Otto Bachman, Once Red Captive, Studies Here Under Conant Grant
A German student who spent three and one-half years in a Soviet slave-labor camp for his anti-communist activities will study for a year at Harvard.
Otto J. Bachman, who last night celebrated his 25th birthday, is the first German holder of the James Bryant Conant--Class of 1928 Scholarship. A student at the Free University of Berlin, Bachman is now living in a five-man suite in Eliot House.
He is in Cambridge on an scholarship founded in 1953 by the 25th Reunion Class of 1928 to honor former President Conant, now Ambassador to West Germany. It was first held by William W. Geertsema '54, who spent last year in Germany.
East German police arrested Bachman in 1950, because of his work in a student resistance groups at an East German University. Turned over to the MVD, the Soviet secret police, he was tried by a secret tribunal, sentenced to 250 years of forced labor, and sent to a concentration camp in northern Russia.
"I was released with 2,000 other German prisoners in the amnesty which preceded the foreign minister's conference in early 1954," Bachman commented.
An economics major, he finds his greatest problem after four days of college life is dividing his time between studying and seeing the country.
He does not feel Cambridge is typical of the rest of America. "The ten families with whom I have eaten dinner have no television set. In Germany I learned that one out of two homes do. But then, Cambridge is an intellectual place."
Bachman, who was taken a job as a ticket-taker at the Stadium, met Ambassador and Mrs. Conant before sailing west. "They asked me to give their greetings to Harvard," he said.
About his trip to the United States, Bachman commented: "I came by the back door. Instead of landing in New York where most visitors go, I came to Cambridge by way of Quebec."