Einstein letter on Nazis sells for nearly $14,000

A typewritten letter signed by Albert Einstein three months before the outbreak of World War II sold for nearly $14,000.

Story highlights

  • Einstein warns that "our fellow-Jews" face "calamitous peril"
  • His letter sells for nearly twice as much as the highest prediction
  • Jews were already being persecuted in Nazi Germany by 1939, when he wrote it
  • An estimated six million Jews died in the Holocaust
A letter from Albert Einstein warning of the persecution of Jews in Germany on the eve of World War II sold for nearly $14,000, about double the auctioneer's highest prediction.
The hand-signed letter went Tuesday night for $13,936, including the buyer's premium, said Sam Heller of the California auction house which sold it.
The auctioneer did not reveal who the buyer was.
The physicist writes of the importance of "rescuing our persecuted fellow-Jews from their calamitous peril and leading them toward a better future" in the June 10, 1939, letter.
Einstein praises New York businessman Hyman Zinn for his "splendid work" on behalf of refugees.
"We have no other means of self-defense than our solidarity and our knowledge that the cause for which we are suffering is a momentous and sacred cause," Einstein writes to Zinn, of the Manhattan Button Company.
The typewritten letter, hand-signed "A. Einstein," was written just under three months before the outbreak of World War II, when the persecution of Jews was already well underway.
Auctioneer Nate Sanders had expected the letter to go for $5,000 to $7,000.
It "contains powerful content showing that Einstein was devoted to the Jewish people," Sanders said in a statement.
An estimated six million Jews died at the hands of the Nazis and their allies in the Holocaust.
Einstein was born in Germany but renounced his citizenship in 1933, when Adolf Hitler became leader of Germany, and moved to the United States.