Alan “Buddy” Silver was born on January 3, 1914 in Rochester, NY. He attended Rutgers University from 1931 to 1935, where he witnessed the Bergel/Hauptmann incident firsthand. During this controversial period in the history of Rutgers University, Lienhard Bergel, a German Professor at the New Jersey College for Women (later to become Douglass College), was removed from his position by German Department Chair Friederich Hauptmann. Though the reason given for his firing was “incompetence,” Bergel believed that Haputmann had targeted him for his anti-Nazi sympathies.
Although Silver never studied under either professor, he became interested in the case because of his extracurricular involvement in the National Student League and the Targum newspaper.`In May 1935 he challenged Rutgers Dean of Men Fraser Metzger to open an investigation of Bergel's firing, threatening to contact the New Jersey State Legislature if his plea was ignored. Silver's ensuing meeting with College for Women President Robert C. Clothier led to the formation of the Special Trustees Committee to Investigate the Charges of Lienhard Bergel. Silver also contacted a World Telegram reporter and the American Civil Liberties Union about the case, bringing nationwide attention to the Bergel/Hauptmann affair. The investigation concluded with the committee upholding Hauptmann's decision.
Silver graduated with honors, double-majoring in economics and history. In 1963, he went on to establish a management and consulting firm, of which he was Chief Executive Officer. The firm of Alan Silver & Associates, Inc. was a pioneer in the design and development of inventory control systems for the hard goods distribution agency. He wrote numerous articles that were published in the industry's major periodicals, such as Supply House Times, The Wholesaler, and The Plumbing, Heating, & Air Conditioning Wholesaler.
In 1985, Silver demanded that Rutgers University reopen the Bergel/Hauptmaan case. After meeting with some resistance from President Edward J. Bloustein, Silver contacted the American Association of University Professors, as well as numerous reporters, politicians and alumni. His efforts resulted in the forming of a second committee, made up of historians, to investigate the causes of Bergel's firing. Between the years of 1985 and 1988, this group collected information on the case, and published their findings in 1989 as the book The Case of the Nazi Professor .
Alan Silver married Alice Moolten Silver and had three sons, Thomas, Daniel, and Paul. He was also a World War II army veteran, stationed in Hawaii. Alan Silver died on Tuesday, March 29, 1988, at the age of 74, from cancer.
From the guide to the Guide to the Alan Silver Papers, 1934-1987, (Rutgers University Libraries. Special Collections and University Archives)
|Guide to the Alan Silver Papers, 1934-1987
|Rutgers Special Collections and University Archives