Nature 139, 228-241 (06 February 1937) | doi:10.1038/139228c0

Germany and the Nobel Prizes


DURING Herr Hitler’s speech to the Reichstag in the Kroll Opera House, Berlin, on January 30, it was announced that he had issued a decree forbidding Germans to accept any Nobel Prize in future. This decree has been issued to avoid repetition of “shameful events of the past”, which presumably refers to the award of the Nobel Peace Prize last year to Herr von Ossietzky, the German pacifist. The decree has been received with resentment in Sweden; but the Swedish Nobel Committee looks upon it as Germany’s loss, for, since 1901 (when the first prize was awarded), nearly one quarter of all the Nobel prizes have been awarded to German citizens, and during the past ten years twelve out of the forty-one recipients of Nobel prizes for physics, chemistry and medicine (more than one quarter) have passed to Germans. Herr Hitler has decreed the creation of three German National Prizes of 100,000 marks (£8,300) each, to be awarded annually to Germans distinguished in art and science.