L. Goldberg, P. E.Kahle,, and Appreciating the Mundane
Yad Vashem Studies, Volume 37:1
“A Man with His Life at Both Ends of Time”: Leah Goldberg, Paul Ernst Kahle, and Appreciating the Mundane
Yfaat Weiss relates the heretofore-unknown story of the close relationship between famed Israeli poet and writer Leah Goldberg and her German doctoral advisor, Professor Paul Ernst Kahle, a prominent orientalist and expert in Semitic languages. Goldberg was among the last Jews to complete a dissertation in Nazi Germany, and Kahle made sure it was published there in 1935. Whereas she greatly admired Kahle and his integrity toward his Jewish colleagues, she broke contact with him shortly after she moved to Palestine in 1935, ostensibly so as to protect him. Yet his public silence regarding the regime’s actions disturbed her. The contact that Kahle and his wife Marie maintained with Jews in Germany contributed to his dismissal from the university in late 1938, followed by their flight to England in 1939. While Goldberg quickly became a rising literary and intellectual star in the Yishuv, the land of her choice, Kahle had difficulty finding his place in his British exile. Their renewed contact after the war highlights this contrasting impact on their personal lives as affected by the Nazi regime.