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Fritz Haber: Jewish chemist whose work led to Zyklon B

Posted by Sheldon Rubenfeld on July 26, 2016

I just finished reading the heartbreakingly tragic story of Fritz Haber’s life as told by Vern Thiessen in his play Einstein’s Gift. The story of his remarkable life is beautifully summed up by his friend, colleague, and fellow Nobel Laureate Albert Einstein in a letter to Haber’s family following his death in 1934: “You can only imagine, how heavy the news of Fritz Haber’s death hit me. It seems that now almost all my real friends are dead. One feels like one is made of stone and not a living creature…Haber was the most spirited, the most complex, most generous of all my friends. I did not see him often, but I always thought it  gift when I could spend even an hour with him…(Haber’s was) the tragedy of the German Jews, the tragedy of unrequited love…

You can read more about Haber in two biographies, Mastermind: The Rise and Fall of Fritz Haber, the Nobel Laureate Who Launched the Age of Chemical Warfare by Daniel Charles and Fritz Haber: Chemist, Nobel Laureate, German, Jew by Dietrich Stoltzenberg.

You can also hear a podcast from the BBC about him, including interviews with his relatives at: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b01062gy

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