May 13, 1935
The college announced the names of 26 freshmen, sophomores, and juniors who were awarded summer scholarships for study in Germany. Eighteen of the students studied for eight weeks at the University of Heidelberg, and eight studied for four weeks at the University of Munich.
The summer scholarships were sponsored by the German government, and in October The Miscellany News asked several faculty members about the propriety of the college’s involvement in the program, given the evolving direction of the Third Reich:
Professor Lilian Stroebe, German department—“The German department…is interested chiefly in the German language, literature and other cultural subjects which have nothing to do with present-day politics. Goethe and Schiller will live long after Hitler.”
Professor Eloise Ellery, history department—“The more background students who are going abroad can have, certainly the better, but the degree of maturity of the individual is the most important qualification outside of the language.”
Professor Mable Newcomer, economics department— “I do not believe Vassar should refuse to accept the German scholarships, because I object to restricting freedom in any way…. I feel, however, that an intelligent girl who is really concerned can get both sides if she wants to and if converted to Nazism will regain her perspective when she returns to this country. If the student never bothers to reconsider her experiences and remains a Nazi sympathizer simply because she has pleasant memories of her trip, she will not be a menace to this country.”
Professor Vernon Venable, philosophy department— “I believe that a liberal institution should accept for its students any educational advantage which may be offered…. Where a confusion between education and propaganda presumably exists, as in the case of the German scholarships, the college should select only students who are thoroughly equipped to make for themselves the clear-cut distinction between the two.”
Professor Helen Lockwood ‘12, English department—“We need to understand Germany and should make opportunities to do so. But not everybody is ready to use such opportunities.”