Albert Einstein is known as being one of the most brilliant scientists of our time. With his work in theoretical physics and nuclear energy, he quickly made a name for himself. But Einstein was also a great humanitarian working for the rights of the Jewish community around the world. Now, a letter that he wrote defending his Jewish heritage is being auctioned with a starting bid of $10,000.
The letter, which can be seen on Jewish Business News, is addressed to the New York businessman, Isidore Zelniker. The letter, which was typed on Einstein’s personal embossed stationery, applauds Zelniker’s efforts to aid refugees in Europe. The letter, which dates from June 10, 1939, came shortly before Adolf Hitler invaded Poland, thereby starting World War II. It speaks of the persecution that the Jews were currently experiencing referring to the situation as “calamitous peril” of which Einstein was very familiar with.
Einstein left his homeland of Germany in 1932, after recognizing the danger that Hitler presented. Although he immigrated to America, he worked to help those left behind who were suffering from the Nazi party’s persecution. Einstein remarked in a letter to Israeli Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion, which can be seen at The Historical Society of Princeton, that “…my relationship to the Jewish people has become my strongest human bond, ever since I became fully aware of our precarious situation…”
Einstein spent much time trying to help refugees by writing affidavits for them to be able to immigrate and also enlisted the help of his many friends, like Zelniker, to provide aid to the Jewish people. His belief in the importance of working together can be seen in the letter when he remarks, “We have no other means of self-defense than our solidarity.”
Einstein also shows pride in his Jewish heritage by writing in the letter, “The power of resistance which has enabled the Jewish people to survive for thousands of years has been based to a large extent upon on traditions of mutual helpfulness.”
A similar letter written to another New York businessman, Hyman Zinn, was auctioned in 2011 and went for $13,936. Nate D. Saunder’s Auctions of Los Angeles, which handled the auctioning of that letter, will also be handling this auction. They have set the starting bid at $10,000, although many believe the value to be much more. Bidding will end tomorrow, November 20, at 5 p.m. Pacific.
Through the sharing of this piece of Jewish heritage, hopefully Albert Einstein’s humanitarian efforts can forever be remembered.
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