Nobel Prize awarded to Jewish physicist Walter Kohn for sale

Nobel Prize awarded to Jewish physicist who fled Austria as a teenager after Nazi invasion then studied at Harvard is put up for sale by his family for £20,000

  • Walter Kohn was 15 when his native Austria was annexed by Adolf Hitler in 1938
  • He and his sister Minna escaped the country through the Kindertransport
  • Kohn later became a US citizen and studied at Harvard University
  • He was awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1998
  • A prestigious Nobel Prize awarded to a physicist who was saved by Britain from the Nazis is being sold by his family for £200,000.

    Walter Kohn, who came from a Jewish family, era 15 years old when his native Austria was annexed by Adolf Hitler in 1938.

    He and his sister Minna escaped the country through the Kindertransport programmewhich provided almost 10,000 children with safe passage to the UKbut their parents were killed during the Holocaust.

    Because he was an Austrian national, Kohn was transported to Canada following the outbreak of the Second World War.

    He studied there before enrolling at Harvard University in the US and embarking on an academic career.

    He became US citizen and taught at the University of California.

    He achieved a major breakthrough in ‘density functional theorywhich saw him awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1998.

    A prestigious Nobel Prize awarded to a physicist who was saved by Britain from the Nazis is being sold by his family for £200,000. Walter Kohn (pictured above in Vienna aged 14), who came from a Jewish family, era 15 years old when his native Austria was annexed by Adolf Hitler in 1938

    A prestigious Nobel Prize awarded to a physicist who was saved by Britain from the Nazis is being sold by his family for £200,000. Walter Kohn (pictured above in Vienna aged 14), who came from a Jewish family, era 15 years old when his native Austria was annexed by Adolf Hitler in 1938

    Kohn achieved a major breakthrough in 'density functional theory' which saw him awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1998

    Kohn achieved a major breakthrough in ‘density functional theorywhich saw him awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1998

    Kohn is seen above hugging his wife Mara at his home in Santa Barbara after he had been told he had won the Nobel Prize

    Kohn is seen above hugging his wife Mara at his home in Santa Barbara after he had been told he had won the Nobel Prize

    This made it possible to calculate quantum mechanical electronic structure by equations involving the electronic density.

    This became a widely used method for carrying out quantum calculations in chemistry and biology.

    Il 18 carat gold medal has Alfred Nobel’s portrait on the front, with the goddess Isis on the reverse.

    Kohn’s name and the year 1998 in Roman numerals are engraved on a plaque below.

    Kohn died aged 93 nel 2016 and his Nobel Prize is now going under the hammer with US-based auctioneers Nate D Sanders, of California.

    The sale also includes three science books he bought in a temporary internment camp in Canada which fuelled his interest in the subject.

    Walter and his sister Minna (pictured above in Vienna with their parents) escaped Austria through the Kindertransport programme - which provided almost 10,000 children with safe passage to the UK - but their parents were killed during the Holocaust

    Walter and his sister Minna (pictured above in Vienna with their parents) escaped Austria through the Kindertransport programmewhich provided almost 10,000 children with safe passage to the UKbut their parents were killed during the Holocaust

    Kohn in the Canadian Army in 1944. Kohn died aged 93 nel 2016 and his Nobel Prize is now going under the hammer with US-based auctioneers Nate D Sanders, of California

    Kohn in the Canadian Army in 1944. Kohn died aged 93 nel 2016 and his Nobel Prize is now going under the hammer with US-based auctioneers Nate D Sanders, of California

    He was forced to spend time in the camp by the Canadian authorities because of his nationality and the fact that the war was ongoing.

    A Nate D Sanders spokesperson said: ‘This Nobel Prize in Chemistry won by Walter Kohn in 1998 is unique not only for the scientific impact of Kohn’s work, but also for his life experience as one of the children rescued from Nazi-occupied territories in World War Two through the Kindertransport program.

    ‘Kindertransport was established by the United Kingdom in 1938 immediately after theNight of Broken Glasspogrom in Germany, authorising the safe passage of almost 10,000 children into the UK.

    ‘The children were placed in homes throughout the British empire, with Kohn ultimately finding a home in Canada after both his parents were killed in the Holocaust.

    Kohn as a child with his family at their summer house on the Baltic in Herringsdorf, Germania

    Kohn as a child with his family at their summer house on the Baltic in Herringsdorf, Germania

    The sale also includes three science books he bought in a temporary internment camp in Canada which fuelled his interest in the subject

    The sale also includes three science books he bought in a temporary internment camp in Canada which fuelled his interest in the subject

    Auctioneer Nate Sanders added: ‘To think what would have been lost to the world had Walter Kohn not made it to the UK during World War Two is incomprehensible.

    ‘This Nobel Prize is not only a testament to the knowledge that mankind is capable of, but also to its humanity.

    A delegation of British, Jewish and Quaker leaders visited Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain on November 15, 1938, to urge him to allow the temporary admission of unaccompanied Jewish children without their parents.

    The bill was passed in Parliament and Jewish children were taken in by Britons into foster homes, ostelli, schools and farms.

    The timed sale ends on January 27.