As She Saw It

July 23, 1999


Natascha Brunswick
On June 11, the day long-time TVP translator and editor Natascha Brunswick turned 90, four members of the SIAM staff made their way to her home in Princeton for a birthday visit. For production editor Lisa Dougherty, who works with Brunswick on TVP (the Russian applied probability journal that SIAM has been publishing, in translation, since 1959), it was a chance to meet Brunswick in person for the first time. Technical director Bill Kolata took advantage of the occasion to invite Brunswick to SIAM's 50th-anniversary meeting, to be held in Philadelphia in 2002. (She accepted.) SIAM executive director Jim Crowley and this reporter simply enjoyed the good conversation and gracious hospitality extended by Brunswick and her daughter, Karin Tate, also visiting for the occasion.

Just back from a trip to Hamburg for the opening of her first photography exhibit---50 photographs she had taken while a resident of Hamburg, during the decade immediately preceding World War II---Brunswick seemed happy at the way things had gone (including a television interview and an extensive autographing session at the gallery, where people were lined up to meet her).

It is hard to imagine circumstances more dramatic than those surrounding the exhibit, titled "As I Saw It": Brunswick was visiting the city she had left 62 years earlier, fleeing the Nazis, for the United States; she had taken the photographs with a Leica A, which would be confiscated by the U.S. police on the grounds that she was an enemy alien (despite her employment by the U.S. Army as an instructor of Russian). With the end of the war came the return of the Leica, but "her heart had gone out of her photography," according to her son Tom Artin, who orchestrated the exhibit.

Serving sherry on her plant-filled front porch, Brunswick seemed to have few regrets about the photography career cut short. Considering that she went on to help found NYU's Communications on Pure and Applied Mathematics, which she edited until her retirement in 1990, and to do the work for SIAM that still continues today, regrets don't seem to be in order---certainly not for SIAM, where all concerned are hoping for many more years of what has been a wonderful 42-year association.---GRC


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