Friday, Oct. 10, 2008

Günter Blobel

Rockefeller University's Günter Blobel, winner of the 1999 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, transferred the entire amount — roughly $1 million — to an account belonging to the city of Dresden, Germany. He earmarked the money for the restoration of the city's cathedral and the construction of a new synagogue. In 1945, from a refugee camp outside town, Blobel witnessed the Allied bombing of the city and the eventual collapse of the massive Dresden Frauenkirche. Later that year, his oldest sister was killed at age 19 in an air raid. "It was one of the great pleasures of my life to donate the entire sum of the Nobel Prize, in memory of my sister Ruth Blobel, to the restoration of Dresden," Blobel wrote at the time of the award. — R.F.