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Letter from Albert Einstein describing antisemitism in the US put up for auction

i24NEWS

clock 2 min read

This photo released on May 22, 2021 courtesy of RR Auction shows a handwritten letter from Albert Einstein.
RR Auction / AFPThis photo released on May 22, 2021 courtesy of RR Auction shows a handwritten letter from Albert Einstein.

Physicist wrote the letter to his friend, the Austrian-Jewish pianist Bruno Eisner, in 1936

The auction house Kedem announced on Sunday the sale of a handwritten letter from physicist Albert Einstein to a friend, in which he warned against the antisemitism that he believed was rampant in the American academic world.

Albert Einstein wrote the letter to his friend, the Austrian-Jewish pianist Bruno Eisner, in 1936, when Eisner was considering working in American academia. Eisner was staying in New York at the time with a mutual friend.

"An enormous degree of antisemitism prevails here, especially in academia (but also in industry and banking)," Einstein wrote, according to an English translation of the letter provided in a statement from the auction house.

"Mind you, it never takes the form of brutal speeches or actions, but simmers all the more intensely beneath the surface," Einstein writes. "It is, so to speak, an omnipresent enemy, impossible to see, and whose presence we only perceive."

Einstein explains in the letter that his own assistant was forced to leave the country and take a position in Russia because of the antisemitism he faced in the United States.

The letter will go on sale later this week with a starting price of $12,913.

Albert Einstein refused to become the first president of the State of Israel, but served as a non-resident governor of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem until his death in 1955.

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