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Sometime in 1940, an 11-year-old refugee named Yudita Nisse reached the United States on a boat from Japan. Her Latvian-Jewish family had fled Nazi Germany east across the Soviet Union; the trip to North America was to have completed their escape. But the family had no legal authorization to enter the United States, so on arrival in Seattle they were locked up as illegal immigrants. They were eventually released, and Yudita later Anglicized her first name, becoming Judith. A second name change when she married made her Judith Shklar, and by that name she became the first woman ever to receive tenure in Harvard’s government department and one of the most formidable political theorists of her generation.


Reproduced with permission.