Friday, October 14, 2011

14 grand for an Einstein letter

"Albert Einstein's letter on Nazis sold for $14,000"

October 12th, 2011


A 1939 letter from Albert Einstein warning of the "calamitous peril" to Jews posed by the Nazis has been sold at auction for nearly $14,000 (£9,000).

The Nobel-winning physicist's letter to a New York businessman, Hyman Zinn, sold for double its estimate at auction in the US state of California.

In the typed letter, Einstein praises Zinn for his work in helping Jews flee persecution in Adolf Hitler's Germany.

Einstein himself fled Germany for the US when Hitler came to power in 1933.

"It must be a source of deep gratification to you to be making so important a contribution toward rescuing our persecuted fellow-Jews from their calamitous peril and leading them toward a better future," he wrote.

The letter - described as in "very good to near fine condition" - sold for $13,936 including buyer's premium, said Los Angeles auction house Nate D Sanders.

Dated 10 June 1939, it has Einstein's embossed Princeton University address and the original mailing envelope.

The reserve price was between $5,000 and $7,000.

The author of the theory of general relativity wrote: "The power of resistance which has enabled the Jewish people to survive for thousands of years has been based to a large extent on traditions of mutual helpfulness.

"In these years of affliction our readiness to help one another is being put to an especially severe test. May we stand this test as well as did our fathers before us."

"Einstein Letter On Nazis Sells For Nearly $14K"

Letter Was Written 3 Months Before WWII Started


Richard Allen Greene


A letter from Albert Einstein warning of the persecution of Jews in Germany on the eve of World War II sold for nearly $14,000, about double the auctioneer's highest prediction.

The hand-signed letter went Tuesday night for $13,936, including the buyer's premium, said Sam Heller of the California auction house which sold it.

The auctioneer did not reveal who the buyer was.

The physicist writes of the importance of "rescuing our persecuted fellow-Jews from their calamitous peril and leading them toward a better future" in the June 10, 1939, letter.

Einstein praises New York businessman Hyman Zinn for his "splendid work" on behalf of refugees.

"We have no other means of self-defense than our solidarity and our knowledge that the cause for which we are suffering is a momentous and sacred cause," Einstein writes to Zinn, of the Manhattan Button Company.

The typewritten letter, hand-signed "A. Einstein," was written just under three months before the outbreak of World War II, when the persecution of Jews was already well underway.

Auctioneer Nate Sanders had expected the letter to go for $5,000 to $7,000.

It "contains powerful content showing that Einstein was devoted to the Jewish people," Sanders said in a statement.

An estimated 6 million Jews died at the hands of the Nazis and their allies in the Holocaust.

Einstein was born in Germany but renounced his citizenship in 1933, when Adolf Hitler became leader of Germany, and moved to the United States.

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