Those Who Came

Josef Albers, Courtesy of Western Regional Archives.Fig. 1

Fritz J. Hansgirg, Courtesy of Western Regional Archives.Fig. 2

Peter Bergmann, Courtesy of ISGRG.Fig. 3

Heinrich Jalowetz, Courtesy of Western Regional Archives.Fig. 4

 

 

Black Mountain College was home to many individuals whose lives were drastically changed by both the war, as well as the conditions leading up to the war. Many of those attending and employed by the college had been displaced from their original countries; they were also met with varying different receptions upon their arrival in the United States. Despite these experiences, the refugees, parolees from United States internment camps, and the scholars who lost work due to rising fascism in Europe all found residence at Black Mountain College to resume their careers and personal lives.

This page is a profile on four different individuals: Josef Albers, Peter Bergmann, Fritz J. Hansgirg, and Heinrich Jalowetz. Each was a professor at Black Mountain College who had lost their previous homes, careers, or freedom due to the war. Samuel Brown, a previous student at Black Mountain College, remarked in an interview that each one of his professors but two had previously been European refugees.[1]

Josef Albers had taught at the Bauhaus art institution in Dessau Germany between 1922 and 1933, until the institution was closed by the rising Nazi regime. He was able to find employment at Black Mountain College and escape the fascist state.[2] Fritz J. Hansgirg was an Austrian electrochemist who was employed by the Japanese Magnesium Company until the war began. In an attempt to escape the rising pro-axis sentiment in Japan (in what is now the Dongbei region of China), Hansgirg left for the United States—but was soon detained as an enemy alien and placed in a United States internment camp.[3] Peter Bergmann was a Jewish man whose family had escaped to Czechoslovakia prior to the war. He studied under and worked directly with Einstein, and even helped formulate the theory behind general relativity prior to his employment at Black Mountain College.[4] Heinrich Jalowetz was an orchestral conductor in opera houses in Austria, Germany, and Czechoslovakia for thirty years until he was forced to leave Europe due to the turbulent political conditions. He was a refugee to the United States and found employment as the music instructor at Black Mountain College.[5]

Below is a map of the lives and careers of Albers, Hansgirg, Bergmann, and Jalowetz prior to their employment at Black Mountain College.


[1]  Samuel Brown, Interview. Black Mountain College Research Papers, Box 29, Western Regional Archives, State Archives of North Carolina.

[2]  Josef Albers Dossier, Black Mountain College 1933-1956 Faculty Files, Box 1, Western Regional Archives, State Archives of North Carolina.

[3] Maria and Fritz J Hansgirg Dossier, Black Mountain College 1933-1956 Faculty Files, Box 3, Western Regional Archives, State Archives of North Carolina.

[4]  Peter Bergmann Dossier, Black Mountain College 1933-1956 Faculty Files, Box 1, Western Regional Archives, State Archives of North Carolina.

[5] Heinrich Jalowetz Dossier, Black Mountain College 1933-1956 Faculty Files, Box 3, Western Regional Archives, State Archives of North Carolina.

Fig. 1 Albers in a Radish Patch, Photographer H. Dearstyne. Duberman Collection. Western Regional Archives, State Archives of North Carolina.

Fig. 2  Maria and Fritz J Hansgirg, Black Mountain College 1933-1956 Faculty Files. Box 3. Western Regional Archives, State Archives of North Carolina.

Fig. 3 Beverly Berger, “Peter Bergmann.” The International Society on General Relativity and Gravitation. (Accessed April 17, 2017).

Fig. 4 Heinrich Jalowetz Dossier, Black Mountain College faculty, 1939-1946. Black Mountain College Research Project, Box 8, Western Regional Archives, State Archives of North Carolina.

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