Albert Einstein Letter About Israel Being ‘Intellectually Active’ Goes up for Auction
A letter written by renowned Jewish physicist Albert Einstein about Israel is among a collection set to go for auction next week, according to The Associated Press.
A collection of five letters to be sold are dated between 1951 and 1954 and signed by the Nobel-winning father of the theory of relativity. They were sent to Jewish quantum physicist David Bohm, a colleague of Einstein’s at Princeton University who fled the United States for Brazil in 1951 after refusing to testify about his ties to the Communist Party.
The topic of Israel was mentioned in one correspondence Einstein had with Bohm when the latter complained about living in Brazil and Einstein suggested he move to a more “intellectual atmosphere.” One idea was for Bohm to relocate to the Jewish state, which had declared independence in 1948. However, Einstein was not a fan of the notion. He told Bohm in a letter, “Israel is intellectually active and interesting but has very narrow possibilities. And to go there with the intention to leave on the first occasion would be regrettable.”
Bohm ultimately ignored Einstein’s advice and left Brazil for Israel in 1955, according to AP. He taught for two years at Haifa’s Technion Institute of Technology, where he met his wife, Sarah Woolfson. They married in 1956 and a year later moved to the United Kingdom, where they lived until Bohm’s death in 1992.
The AP noted that Einstein declined an offer in 1952 to become Israel’s president. He remotely held a position on Hebrew University’s first Board of Governors and left his papers to the school when he died in 1955.
In other letters set to go for auction next week, Einstein discussed McCarthyism and God. “If God has created the world his primary worry was certainly not to make its understanding easy for us,” he wrote a year before his death.
The collection is expected to sell for over $20,000, according to AP. The auction, to be held on June 20, includes copies of other letters sent by Einstein and correspondence by Nobel laureate Louis de Broglie. Early bids are being accepted online.