Landwirth Memorial Lecture

Sunday, April 3, 2016, 2:00 pm, THE CATCHER WAS A SPY! The Mysterious Life of Moe Berg.

SPEAKER: Nicholas Dawidoff.


Moe Berg, son of Ukrainian Jewish immigrants, was a professional baseball player in the 1930's. He played as a back-up catcher for the Brooklyn Dodgers, Chicago White Sox, Cleveland Indians, and Boston Red Sox. However, Berg's true claim to fame derived from another aspect of his life: He was a spy for the American Government. Berg was a brilliant linguist who hadgraduated from Princeton University Magna Cum Laude. And thus, while playing exhibition baseball in Japan with the likes of Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig, Berg was asked by the U.S. military to surreptitiously film Japanese industrial facilities.

The footage he brought back proved to be invaluable in America's war effort in the Pacific, following the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. During the war, Moe Berg performed a variety of missions in Europe as well. One of his assignments involved a trip to neutral Switzerland, where he was to attend a lecture given by prominent German physicist, Werner Heisenberg. Berg's orders were to determine if Heisenberg's nuclear research indicted that the Germans were close to developing an atomic bomb. If they were, Berg's orders were to kill him. Moe Berg attended the lecture, armed with a pistol and... the rest will be revealed by our guest speaker, Nicholas Dawidoff!

This year's annual Landwirth Memorial Lecture at Congregation Or-Shalom will feature noted writer Nicholas Dawidoff, author of the best seller, The Catcher Was A Spy. Mr. Dawidoff has also authored a number of acclaimed books, one of which was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize in Biography. He is the author of many articles that have appeared in The New Yorker and The New York Times. A Branford Fellow at Yale University, Mr Dawidoff resides in New Haven.

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