Einstein On His Anti-Nazi Work: "Had Those Fellows" Listened, "These Horrors Would Not Have Existed"

March 15, 1943

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Einstein On His Anti-Nazi Work: "Had Those Fellows" Listened, "These Horrors Would Not Have Existed"
Typed Letter Signed
1 page | SMC 801

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      Background

      He didn’t have to be told a third time: first came the Dreyfus affair, then the rise of Hitler – Einstein saw, earlier than most, that Europe was not a safe place for Jews. By 1933, he had cleared out of Europe forever – but went back, from Pasadena and Princeton, to warn others of the coming scourge. Writing ten years later to another early anti-Nazi activist, Lionel Ettlinger – who helped create the first documentary report of the Nazi assault on the Jews – Einstein recalls how, “if those fellows would at that time have taken to heart your information more seriously, with which I traveled around Belgium and England during 1933," the horrors of the present hour might have been averted. Trusting, however, that Hitler – a pathological demagogue Einstein deemed of limited intellectual capacity – would ultimately fail, Einstein adds
       
      Thanks to the intuition of the Fuhrer, it is hoped that the worst can be averted this time; even though none of our Jewish brothers will benefit from it anymore.
       
      Unfortunately, writing in 1943, before the horrors of the Holocaust were fully known, Einstein was only half right.


      Typed Letter Signed (“A. Einstein”), in German, 1 page, quarto, Princeton, New Jersey, March 15, 1943.  To Lionel Ettlinger in New York City.
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      A. EINSTEIN,
      112, MERCER STREET,
      PRINCETON,
      NEW JERSEY, U.S.A.

      [Translated from German]

      March 15, 1943
       
      Herrn [Mr.] Lionel M.Ettlinger [sic]
      19 Rector Str. [sic]
      New York City
       
      Dear Mr. Ettlinger:
       
      I sincerely thank you for the extraordinary gift you sent me and which does not belong in the shabby times in which we live. If those fellows would at that time have taken to heart your information more seriously, with which I traveled around Belgium and England during 1933, all these horrors would not have existed. Thanks to the intuition of the Fuhrer, it is to be hoped that the worst can be averted this time; even though none of our Jewish brothers will benefit from it anymore.
       
      Fondest regards
       
      Your
       
      A. EINSTEIN.