RUSSIAN AND JAPANESE physicists regularly joined our luncheon table at the Stegemühlenweg pension, but we rarely talked about politics; we were much too interested in our own narrow topic, the structure of matter, to discuss the structure of the international community. Yet some of the most disastrous political developments of the century took shape during the years we met for lunch—from 1930 to 1933.
I remember one Russian for a charming error he made. Waxing enthusiastic about our pension, he praised its flüssiges wasser (liquid water). He meant fliessendes wasser (running water). At that time, I had heard much about a communist paradise and a little about its problems. 1 That physicist provided me with a startling picture of Stalin's régime: when Leon Trotsky, one of the founders of the Russian Revolution, was mentioned at the table one day, the Russian was obviously disturbed and maintained a silence that was more expressive than a fifty-minute lecture. 2 A situation where a political difference____________________