Albert Einstein ALS Written From England Re: Fleeing the Nazis: "there were plans for my assassination"
A 2pp autograph letter in German signed by Albert Einstein (1879-1955), the Nobel Prize-winning physicist, as "Papa" on the second page at bottom. N.d. but ca. late September 1933. Cromer, Norfolk, England. Inscribed with approximately 368 words in pencil on watermarked stationery, with one word, "Lieber," partly outlined in pen. Isolated pencil marks and partial erasures. Expected wear including transmittal folds, some well-creased. A partially rusted paperclip impression is visible along the top margin verso. One line on the second page is somewhat difficult to read because it coincides with the paper fold. Else very good to near fine. 7" x 9." Accompanied by a full German transcription as well as English translation.
Einstein addressed this letter to Eduard "Tetel" Einstein (1910-1965), his youngest son, and included a postscript addressed to Mileva Marić (1875-1948), his first wife and the mother of his children. In the letter, Einstein rather matter-of-factly describes why it had been necessary to escape from mainland Europe because "there were plans for my assassination." Nazi Public Enemy No. 1, Einstein had received death threats and was placed on Nazi bounty lists. It was no longer safe in Europe, even outside of Germany, and Einstein tired of Belgian police protection. Germany was at the current moment a hopeless cause, for: "It is simply nothing more than the stupid revolting against the sensible in Germany. You see, the stupid constitute the vast majority —."
Einstein describes his temporary refuge on the English coast in loving detail in the letter, where he delighted in his proximity to "Mother Nature." He stated that he was spending "most of my time doing mathematics" but that he also struggled not to "feel very stupid" due to fatigue and boredom. Einstein feels conflicted about his impending departure for the United States, because, while leaving will ensure his physical safety, his departure means an end to his "enviable solitude." Einstein writes ironically about his exile: "An old chap like myself simply cannot have his peace and quiet! Unfortunately, dying takes the joy out of it."
Translated in full:
"24. Cromer, England
Somewhat eventful times have once again occurred since my last letter. Specifically, it was written in the newspapers that there were plans for my assassination. This resulted in my police protection being increased to the point that I no longer wished to bother. That is why I have spent more than three weeks here by the English coast enjoying an enviable solitude. The cottage in which I live alone measures around 9 sqm and consists of only one room. When you step out the door, you are immediately greeted by Mother Nature. I spend most of my time doing mathematics and walk around outside when I'm cold. Unfortunately, the ship will be returning to America in around two weeks. An old chap like myself simply cannot have his peace and quiet! Unfortunately, dying takes the joy out of it.
I would have loved to come and visit you. But it was something I couldn't even think about given the conditions! It is simply nothing more than the stupid revolting against the sensible in Germany. You see, the stupid constitute the vast majority — Food notwithstanding, I am always by myself. When you're tired, you feel very stupid because you have nothing to distract you. You should always have something mechanical to do, such as cooking. Incidentally, it would be something good for you too, even if I don't believe you will be able to make it very far. Generally, it is good for your mental balance if you have something you can do for hours where you can be sure you will achieve something even when simply doing it by routine.
Even though I write little, I still think about you a great deal. I hope you are in a steady mood with no significant irritations. [Tetel had been recently diagnosed with schizophrenia and may have been institutionalized at this point.]
Should you wish to write anything else to me, the address is Commander Locker (until 3/X) Lampsen [sic], Cromer, England. Subsequently, Princeton University (New Jersey).
My warm greetings to you both.
Dear Mileva! This letter is for you as well. Should you run into any business-related difficulties, look no further than Mr Dukas [probably a relative of Einstein's secretary, Helen Dukas.] He is very experienced and will be happy to help."
When the Nazis had taken over control of Germany in January 1933, Einstein had been abroad teaching in the United States. Two months later, in March 1933, Einstein returned to Europe via the Red Star Line "De Bergenland." Initially, Einstein had considered returning to Germany, but he soon decided it was too dangerous because his criticism of the Nazi Party and its persecution of German Jews made the famous scientist a high-profile target. The Einsteins sought refuge in Belgium between March - September 1933, first at Antwerp, then Mortsel, and finally De Haan, a coastal city known as Le Coq-Sur-Mer in French. During Einstein's "Flemish" sojourn, he was granted police protection by King Albert I and Queen Elisabeth. The killing of Einstein's associate, the German-Jewish philosopher Theodor Lessing (1872-1933) on August 30, 1933 in what was then Czechoslovakia persuaded Einstein to finally flee mainland Europe; Belgium was simply not far away enough from Nazi Germany.
Einstein secretly stole out of Belgium in September 1933 and headed to England. Commander Oliver Locker-Lampson (1880-1954), a decorated World War I veteran and Conservative member of British Parliament, hosted Einstein and his traveling companions in Cromer, Norfolk, England, located on the coast some 140 miles northeast of London. Einstein hid out in a "holiday hut" on Roughton Heath near Locker-Lampson's seaside estate Newhaven Court. With its thatched roof and roughly hewn log exterior, the cottage was a rustic hiding place, and it was guarded by shifts of armed local men. During his exile there, which lasted about a month, Einstein worked, rambled out on the moors, played the gramophone and violin, and even posed for sculptor Jacob Epstein.
On October 7, 1933, Einstein sailed from Southampton for the United States, where he arrived ten days later. Of his time harbored by Britons at Cromer, Einstein later stated, "I could not believe that it was possible that such spontaneous affection could be extended to one who is a wanderer on the face of the earth. The kindness of your people has touched my heart so deeply that I cannot find words to express in English what I feel… no matter how long I live I shall never forget the kindness which I have received from the people of England." Einstein never returned to Europe again.
This item comes with a Certificate from John Reznikoff, a premier authenticator for both major 3rd party authentication services, PSA and JSA (James Spence Authentications), as well as numerous auction houses.
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