Professor Emeritus of Political Science Curt Frederic Beck recently self-published a memoir entitled From Wannsee to Storrs: A Perpetual Optimist’s Journey. Beck penned the book while a member of an ongoing weekly memoir writing club offered through UConn’s Center for Learning in Retirement. CLIR is a UConn Extension program.
Beck is past president of CLIR, and currently serves on its board of directors. He was born in Berlin, Germany, in 1924, but with growing political concerns among the Jewish community during the early 1930s, his family fled Germany for Czechoslovakia in 1933, then emigrated to the United States five years later.
“As a writer and publisher of a philosophical magazine, my father had no intention of staying in a country run by Adolf Hitler, who had been appointed chancellor in January of 1933,” Beck explains. “When Hitler took neighboring Austria in March 1938, my parents decided to escape Hitler’s expected conquest of Central Europe and seek refuge in the United States, where we arrived on September 13,1938.”
Beck studied at Cornell, where he felt pulled toward political science. He earned his bachelor’s degree in history, his master’s from Tufts University Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, and then his Ph.D. in government and international relations from Harvard. He was hired in the summer of 1947 as the first faculty member in UConn’s newly established Department of Government and International Relations.