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November 15, 1985 - Image 38

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1985-11-15

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38

Friday, November 15, 1985 THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS

PURELY COMMENTARY

Albert Einstein: Remarkable Sage

Continued from Page 2

formal way to bring the situation
to the attention of influential
Russians. As he did not know
any, Einstein could only renew
his offer to help if the proper oc-
casion came along.
Von Dardel responded on
June 9 with a request, repeated
on October 20, that Einstein write
a brief personal letter to Stalin.
Late in October Einstein con-
sented to write Stalin, and von
Dardel on November 8 suggested
the wording, which Einstein sub-
sequently used verbatim. In addi-
tion, von Dardel requested that
Einstein support efforts to nomi-
nate Wallenberg for the Nobel
Peace Prize, which he also
agreed to do, although he noted
that he was only permitted to
nominate in the categories of
physics and chemistry. The letter
to Stalin, dated November 17,
1947 read:
"Dear Mr. Stalin:"As an old Jew
I appeal to you to do everything
possible to find and send back to
his country the Swede Raoul
Wallenberg. who was one of the
very few who. during the bad
years of Nazi persecution on his
own accord and risking his own
life, worked to rescue thousands
of my unhappy Jewish people."
Einstein sent the letter to the
charge de'affairs at the Soviet
Embassy in Washington so as to
prevent it from falling into the
hands of the American press. He
explained to the charge that he
was acting for reasons of con-
science, and not out of political
considerations. A month later,
the embassy reported that Stalin
had received the letter and that a
search failed to produce "any
positive results." In a final letter
to von Dardel on December 22,
Einstein noted, "It is clear that
the remarks (of the charge d'af-
fairs) refer to investigations
which allegedly have been been
made before."
Einstein's failure to help se-
cure Raoul Wallenberg's release
from the Soviet Union would not
be surprising under ordinary cir-
cumstances. However, by the
time of this incident a period of
extreme brutalization, even by
Stalin's standards, was under
way.

The revealing aspects in Einstein's
experiences in this country are volumin-
ous. They are based on hitherto unpub-
lished letters and the scientist's com-
munications with people of prominence
during the era of Nazism and the years
of his association with Zionist leaders,
especially Dr. Stephen S. Wise, Chaim
Weizmann and others.
Especially revealing is a statement
by Stephen Wise criticizing President
Franklin D. Roosevelt for failure to act
against the anti-Semitic Nazi atrocities.
An Einstein visit with President
Roosevelt was opposed by Dr. Abraham
Flexner, organizer and director of the In-
stitute for Advanced Studies at Prince-
ton University with which Einstein be-
came associated upon coming to this
country. The dispute with Flexner did
not lack bitterness. Einstein eventually
met with Roosevelt at the White House
and they became friends. But there was
a dispute, obstacles later having been
overcome. Stephen Wise was the inter-
mediary and in his desire for Einstein
and FDR to meet he had the hope of the

Raoul Wallenberg

President joining in the protests against
the Nazi anti-Semicac terror. As Sayen
relates in the Einstein biography:
Flexner took it upon himself
to refuse all requests addressed
to Einstein for interviews,
dinners, benefits, and lectures. In
general, Einstein appreciated the
protective shield the director of
the institute had thrown up
around him, but protection gave
way to meddling when Flexner
declined, in Einstein's name, an
invitation to visit President
Franklin D. Roosevelt at the
White House. The idea for a
White House visit for Einstein
originated with Rabbi Stephen S.
Wise, Einstein's most direct link
with the leaders of American
Jewry.
The day after Einstein's arri-
val in Princeton, Wise wrote to
Judge Julian Mack, another
Jewish leader: "Could not F.D.R.
be moved to invite Einstein to
visit him in the White House? We
have had nothing but indif-
ference and unconcern up to this
time. Perhaps we can have some-
thing of help ... It would make
such a fine impression if the
President were, at the instance
preferably of some Christian
friend ... to invite Einstein ..."
Mack replied that unless Einstein
were spared publicity Flexner
would oppose the invitation.
On October 20 Wise shot
back: "We are not doing it for the
sake of publicity. Einstein has
nothing to gain. F.D.R. has not
lifted a finger on behalf of the
Jews of Germany, and this would
be little enough, and to have
Einstein at the White House is at
least as honoring to F.D.R. as to
Einstein." The same day Wise
passed his suggestion along to
Charles Burlingham, one of
Roosevelt's advisers, and soon an
invitation was extended.
In this connection it should be indi-
cated that Harvard University refused to
welcome Einstein to its faculty, although
the scientist offered to join the univer-
sity without fees. It relates to the anti-
Semitism of the then president of Har-
vard, Dr. A. L. Lowell. This also recalls
a Zionist connection. Einstein had been
invited to come to the U.S. in 1920 to
associate with Weizmann in fundraising
for the Zionist cause. As Sayen recalls in
Einstein in America..
In February 1921, after Eins-
tein agreed to accompany Weiz-
mann to America, he wrote to
Princeton and other American
universities to offer his services
without financial conditions, rea-

soning that this might be bene-
ficial to the Zionist cause.
In March leaders of the
Zionist Organization of America
cabled Weizmann urging that
Einstein's trip be canceled be-
cause his negotiations with the
universities had aroused so much
protest that, they feared, his visit
at this time would be disastrous.
Weizmann refused to heed the
cables and ordered the ZOA to
smooth over any problems. Then
a problem with Harvard arose
and Weizmann received a tele-
gram reading "Harvard abso-
lutely declines Einstein."
Whether Harvard declined be-
cause of the charges against
Einstein or because of his Zionist
connection is unknown. How-
ever. the following year, Har-
vard's President A. L. Lowell ad-
vocated official Quotas on Jewish
students to avoid anti-Semitism
on the campus"
Dr. Einstein joined the Zionist ranks
early in life. Sayen, after explanatory
reviews of the rise of the extreme hatred
of Jews, leading up to the rise of Hit-
ierism, explains the genesis of Einstein's
devotion:
After the war, the Zionist
Union of Germany, in an effort to
strengthen cultural Zionist work,
compiled a list of prominent
Jewish intellectuals whom they
wished to recruit to support the
cause. Einstein's name, still al-
most unknown outside scientific
circles, was on the list, and in
February 1919 Kurt Blumenfeld,
director of propaganda for the
German Zionists, approached
him in Berlin.
Blumenfeld discovered that
Einstein had scant knowledge of
or interest in the movement and
was reluctant to become in-
volved. Einstein embraced
Zionism only after long delibera-
tion, when he concluded that it
was a movement dedicated to
winning spiritual freedom for the
Jews, and that the colonization
process was free of profiteering
and exploitation.

Einstein's loyalties to Zionism were
never interrupted. He befriended Weiz-
mann and he admired him, but they had
serious differences over the Hebrew Uni-
versity's functions. There were disputes
over his extreme positions against
nationalism. They were all patched up.
Advocating discussions with Arabs,
Einstein met with an Arab League
leader and they became friends. He
criticized failure to pursue such efforts in
the early stages of Zionism. His associa-
tion with the short-lived Brith Shalom
movement which advocated a bi-national
Palestinian state, coupled with his con-
demnations of nationalism created
furors. But he remained a Zionist and
when Israel was reborn he was uncom-
promisingly critical of British rule in
Palestine and he joined in the jubilation
over the emergence of Israel's statehood,
conceding that bi-nationalism was im-
practical.
The personal aspects in Einstein's
life are numerous here, expecially in the
recollections about his children and his
associates in Princeton.
Einstein in. America contains much
that is repetitive from the scores of vol-
umes written about the famous scientist.
The hitherto unpublished merit notable
emphasis on an interestingly compiled
biography.

Kelly As Merited
Bonds Honoree

Frank Kelly

To the score or more honorees for
services rendered to important causes
will be added the name of one of the
state's most prominent personalities.
Attorney General Frank Kelly has
been selected by the attorney's division
of State of Israel Bonds for an award
recognizing his deep interest in Israel's
progress and the encouragement he has
given through the years in Israel's up-
building.
The well-deserved honor gives em-
phasis to the role the eminent Michigan
official had in advocating American ac-
tion in Israel's defense, his endorsement
of military and economic aid for the
Jewish state, his visits to Israel for inti-
mate studies of the causes to which he
had given his personal endorsements and
support.
There is a particular interest in the
selection of Frank Kelly fOr a specific
honor by the Israel Bonds Organization
because it has assumed a statewide
alignment. Understandably, a most emi-
nent national personality, Massachu-
setts' U.S. Senator Edward M. Kennedy,
will share with Governor James J. Blan-
chard the platform of speakers who will
express the appreciation due the honoree
for his many tasks in support of Israel's
position in the Middle East. All of them
had equal roles in Israel's behalf.
Therefore, the addition of the Frank
Kelly name to the list of honorees of the
year chosen by major causes is a com-
mendable action. It becomes statewide
acclaim for one of Michigan's most dedi-
cated civil servants.

People's 'Perspectives'
In Goldstein Memoirs

When the memoirs of Israel Golds-
tein were published by Herzl Press
under the title My World As a Jew, They
were acclaimed as valuable commen-
taries on world events, with emphasis on
Jewry and Israel, by one of American
Jewry's most distinguished personalities.
Now, Jewish Perspectives, published
in Israel by Keter Publishing House of
Jerusalem, adds a supplement to the
previous immense work, combining to
make the three volumes a veritable
documentary in Jewish archives.
Perspectives contains the texts of
Goldstein's major addresses, sermons,
broadcasts and newspaper and magazine
articles spoken and published from 1915
to 1984.
The newest is remarkable in many
respects. It is multi-lingual. It covers
some six decades of public services and

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