‘A completely new life was beckoning’
Photo by Kris Snibbe
Gerald Holton, the Mallinckrodt Professor of Physics and Professor of the History of Science Emeritus, was born in Berlin in 1922.
He spent his boyhood in Vienna playing piano, reading Westerns, watching American films, and studying Latin, Greek, and the classics of Western literature in a rigorous Gymnasium. The turmoil of the Nazi era soon overturned his life and that of his Jewish family. In March 1938, as a boy of 16 during Anschluss, Holton watched from a balcony as Hitler passed by in an open car and German troops were feted by joyous mobs of Austrians...