It is historically known that Jean Leray gave a course on algebraic topology while captive in the Officer's detention camp XVI in Edelbach, Austria during WW2. (References to this topic include an article by Sigmund, Michor and Sigmund in the mathematical Intelligencer, 27/2 (2005), 41-50.)

Is there a digitalized copy of the course material somewhere?


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The course has been published in the Journal de Mathématiques Pures et Appliquées, volume 24 (1945), and can be found here: first part and second part and third part.

A quote from Leray's obituary:

The prisoners in the camp were mostly educated men, career or reserve officers, many of them still students. As in several other camps, a "university" was created and Leray became its rector. Classes were taught, exams were given, and degrees granted, with some degree of recognition by French authorities of the time. As for research, to fight the feeling that he might be losing the best productive years of his life, Leray wanted to resume his work. But he was confronted with a dilemma. If he continued working in fluid mechanics, he might be forced to collaborate with the German war effort. Instead, he decided to pursue some ideas in algebraic topology that he had foreseen during his collaboration with Schauder.

pages 95-167 pages 169-199 pages 201-248


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