EINSTEIN, ALBERT. (1879-1955). German-born physicist, humanitarian and Nobel Prize winner; promulgator of the general and special theories of relativity. TLS. (“A. Einstein”). 1p. 4to. Princeton, March 26, 1955. On his blind embossed Princeton letterhead. To Israeli educator SIEGFRIED LEHMANN (1892-1958), founder of the Ben Shemen Youth Village. In German with translation.
His Last Wish for Israel: “The black clouds at the edge of Israel’s horizon will soon dissolve into peace and well-being”
Signed by Albert Einstein
“To Dr. Siegfried Lehman and all the good children who participated artfully in this work of charity.
The stunning sandals arrived yesterday in perfect condition and have already been inaugurated. As long as I shuffle back and forth I will remember you with love and gratitude. I wish you all and Ben Schemen a happy and fruitful time and that the black clouds at the edge of Israel’s horizon will soon dissolve into peace and well-being…”
In 1905, while working as a clerk at the Bern, Switzerland patent office, Einstein published four papers that laid the foundation for modern physics. Despite his prominence and winning the 1921 Nobel Prize in Physics, he, like so many academics of his time, was forced into exile in 1933 due to anti-Semitic persecution in Nazi Germany. Einstein immigrated to the U.S. and was attached to Princeton’s Institute for Advanced Study for the remainder of his life, becoming “the symbol and leader of the entire group of refugee scholars,” (Einstein: His Life and Times, Frank). Even though some Jewish scholars like Einstein were welcomed, immigration laws were strict and the forced emigration of Jews did not persuade the U.S. to open its borders. Nonetheless, Einstein helped whenever he could and, in addition to assisting many co-religionists flee Germany, he helped found and raise funds for Hebrew University and was offered (but declined) the Presidency of Israel.
Lehmann trained as a medical doctor in Berlin, during which time he met and began a friendship with Einstein. An ardent Zionist, Lehmann opened a home for children orphaned during the 1917 Revolution in Kovno, Lithuania. In 1926, he immigrated to Mandate Palestine with some of his charges and established the agricultural youth village in Ben Shemen. Einstein was a longtime supporter of the boarding school, as evidenced by our warm letter.
Following its establishment in 1948, Israel suffered frequent attacks from its Arab neighbors (the First Arab-Israeli War of 1948), leading up to the Suez Crisis and Second Arab-Israeli War of 1956. Folded with normal letter folds and in very fine condition; one of Einstein’s last letters: he died three weeks later on April 18, 1955. Letters by Einstein referring to the state of Israel are extremely rare!