Albert Einstein (1879-1955). Autograph letter signed (‘Albert’) to Michele Besso, Princeton, 10 October 1938.

In German, two pages, 279 x 215mm, on paper with blind-stamped address heading. Envelope.

Please note this is the property of a private consignor.
Published in Pierre Speziali (ed.) Albert Einstein. Michele Besso. Correspondance 1903-1955. Paris: Hermann, 1972. No. 129
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Lot Essay

On his efforts to help Jewish refugees from Germany, and the consolations of work in a desolate world.

Einstein has provided as many affidavits as he possibly can – he can do no more; the weight of human misery, and his limited means to help, drive him almost to despair. He responds cynically to Besso's confidence in the English and Neville Chamberlain: 'O sancta simpl[icitas]! He is sacrificing Eastern Europe in the hope that Hitler will want to let off steam against Russia. But we will see that here too slyness has short legs'. Einstein despairs of Europe's future, and even feels sceptical with regard to America. 'I wouldn't want to go on living if I didn't have my work. In any case it's good that we are already old and so at least as an individual need no longer count on a distant future'. He sends his latest work, which again aims to undermine the statistical approach to physics. The letter concludes by congratulating Besso on having reached a well-deserved retirement: 'you can devote yourself in your last years to reflection'.

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Einstein: Letters to a Friend Part I
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