Trafika Europe 1 - Northern Idyll
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174

blindness were vast. He wanted me with him in the United

States because he didn’t feel he could stand another

academic year as an overaged bachelor student. The only

way for us both to get visas was for him to marry me. I

didn’t have any illusions. He was not troubled by the course

of history, not terrified at leaving his mother alone in

Czechoslovakia, and he was hardly concerned about our

dicey finances. He had his work, his needs as a man, and

the rest mattered very little. What were the world’s

upheaval or the jeremiads of a woman in comparison with

the infinity of mathematics? Kurt always placed himself

outside the game. Here and now was an unpleasant point in

space-time, an imperative I was assigned to handle so that

we might survive.

He briefly considered emigrating officially but dismissed it

without serious thought. Oskar Morgenstern and Karl

Menger, who had been in the United States for several

months, wrote that they planned to settle there. They urged

him to weigh the possibility of expatriate life. I started to

think about it. If he married me, Princeton’s invitation gave

us an opportunity to go, leaving everything behind. I made

two lists. Here: my family; his mother, who had taken

refuge in a defeated Czechoslovakia; his academic career,

already on a solid footing, and a university that still

believed in him; his brother, who was our only financial

guarantor; and a political situation that, while explosive,

did not threaten us directly. There: his friends; temporary

appointments; the unknown. Could we get a two-person