Legacies From a Holocaust of the Mind


  •  Joanna Diane Caytas    

Abstract

In the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, Hitler and Stalin devised to partition Poland for all future. Toward their goal of enslaving the nation, the Nazis systematically exterminated the Polish intelligentsia and prohibited tertiary education to create a nation of serfs. Still, the Soviets and their lieutenants continued a policy with similar if largely non-lethal effects for another 45 years under the banner of social engineering. The fate of the Lwów School of Mathematics is a prominent example of brute atrocities but also of great resilience, enduring creativity and irrepressible revival. Among the world’s most advanced biotopes of mathematics in the interwar period, the Lwów School suffered debilitating losses from Hitler’s genocide, wartime emigration, and the post-war brain drain of defections inspired by communism. The Scottish Café was perhaps the best-known liberal scholarly hotbed of cutting-edge mathematical ideas east of Göttingen, the caliber of its patrons reflective of the most noteworthy mine of mathematical talent outside of Oxford, Cambridge, Paris and Moscow in its day. It is a conclusion strikingly evidenced by the Scottish Book: three-quarters of a century later, a quarter of the mathematical challenges described therein is still awaiting resolution.



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
  • Issn(Print): 1918-7173
  • Issn(Onlne): 1918-7181
  • Started: 2009
  • Frequency: quarterly

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