group of intellectuals

The Kahler-Kreis (Kahler circle) was the circle of intellectual friends of Erich Kahler and his second wife, Alice (Lili or Lilly) Loewy Kahler. This group, many of whom were German-speaking Jewish refugees, lasted from 1939 to the early 1970s and had its physical center at the Kahlers' house, One Evelyn Place in Princeton, New Jersey. The Einstein family and the Thomas Mann family were close friends of the Kahlers and frequent visitors at the Kahlers' house, and Hermann Broch lived in the house's attic apartment from 1942 to 1948.


  • ... My wife and I were good friends of the Kahlers and were invited to social gatherings at their home, but we did not belong to their intellectual circle. We never heard the words "Kahler Kreis" and never read their writings. The most memorable part of our relationship was the kitchen-friendship between my wife Imme and Lily Kahler. The two of them would prepare delicious German pastries in the kitchen while the husbands discussed German philosophy in the living-room. I remember only the pastries.
  • Exile in Switzerland brought Kahler and Thomas Mann together as friends, and it was at Thomas Mann's suggestion that Kahler and his family settled in Princeton, New Jersey, in 1938. Once again, Kahler's presence was magnetic: Albert Einstein, Wolfgang Pauli Ernst Kantorowicz, Ben Shahn, and Roger Sessions were frequent visitors ...
  • Austrian-born Antoinette von Kahler and her son Erich Kahler (1885–1970) fled Nazi-occupied Germany in 1933. They arrived in the United States in 1938 and settled in Princeton, New Jersey, where their friend Thomas Mann (1875–1955) had also taken up residence. The Kahler’s Princeton home at One Evelyn Place became known as Kahler-Kreis (Kahler-Circle) where German intellectuals gathered, including Albert Einstein, Mann, Erwin Panofsky, Ben Shahn, and Hermann Broch. Early in the 20th century, Antoinette Von Kahler wrote a number of children’s books (several are in the Cotsen children’s book collection). After settling in Princeton, she took up embroidery and designed a number of silks with biblical themes and Jewish iconography. Ben Shahn, an artist and family friend, is said to have been an admirer of her work.
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