Einstein ‘Jewish Holy Man’ Letter Up for Auction
A collection of 27 letters by Albert Einstein set to be auctioned in June includes one in which the renowned scientist reveals that he was once called a “Jewish Holy Man,” the U.K.’s Daily Mail reported on Wednesday.
The Jewish physicist wrote the letter in November 1923 about his concerns over antisemitism in Germany and his thoughts about staying in his home country. Writing from Holland, he said, “I was informed that there are certain people in Germany who are after me as a ‘Jewish Holy Man.'”
“In Stuttgart, they even had a billboard where I was ranked first among the richest Jews,” he said. “I have been thinking about giving up my position in Germany altogether but I am not doing that because it would be morally damaging to the German intellectuals…”
Einstein was visiting the U.S. when Adolf Hitler came to power in 1933 and decided not to return to Germany, where he had been a professor at the Berlin Academy of Sciences. In a letter written to his son in 1933, Einstein said he would not be returning to Germany, “perhaps never again.”
Einstein considered belief in a “personal God” to be childish and spoke about it in two letters to his friend Guy H. Raner Jr. dated July 1945 and September 1949. The letters are considered to be the highlight of the auction, according to the Daily Mail.
“From the viewpoint of a Jesuit priest I am, of course, and have always been an atheist … It is always misleading to use anthropomorphical concepts in dealing with these outside of the human sphere – childish analogies,” Einstein wrote to Raner in 1945.
Four years later he told Raner in another letter, “I have repeatedly said that in my opinion the idea of a personal God is a childlike one … I prefer an attitude of humility corresponding to the weakness of our intellectual understanding of nature and of our own being.”
Each letter written by the famed scientist has a pre-auction estimate of $15,000 or more, the Daily Mail reported. The collection will be up for sale at auctioneer Profiles in History on June 11. Previous writings on religion by Einstein sold at auction for $404,000 in 2008 and one letter called the “God Letter,” written before his death, sold for $3 million in 2012.
In one of his letters auctioned off last year, Einstein thanks a Jewish businessman for helping Jews who fled Nazi-occupied Europe.