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Einstein warned of antisemitism... years before Nazis seized power

MORE than a decade before the Nazis seized power in Germany, Albert Einstein was already fearful for his country's future, according to a newly- revealed handwritten letter.

His longtime friend and fellow Jew, German Foreign Minister Walther Rathenau, had just been assassinated by right-wing extremists and police had warned the noted physicist that his life could be in danger, too.

So Einstein fled Berlin and went into hiding in northern Germany. It was during this time that he penned a letter to his beloved younger sister, Maja, warning of the dangers of growing nationalism and antisemitism years before the Nazis ultimately rose to power, forcing Einstein to flee his native Germany for good.

"Out here, nobody knows where I am, and I'm believed to be away on a trip," he wrote in August, 1922. "Here are brewing politically dark times, so I'm happy to get away from everything."

The previously unknown letter, brought forward by an anonymous collector, was sold for 30,376 at an auction in Jerusalem on Tuesday.

The letter shows that Einstein - the most influential scientist of the 20th century was concerned about Germany's future a full year before the Nazis even attempted their first coup - the failed Munich Beer Hall Putsch - to seize power in Bavaria.

"This letter reveals to us the thoughts that were running through Einstein's mind and heart at a very preliminary stage of Nazi terror," said Meron Eren, co-owner of the Kedem Auction House in Jerusalem.

"The relationship between Albert and Maja was very close, which adds another dimension to Einstein the man and greater authenticity to his writings."

"I'm doing pretty well, despite all the antisemites among the German colleagues," he wrote. "I'm very reclusive here."

Later in 1922, Einstein was awarded the Nobel Prize in physics.

When the Nazis began enacting legislation against Jews, they also aimed to purge Jewish scientists. They dismissed Einstein's groundbreaking work, including his Law of Relativity, as "Jewish Physics".

Einstein renounced his German citizenship in 1933 after Hitler became chancellor. The physicist settled in America, where he would remain until his death in 1955.

Einstein declined an invitation to serve as the first president of the newly- established State of Israel but left behind his literary estate and personal papers to the Hebrew University.


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