In Saunders Mac Lane's autobiography he described how he visited, I think Königsberg, then the centre of mathematics in Germany. He also reported he that he saw Hitler somewhere and that he wished that he had a gun so he could shoot him. Had he done it, it might have saved a great deal of trouble all round.

Q. Where did Mac Lane report seeing him? Was it in an academic setting and what was he - I mean Hitler - doing there?

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    $\begingroup$ I suggest a mod migration to the History SE (the science aspect is practically negligible). $\endgroup$ – peterh says reinstate Monica Nov 6 at 18:30
  • $\begingroup$ @user259412: Its about a mathematician and his history and the history of his times and I think that is relevant to the history of science. $\endgroup$ – Mozibur Ullah Nov 7 at 3:38
  • $\begingroup$ Relevant (old) meta-post. I think that this is a borderline case and will refrain from voting on its being on- or off-topic. $\endgroup$ – Danu yesterday

This incident is recounted in Mac Lane's autobiography, in chapter 6, starting on page 56. It was not Königsberg, but rather Weimar, and he saw Hitler at a performance of a Wagner opera on Wagner's birthday. It's only mentioned in a single paragraph:

Once I actually saw Hitler. While in Göttingen it suddenly occurred to me that I had never visited Weimar, the famous court where Goethe lived and worked. So I took the train and found a hotel, then went to the opera house. The tickets for the Wagnerian concert that evening were all sold out -- it was Wagner's birthday, May 22 -- but someone with an extra ticket came along and sold it to me. I went and enjoyed the opera, and went out into the lobby for the intermission. There, across the lobby, stood Hitler and Göring -- they were easy to recognize from the many pictures I had seen in the papers, and it was well known that Hitler like Wagnerian opera. I had no gun with me.


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