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August 22, 2017 11:47 am

Rare Letters From Albert Einstein, Including Criticism of Chamberlain, to Be Auctioned

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Albert Einstein. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

JNS.org – A series of letters from the famed German-Jewish physicist Albert Einstein, including criticism of the infamous 1938 Munich Agreement forged by former British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain, are set to be auctioned off in Los Angeles Aug. 24.

In the Munich Agreement letter, which Einstein penned 10 days after Chamberlain signed the fateful pact, allowing Nazi Germany to annex Czechoslovakia, Einstein described the naiveté of Chamberlain to his friend Michele Besso, a Swiss-Italian engineer credited on Einstein’s Theory of Special Relativity.

“You have confidence in the British and even Chamberlain? O sancta simplicitas…! (‘Oh holy innocence,’ a phrase used to describe naiveté in Latin.) Hoping that Hitler might let off steam by attacking Russia, he sacrifices Eastern Europe,” Einstein wrote. “Now [Chamberlain] saved Hitler in the nick of time by crowning himself with the wreath of love of peace and inducing France to betray the Czechs. He did all this in such a clever way that he deceived most people, even you (unfortunately). His only fear, which spurred him on to his humiliating flights, was the worry that Hitler might lose ground.”

“I do not have any hope left for the future of Europe,” Einstein concluded.

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Einstein had longed worked with Besso to save European Jews by issuing affidavits. In the letter, Einstein also lamented he wouldn’t be able to distribute additional affidavits because it would endanger those whose applications were pending.

Two additional letters — both addressed to Besso — that are being auctioned off include Einstein’s analysis of his divorce from his first wife, Mileva Maric, as well as a letter written in 1932 just before his departure to the US due to the rise of the Third Reich in Germany.

Nate D. Sanders Auctions will take bids for the letters.

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  • Reb_Yaakov

    Deception, appeasement, loss of hope — it all sounds familiar.

    Letters like these should be in the collection of a museum.

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