Who was Trachtenberg?
Professor Jakow Trachtenberg was the founder of the Mathematical Institute in Zurich, Switzerland.
He was a Russian, born June 17th, 1888 and studied engineering.
While still in his early twenties, he became Chief Engineer with 11,000 men under his supervision.
After the Czar of Russia was overthrown, he escaped to Germany where he became very critical of Hitler. He was later imprisoned.
Most fellow prisoners around him gave up hope and died even before being sent to their death. He realized that if he wanted to stay alive, he had to occupy his mind with something else rather than focus on the hopeless conditions surrounding them. He set his mind on developing methods to perform speed mathematics.
With the help of his wife, he escaped from prison and fled to Switzerland.
There, he taught his speed math system to young children. It was very successful.