Letter shows an anxious Einstein long before the Nazis got up

More than a decade before the Nazis seized power in Germany, Albert Einstein was on the run and already fearing the future of his country, according to a newly revealed handwritten letter.

His old friend and fellow Jew, the German Foreign Minister Walther Rathenau, had just been murdered by right-wing extremists and the police had warned the well-known physicist that his life might also be in danger.

So Einstein fled from Berlin and went into hiding in northern Germany. It was during this break that he wrote a handwritten letter to his beloved younger sister, Maja, who warned of the dangers of growing nationalism and anti-Semitism years before the Nazis finally came to power, forcing Einstein to force his homeland To flee Germany for good.

"No one knows where I am outside here, and I believe I am traveling," he wrote in August, 1922. "Here we are in economic and political dark times, so I'm glad I can get away from it all."

The previously unknown letter, put forward by an anonymous collector, will be auctioned in Jerusalem next week with an opening asking price of $ 12,000.

As the most influential scientist of the 20th century, the life and writings of Einstein have been thoroughly investigated. The Hebrew University in Jerusalem, of which Einstein was a founder, houses the world's largest collection of Einstein material. Together with the California Institute of Technology, it manages the Einstein Papers Project. Individual auctions of his personal letters have yielded considerable amounts in recent years.

The letter from 1922 shows that he worried about the future of Germany a full year before the Nazis even tried their first coup – the failed beer hall in Munich, Putsch, to seize power in Bavaria.

"This letter reveals to us the thoughts that Einstein's thoughts and heart went through in a very preparatory phase of the Nazi terror," said Meron Eren, co-owner of the Kedem Auction House in Jerusalem, who received the letter and The Associated Press offered a glimpse of public sales. "The relationship between Albert and Maja was very special and close, which gives Einstein a different dimension to the man and more authenticity in his writings."

The letter, which has no return address, is supposed to have been written while he was staying in the port city of Kiel before he embarked on a long tour through Asia.

"It's going well with me, despite all the anti-Semites among German colleagues, I'm very withdrawn here, without noise and without unpleasant feelings, and I earn my money mainly independent of the state, so I'm really a free man "he wrote. "You see, I am about to become a kind of traveling preacher, that is, firstly, pleasantly and secondly necessary."

Addressing his sister's concerns, Einstein writes: "Do not worry about me, I'm not worried, even though it is not completely kosher, people are very upset, in Italy it seems to be at least as bad."

Later in 1922 Einstein received the Nobel Prize for physics.

She & # 39; ev Rosenkranz, the assistant director of the Einstein Papers Project at Caltech, said the letter was not the first time that Einstein warned of German anti-Semitism, but it summed up his state of mind at this important crossroads after the murder of Rathenau. and the "internal exile" he briefly explained to himself.

"Einstein's initial reaction was one of panic and a desire to leave Germany for good, within a week he had changed his mind," he said. "The letter reveals a mentality that is typical of Einstein, in which he claims to be insensitive to external pressure. One reason may be to take away his sister's concerns. Another is that he did not like to admit that he was stressed by external factors. "

When the Nazis came to power and legislated against Jews, they also wanted to cleanse Jewish scientists. The Nazis rejected the groundbreaking work of Einstein, including his theory of relativity, as "Jewish physics."

Einstein renounced his German citizenship in 1933 after Hitler became Chancellor. The physicist settled in the United States, where he would stay until his death in 1955.

Einstein refused an invitation to serve as the first president of the newly established state of Israel, but left his literary legacy and personal papers to the Hebrew University.