As early as 1932, Pauling was aware of growing unrest in Europe. In a letter to Ava Helen, he wrote, "[F. E. Simon's] family
is in Berlin now. He is worried about anti-Semitism. He is a Jew, and so is his wife (and the children). We talked about
Jews a while. He said [Arnold] Euken was brought to Gottingen instead of [Otto] Stern because there are so many Jews there
already ([James] Frank, [Max] Born, [Richard] Conant, [Victor] Goldschmidt) and they thought it better not to have another."
The growing climate of religious and ethnic intolerance in Germany was concerning but not altogether unusual; the Jewish community
had experienced violence at the hands of several anti-Semitic governments since its appearance in Europe during the rule of
the Roman Empire. Pauling was concerned for his friends and colleagues, but his devotion to scientific pursuits left him
with little time for politics and he paid only minimal attention to foreign affairs.
Pauling's indifference was a result of limited perspective rather than callousness, however, and the eruption of violence
in Europe quickly changed his outlook. With the onset of war, Pauling began receiving worried correspondence from scientists
he had befriended during a trip through Europe in the 1920s. The first letters arrived from Albert Schoenflies, a German
Jew, in 1938 with others following close behind. Jewish scientists were being forced out of institutions of higher learning
and their non-Jewish supporters were being persecuted and even imprisoned. Pauling did his best to find homes for Schoenflies
and other scientists, but it proved very difficult. Red tape kept Schoenflies from fleeing the country with his family, and
Pauling's requests seemed to go unnoticed. Ultimately, Pauling's attempts to help his fellow academics escape danger were
unsuccessful. The complexity of wartime bureaucracies and the pressure placed on the U.S. Bureau of Immigrations were simply
too immense for a few families to receive official attention.
Pauling was frustrated but not defeated by his inability to help the Schoenflies. He was determined to do what he could for
the war effort, but he needed help - a channel through which to work. In 1940 the United States Committee for the Care of
European Children was founded by Clarence Pickett. The mission of the organization was to evacuate British children from
areas targeted by the German luftwaffe and to temporarily relocate them in the United States. In the summer of 1940, shortly
after the committee's founding, a Pasadena branch of USCOM was created. The Paulings quickly became active members and Ava
Helen Pauling took a seat on the Executive Board.
With the chaos overseas, the Paulings and their fellow volunteers found it difficult to come in contact with appropriate individuals
in Britain. Frustrated, Pauling eventually contacted Arthur Hill, a British chemist at Yale University, who was able to put
Pauling in contact with the necessary English officials and assist with the complicated evacuation process. By the spring
of 1941, the Battle of Britain was over and the German bombings had ceased, thus lessening the need for evacuation. In March
the Pasadena branch of USCOM quietly disbanded. In just one year, the Paulings had found homes in Pasadena for more than
forty children. The national organization, which remained active throughout the war and wasn't retired until 1953, ultimately
relocated approximately 800 British children and 300 German-Jewish children.