went on to have long and illustrious careers ,  making very valuable contribution to American academic and community  life. 

From the story of Heinz, it will be recalled that the Headmaster of Buxton College,  Arthur Denis Clarkson Mason was being very accommodating to German refugee schoolboys, in some cases bearing the costs from his own pocket and irritating the local education authority in the process. Since writing about Heinz, Arthur’s biography has got a little more filled out. He matriculated at Trinity Hall, Cambridge in 1908 for a Mathematics Tripos, graduating in 1911. There is mention of an Arthur Denison Clarkson Mason, being commissioned in the Cheshire Regiment in 1916, and then after the was he appears as a teacher the Herbert Strutt Grammar School in Belper, Derbyshire before moving to Buxton College as Headmaster. We have not yet been able to find whether Arthur had any particular connections with Germany which led to him to offer such generous assistance, or whether he  was just acting out of pure human decency and the horror about what was happening in Germany at the time. Unfortunately, Arthur was taken ill and died in 1944, so he would never have known of the success of some of his German proteges. 

My father, Alan Roberts who is a graduate of Imperial College uncovered the name of an E G Kristeller, who had gone from Buxton College to Imperial College, London on an open scholarship in 1938/39. The name is not particularly Buxtonians, so it seemed worth further research as to whether EG Kristeller was one of the German Jewish refugees and indeed it turned out he was. He was actually quite easy to trace, since I found an obituary for George Ernest Kristeller, who died in Springfield, Vermont , USA on 5 August 2016 and it turned out to be him. (1)

George was born in Berlin, Germany on 8 March 1921 with the given name of Moritz Siegesmund Ernst George Kristeller, he was the only son of a Berlin physician Leo Kristeller and Ada Bertrand Kristeller. In around 1933/34 George’s parents sent the 12-year-old George to be educated at Buxton College in Derbyshire. This was around the time the Nazis began to severely restrict the numbers of Jewish pupils in German state schools. At Buxton College, the Headmaster Arthur Denis Clarkson Mason, was proving very helpful to refugees from Nazi Germany. At one time there were as many as thirty refugee boys at the school, which raised some concern for the local education authority. George apparently made a final visit back to Berlin at 15 years of age to visit the 1936 Olympic Games. Memorably , he was there for Jesse Owens Gold Medal victory in front of the appalled eyes of Adolf Hitler and the Nazi hierarchy. In 1939 George went to London’s Imperial College on a scholarship and in 1942, he left England for the United States to join his parents who had in the meantime emigrated from Germany. George joined the US Army to gain his citizenship, and served during the war years at the Pentagon, before serving the HQ of the American Forces occupying Japan  between 1945-1950. After he enrolled at Harvard Business School, worked in many business positions, and finished up working for the World Bank in Djakarta, Indonesia. George had four children and three grandchildren and seems to have made a positive contribution to his local community and to American life in general. 

I am sure Arthur Mason would be very happy with the way things turned out. I think we would have been equally happy with Hans Leo Kleyff. He later anglicized his name to John Leonard Clive. Hans was also born in Berlin, on 25 September 1924 to German-Jewish parents, Bruno Kleyff and Rosa Rosen, he attended the Französisches Gymnasium ( the Lycée Francaise) Berlin, before moving to England in around 1937 It seems that John’s father, who had served in the German Army in World War 1 and gained the Iron Cross, had stayed on in Nazi Germany for as long as possible, believing that nothing would happen to him on account of his service. Highly assimilated into German Society, many saw themselves not as German Jews, but rather as Jewish Germans and did not initially believe the Nazis would go as far they did. John’s father, did, however, take the precaution of sending John ahead of the family to study in England as a private boarder at Buxton College in Derbyshire.

In 1940, apparently with the assistance of his father’s brother who was already settled in England, the whole family emigrated with his family to the United States, where John attended the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill between1940 and 1943. After his graduation he entered the army and joined the Office of Strategic Services (“OSS.”), which he served between 1943 and 1946. 

The OSS created in June 1942 was given a broad mandate to assemble and analyze war related information as well as carrying out special services. Although, it may be remembered more for “cloak and dagger” work and drops behind enemy lines, one of the OSS’s largest and most effective branches was the Research & Analysis (R&A) branch which researched and collected vital information from across Europe. The R & A branch was under the direction of the distinguished Harvard University diplomatic historian William Lange. Lange employed a staff of young scholars and distinguished historians to analyze the material from Western Europe. This intellectual hot house, included Felix Gilbert ( a German born diplomatic historian) , Carl Schorske ( who specialized in German and Austrian history) , H Stuart Hughes ( fluent in both French and German whose thesis was “The Crisis in the French Imperial Economy 1810-1812) and Franklin Ford ( who specialized in modern Germany and 17th Century France) . They were as  British Historian Simon Schama remarked “ a group that deployed their analytical and critical faculties for an incontrovertible political good”. After the war, this coterie of scholars was to have a notable effect on American academic life and on foreign policy. 

In 1952 Clive received his Ph.D. from Harvard University and began teaching there. He received a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1957. That year he published “Scotch Reviewers: The Edinburgh Review, 1802–1815.” In 1960 John Clive moved to the University of Chicago, where he was an assistant and associate professor until returning to Harvard in 1965. He would remain at Harvard for the rest of his career ultimately becoming the William R. Kenan Jr. Professor of History and Literature in 1979. 

In the late 1960s , he was Chairman of History and Literature at Harvard, and successfully kept faculty and students together, at least with some degree of harmony in those very troubled times on American University campuses. Clive was apparently a bit of a character, and his lecturing style is best described as idiosyncratic, he used to deliver lectures without looking at the students while staring at the ceiling. His last lecture was apparently accompanied by a choir of fellow masters singing Land of Hope & Glory. John won the National Book Award for Biography and History in 1974 for “Thomas Babington Macaulay: The Shaping of the Historian” and was elected a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences as well. In 1989 . 

Simon Schama met John Clive having read the book, he said he expected him to be an elegantly detached Boston Brahmin figure and gives an engaging description of their first meeting.

 “Two months later , John knocked ( or rather pounded) on the doors of my rooms in Brasenose, tripped over the door sill and fell spread-eagled on my couch. After we had exchanged flustered apologies, it took about five minutes and a cup of tea ( which John drank as if it were a famous vintage, inquiring after brand, store of origin, length of brew) for me to see how spectacularly wrong I had been".

 John Leonard Clive died of a heart attack on January 7, 1990, in Cambridge, Massachusetts. An obituary in the Massachusetts Historical Journal, summed him up as

 “John Clive was a lively and witty companion whose presence was the making of an evening. He had a genius for friendships and sedulously cultivated every one of them on three continents. He loved England and the English and would have been grateful that eloquent tributes to him appeared in two of the London newspapers” John  was posthumously awarded the National Book Critics Circle Award for Criticism for his final book “Not by Fact Alone: Essays on the Writing and Reading of History.” 

Hans Bernard Richard Heymann Jr  was born on 2 February 1920 , in Berlin Germany. His father Richard was a successful insurance and mortgage bank executive . Hans Heymann senior was founder of Hausleben-Versicgherung Insurance co , with its administrative HQ based in the Mitte District of Berlin. Hans was also educated at the Lycée Francaise up to 1932s, before moving to the Hogere Burger School in the Hague, Netherlands. His biography then records him as being educated at Buxton College between 1933-1936. His family emigrated to the United States during the Nazi Regime, where his father was to become successful in the US insurance business. Hans joined the family in the USA and attended Rutgers University ( NJ)  between 1939.-43, graduating in economics. He enlisted in the US Army on 15 October 1942 and served in the European Theatre where apparently his linguistic skills made him a natural candidate for intelligence work. 

After the War Hans joined the RAND Corporation as an analyst. RAND was created after individuals in the War Department, the Office of Scientific Research and Development, and industry began to discuss the need for a private organization to connect operational research with research and development decisions. General Henry H. "Hap" Arnold and Douglas executive Franklin R. Collbohm were deeply worried that ongoing demobilization meant the federal government was about to lose direct control of the vast amount of American scientific brainpower assembled to fight World War II. With Arnold's blessing, Collbohm quickly pulled in additional people from Douglas to help, and they sketched  out a general outline coming up with the name Project RAND, from "research and development". On 1 October 1945, Project RAND was set up under special contract to the Douglas Aircraft Company and began operations in December 1945. On 14 May 1948, RAND was incorporated as a nonprofit corporation under the laws of the State of California and on 1 November 1948, the Project RAND contract was formally transferred from the Douglas Aircraft Company to the RAND Corporation. Since the 1950s, RAND research has helped inform United States policy decisions on a wide variety of issues, including the space race, the U.S.-Soviet nuclear arms confrontation, the creation of the Great Society social welfare programs, the digital revolution, and national health care.  During this period Hans produced a number of notable papers on the Soviet Economy. 

While working for the US Government, Hans was involved in the production of the Pentagon Papers. Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara created the Vietnam Study Task Force on June 17, 1967, for the purpose of writing an "encyclopedic history of the Vietnam War" McNamara claimed that he wanted to leave a written record for historians, to prevent policy errors in future administrations, although Les Gelb, then director of Policy Planning at the Pentagon, has said that the notion that they were commissioned as a "cautionary tale" is a motive that McNamara only used in retrospect. McNamara told others, such as Dean Rusk, that he only asked for a collection of documents rather than the studies he received. McNamara neglected to inform either President Lyndon Johnson or Secretary of State Dean Rusk about the study. Instead of using existing Defense Department historians, McNamara assigned his close aide and Assistant Secretary of Defense John T. McNaughton to collect the papers,  after McNaughton died in a plane crash in June 1967, the project continued under the direction of Defense Department official Leslie H. Gelb. Thirty-six analysts—half of them active-duty military officers, the rest academics and civilian federal employees—worked on the study /( they included Hans Heyman Jr) . The analysts largely used existing files in the Office of the Secretary of Defense. To keep the study secret from others, including National Security Advisor Walt W. Rostow, they conducted no interviews or consultations with the armed forces, with the White House, or with other federal agencies. Leslie Gelb said of Heymann: 

“I was always trying to steal smart people who knew some things, he had no axes to grind. He was not a grand ideologue. . . . He wasn’t a guy who did somersaults or performed controversial feats. He was a real pro, the kind you wish you had more of today.” 

Hans later served as a senior economics officer with the CIA.  and as a foreign Policy adviser to the Ford, Carter and Reagan  administrations, advising on the Vietnam War and the Soviet Union.

Hans died Jan. 10  2012 at Sibley Memorial Hospital in Washington at the age of 91. He was survived by  his wife of 69 years, Barbara Mezey Heymann, who died shortly afterwards, four children, eight grandchildren and five great-grandchildren. 

There is one sad final detail to the story. Hans Heymann Senior had been a passionate art collector, especially of the German Expressionist Max Pechstein. His brother, Walther Heymann had written a monograph on works as a memorial to his brother. When the Heymanns fled Germany they had to leave the art collection behind.  At the end of 1941, the regime confiscated all the family’s belongings and auctioned them off. The painstakingly assembled collection of 41 of Pechstein's paintings and 120 drawings were regarded by the Nazis as  “degenerate art” and  were left out of the sale. The Reich Chamber of Fine Arts, a Nazi-era state agency focused on promoting the visual arts, ordered that the Pechstein paintings be recycled. The paint was to be destroyed while the frames and canvases were to be distributed for reuse among “students in need.” At the last minute, though, the paintings were spared: In early 1942, a cultural affairs department of Hitler’s NSDAP party demanded the artworks for “scientific purposes.” It is unclear what happened to them after that. After the war, Hans Heyman Senior tried to search for his stolen collection, but to no avail. On his retirement Hans Junior,  with great support from his wife Barbara continued the search, after his death the search for the collection was continued by his daughter Kendra , but it remains missing to this day.

Clearly George, John  and Hans were very bright boys and would have succeeded in any  field, but it is nice to think that the help and support of a very decent British Headmaster and my old school might have contributed to that by providing a safe haven in troubled times. Unfortunately Mr Mason did not live long enough to see how well his boys turned out. 


(1)Valley News - George Kristeller (vnews.com) 

(2) Hans Heymann Jr., who was a key contributor to the Pentagon papers, dies at 91 - The Washington Post 

(3) if you want to know more about the Art Collection- use Google Translate

Max Pechstein: The Bridge (sueddeutsche.de) 

* The email will not be published on the website.