EINSTEIN, ALBERT. Autograph letter signed ("Papa") to Eduard Einstein, "On Board S.S. Belgenland," 28 March 1933. 2 pages, 8vo, 200 x 125 mm. (7 7/8 x 5 in.), S.S. Belgenland stationery, left margin slightly ragged, minuscule loss to central fold, affecting a few words on verso, three small ink spots.
"FOR THE TIME BEING I WILL NOT RETURN TO GERMANY, PERHAPS NEVER AGAIN"
While Einstein had been visiting the United States, the Nazis had come to power in Germany. The Einstein's Berlin apartment and their summer home in Caputh were both ransacked. Alarmed by Einstein's outspoken criticism of the new regime, Max Planck asked him to resign from the Prussian Academy. On March 29 (the day after this letter was written), Einstein did so, when he disembarked at Antwerp. On April 1, Einstein's property in Germany was confiscated, and a reward was posted for his capture as an enemy of the state. As these events were taking place, Einstein wrote to Eduard: "I have had detailed news of you and of how you are doing from Herr Zangger. I am glad to hear that you are better and particularly that you are feeling a taste for art again and that you are playing Mozart. I had a tiring time in America and will stay in Belgium through the summer, apart from June, which I have to spend in Oxford. For the time being, I will not return to Germany, perhaps never again. I think of you very often; maybe I will come to you in person soon; I haven't seen you for a long time now. I am stepping into your footsteps and have started writing poetry from time to time out of the blue. I put a very bad example under a picture for Upton Sinclair, who caught a cold after reading it..." The poem, in German, contains a play on the English word "undignified," and Einstein explains parenthetically: "In America 'undignified' means anything that's not done, particularly anything that doesn't please the people with fat wallets."
Einstein left his home in Berlin in the winter of 1932 to spend several months at the California Institute of Technology. After the Nazis seized power during his absence, he never returned to Germany.