Monday, August 6, 2018

On This Date in 1945 - a Reminder, and a Strange Story of Human Imagery...

We all know of the dawn of a new age emerging from the destruction of Hiroshima on August 6, 1945.
How many of us are aware of a lecture given in Zurich late in 1944 by Werner Heisenberg, known  as one of the leading physicists in Hitler's Germany, much like Robert Oppenheimer , another great physicist here in America, who was head of the Manhattan Project , the project created and assigned  to create the Atomic  Bomb?
Among the members of the audience in this Zurich lecture was an American, with a pistol in his pocket, who was in actuality an agent of the O.S.S., the precursor to the Central Intelligence Agency of our present day.
This man was sent to Zurich to determine the status of Hitler's quest for development of The Bomb, and shoot Heisenberg if it was found that the Germans were ahead of us in that race.
In the event that the assassination was necessary, that man would then take a poison capsule to escape capture and interrogation.
The assassination was deemed unnecessary, as he determined that the Germans were quite far behind us in the quest to build The Bomb.
And so this man returned safely to America. This individual, posing as an advanced student in physics, also actually met Heisenberg after the lecture. Heisenberg, after the war, remembered this inquisitive young man.
Hard to believe?
Read on...
The man's name was Moe Berg, a baseball player, who was a catcher for such teams as the New York Yankees and the Boston Red  Sox.
He also graduated from Princeton as a language major.
He received a law degree from Columbia University as well.
We know he spoke at least seven languages, such as Japanese and German. He knew and spoke  two dead languages; namely Sanskrit and Latin.
He was asked, before  graduation, to stay on at Princeton, in order to teach.
He was  enlisted by our government,  to join the Office of Secret Services , which he did.
He knew President Roosevelt personally, as well as Albert Einstein, who once remarked to Berg,
"you know more about physics than I know about  baseball."
And there is more about this remarkable man.
You probably know of the Salinger classic, titled" The Catcher in the Rye."
Well, the author Nicholas Dawidoff  reshaped that title in order to write a biography of Moe Berg, titled "The Catcher Was a Spy."
I thought I'd write a little about Berg, as an example of the power of Imagery, this time concerning the power of language, other than the language we call Music - just for a change of pace...

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