EINSTEIN, Albert (1879-1955). Autograph letter signed (''A Einstein'') to Dr. Lionel Ettinger, n.p. [Le Coq Sur Mer, near Ostend, Belgium], 10 June 1933.
EINSTEIN, Albert (1879-1955). Autograph letter signed ("A Einstein") to Dr. Lionel Ettinger, n.p. [Le Coq Sur Mer, near Ostend, Belgium], 10 June 1933.
1 pages, 4to, on good-quality "Basildon" bond paper. In superb condition. In German.
CONFRONTING THE PROSPECT OF EXILE, AFTER THE NAZI SEIZURE OF POWER: "ONE TENDS TO THE DAILY AGENDA AND DOES NOT LIKE TO BE REMINDED OF UNPLEASANT THINGS"
In January 1933 Einstein--already an international scientific celebrity--visited the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena. Momentous events were unfolding in Europe. Hitler, with the acquiescence of President Hindenberg, became Chancellor of Germany on 30 January. In late February, on the pretext of the Reichstag fire, the Nazi party enacted emergency decrees conferring dictatorial powers on Hitler. These developments had a powerful effect upon Einstein's view of the European situation and his own position; he unmistakably saw that "he was no longer able to live in the country of his birth...Einstein's disillusion was thus compounded." (Clark, p.557). As his view of the world's direction shifted, so did his long-held pacifist ideals. Here, in a letter expressing this deep disillusionment, he writes to Ettinger, who devoted much of his personal fortune to assisting in the relocation and resettlement of German Jews.
"My own impressions about recent happenings [in Germany] are very discouraging," he writes. "One tends to the daily agenda and does not like to be reminded of unpleasant things...A central information clearinghouse is needed, and this is often more important than monetary assistance. I do not believe, however, that the League of Nations could directly accomplish such a thing..." He suggests Ettinger visit the director of the Institute for Intellectual Cooperation at Chateau Roycele for assistance and encloses (not present) a letter of introduction to Henri Bonnet, Director of the League of Nations' International Committee on Intellectual Cooperation.
On his return to Europe, Einstein took up residence in a small Belgian coastal resort, renounced German citizenship and resigned from the Prussian Academy of Sciences. In retaliation, stormtroopers ransacked his Berlin home, confiscated his property and burned his books. A few months after this letter, Einstein immigrated to the United States.