A rare handwritten letter signed by Albert Einstein, criticizing Britain’s appeasement, has been auctioned.
The 1936 letter to Danish journalist Karen Stampe Bendix was written against a backdrop of rapid Nazi movement.
The letter resonates in today’s conflict in Ukraine – Western countries are once again faced with the decision of whether Russian threats and aggression can be stopped through diplomacy. by sending military assistance to Ukraine.
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Despite being an ardent pacifist, Einstein insisted the world had no choice but to confront Germany and even take the initiative in obtaining arms.
And he reinforced the conciliatory stance of the powers in the free world – especially the London government for not standing up to Hitler in the hope that he would halt his conquests.
The letter, which was put up for auction at the Kedem Auction House in Jerusalem, read: “Most unfortunate is Britain’s weak position, insofar as Britain actually delayed the start of the war, but certainly did not. can be prevented. It is best to intervene three years ago. There are diseases that cannot be cured without surgery. I can’t deny this even though I am disgusted with the cutlery.”
It is undated but is believed to have been written in 1936 – two years before the Munich Agreement between Britain and Germany was hailed by UK Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain as “peaceful in our time”. But Hitler ordered the invasion of Poland, which had sparked World War II just 13 months later.
Einstein begs Stampe to be comfortable in her own situation – Denmark, her home country, “is not threatened by the impending storm”. He promised her that “even in the midst of economic hardship, there is a strange consolation that there is no better place on earth.”
But his hopes were in vain – despite a non-aggression pact it had signed with Germany, Denmark was attacked and occupied by the Nazis in 1940.
The letter also spoke to her about the mood in the United States: He said: “There is also heavy unemployment here, and unlike the situation in the past, [there is] a pessimistic resignation to the situation. On the other hand, the difficult circumstances here have not led to the hot political passions that are so familiar to us from Europe.”
Einstein, whose theory of general and specific relativity turned our understanding of the physical world and the stars upside down, considered himself a passionate pacifist.
The letter is expected to fetch $25,000, or £20,000.
Meron Eren, director and co-founder of Kedem Auction House, said: “For all that he is, he opposes military conflict in all its forms.
“Despite his long-standing commitment to pacifism, Adolf Hitler’s aggressive territorial ambitions convinced Einstein that Nazi ideology posed a clear and present danger to Jews as well. Europe and European civilization, and Hitler must be stopped at all costs, sooner rather than later.”