They were two groups an ocean apart with seemingly little in common — black Southerners living under Jim Crow, seeking a college education, and free-thinking German and Austrian academics under duress in the 1930s.They formed a lifelong commitment to each other after the professors, Jewish refugees from Nazi Germany, gained employment at historically black colleges and universities in the South. The story of this little known convergence of World War II and American civil rights history is on display at the Illinois Holocaust Museum & Education Center in Skokie through May 31. The exhibit “Beyond Swastika and Jim Crow: Jewish Refugee Scholars at Black Colleges,” was developed by New York’s Museum of Jewish Heritage based on a book and public television documentary on the relationship between the students and scholars, who collectively managed to triumph against grotesque discrimination.“[The professors] were able to bring their humanity, their experiences and their understanding of the consequences of an evil and unjust system,” said Richard Hirschhaut, executive director. “They demonstrated tremendous empathy and great compassion that was the unifying force for both communities.”Many of the professors spent their careers at the schools, making the campuses some of the most integrated places in the South. Their students went on to a variety of professions, including teaching German philosophy and German language as college professors themselves. Dr. Joycelyn Elders, former U.S. surgeon general, was one of the students taught by the refugee professors