Einstein letter on Austria’s anti-Semitism up for auction

Handwritten letter by Albert Einstein expressing fictitious support for Austria's anti-Semitic policies to be auctioned in Jerusalem.

Ben Ariel ,

Albert Einstein
Albert Einstein

A handwritten letter by Albert Einstein expressing fictitious support for anti-Semitic policies enacted by Austria will go on the auction block, JTA reported Tuesday.

The letter, dated September 30, 1936, was written shortly before Austria’s annexation by Nazi Germany and addressed to Jacob Billikopf, an American-Jewish social activist and philanthropist who was working on getting as many Jews in Europe to escape Nazi Germany and to immigrate to the United States.

It was written in response to an article sent to Einstein by Billikopf claiming that the Austrian government adopted anti-Semitic policies for the benefit of its Jews, according to JTA.

“Especially interesting is the part dealing with the attitude of the Austrian government toward the Jews, and it is even reasonable – a speck of ‘discrimination’ so as to protect us from the wrath of the masses,” the famed Jewish-German physicist wrote. “That is certainly a good point (and look at the American universities).”

Einstein’s mention of US universities is believed to refer to established quotas of Jewish students in at least several prominent educational institutions at the time.

The letter will go up for auction at Kedem Auction House in Jerusalem on Wednesday. The opening bid is set at $10,000 and it is expected to sell for as much as $30,000.

Letters and other items associated with the famed Jewish scientist have been auctioned in recent years.

In June of 2017, Winners sold letters written by Einstein about God, Israel and physics for nearly $210,000, with the highest bid going to a missive about God's creation of the world.

Last year, a violin once owned by the legendary physicist sold for $516,500 at the New York-based Bonhams auction house.

In June of 2018, a letter co-written by Einstein and his wife on the day he renounced his German citizenship, after realizing he could not return due to the rise of the Nazis, was sold at an auction in Los Angeles.

And, in December, a handwritten letter by Einstein on religion, his Jewish identity and his search for meaning in life was sold at an auction for nearly $3 million.