College Admissions? Of Buchenwald and Princeton

By | Dec 08, 2008

By Mandy Katz

princeton-u-by-mahlon-lovittSome of his Frankfurt gymnasium teachers ended up in Buchenwald, my Tel Aviv correspondent Ernest Stock writes, but he ended up graduating from Princeton in 1949. God bless the G.I. Bill.

Now a retired journalist, Ernie offers this unconventional college memoir on the website of the Princeton Alumni Weekly. Having escaped the Nazis at 14 by trekking with his little sister into Spain from occupied France, Ernie was drafted into the U.S. military in 1943. On demobilizing, he scored high enough on the Army’s college entrance exam to matriculate as a sophomore at Princeton in ’46, at a time when that august institution admitted roughly 25 Jews each year under an unspoken “no-quota” quota system.

Ernie played a central role in engineering the first meetings between Princeton’s tweedy Jewish undergrads and local notable Albert Einstein. (Meg Ryan was not involved.) I described the scene in “Was Einstein a Jewish Saint?”, a Moment profile. Ernie also appears—I discovered while cooking one day last year—in Joan Nathan’s Jewish Cooking in America, rhapsodizing about New York’s late lamented German bakeries.

Photo of Pyne archway by Mahlon Lovett, courtesy of Princeton University.

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