Der Jude Einstein

Commentary by Dr. Gerhard Falk


Der Jude Einstein; Einstein, the Jew


In the fall of 1923, professor Phillip Lenard, Nobel prize physicist and president of the German physics society, addressed his fellow physicists at a convention in Munich. One year had passed since Albert Einstein had been awarded the Nobel prize in physics from the Swedish academy. Reflecting on that award, Lenard said this: "Relativity is a Jewish fraud, which one could have suspected from the first with more racial knowledge than was then disseminated, since its originator Einstein was a Jew.  My disappointment was all the greater since a quite predominant number of the representatives of physics more or less conformed to the calculation pretenses (Rechengetue) of the Jews."

Note once more that Lenard was a world famous physicist who had won the Nobel prize himself. It is also significant that this attitude was expressed ten years before Hitler became the dictator of Germany, i.e. at a time when Germany was a democratic republic.

We see therefore that the antagonism expressed against Einstein already then devolved upon all Jews in Germany, so that the promotion of the Nazi party was not an imposition upon the German people but a popular cause.

Einstein was of course more fortunate than his Jewish contemporaries. Born in Ulm in 1879, Albert Einstein came from a middle class Jewish family which practiced no religion but could not and would not deny their Jewishness. Unlike many German Jews, the Einstein family did not convert to Chrsitianity pro forma but lived with the restrictions and obstacles which all Jews had always been forced to confront in Germany.

Albert Einstein was physically abnormal, although this was not visible in his lifetime. After his death in 1955 his brain was removed from his body and pickled. Since then researchers found that he had an unusually large inferior parietal lobe, which is the center of mathematical thought and spatial imagery. He therefore had shorter than normal connections between the frontal and temporal lobes. Einstein also had considerable musical ability, as did his mother, who played the violin as he did.

Einstein had three children by his first wife, a Serbian physicist. The eldest of his children, a girl, may have been adopted out or may have died in childhood. His second child, a son, become a distinguished professor of hydrolics at the University of California. He was not Jewish because his mother was not Jewish. Einstein had another son who died in a Swiss psychiatric hospital at a young age. Einstein married his cousin the second time but had no children with her.

Einstein practiced no religion but was not an atheist. He was a follower of Spinoza.  Spinoza thought that the evidence for the existence of God could be found in the laws of nature but not in the laws of men. Hence, Spinoza, like so many other writers and philosophers, denied the divinity of Torah and Jewish law. Einstein also distanced himself from the Jewish religion but nevertheless used that famous dictum that "God does not play dice with the universe." Einstein was not a relativist. That means that Einstein did not support the notion that ethics  and morals are merely the opinion of any beholder. In fact, Einstein believed the opposite. He always sought unity and was therefore never reconciled to quantum mechanics, which Heisenberg had developed and which rested on unpredictable elements in the basic laws of the universe.

Always conscious of his Jewishness, Einstein did a great deal to bring to this country numerous Jews endangered in  Nazi Germany in the 1930's when he was already a resident here. In fact, it has been said that Einstein influenced the migration of so many Jewish intellectuals to the United States during the years 1933-1940 that American intellectual life became Jewish thereafter. This is largely the case, since Jews are at least ten times over-represented in the academic world if we consider that we are only 1.8% of the American population. Nothing better ever happened to American higher education. In fact, the influence of that intellectual migration on the American academy is so great that entire areas of study, such as art history, did not even exist in this country until the Jewish refugees from Naziland founded these studies here. Most important of course was the development of the atomic bomb, which was almost entirely the work of refugee Jewish physicists brought here with the help of Einstein.

Albert Einstein was a great Zionist. He spoke everywhere in favor of the establishment of a Jewish homeland in Eretz Yisrael and used his great influence on behalf of the Jews of Israel to such an extent that he was offered the presidency when Israel became independent in 1948. Einstein refused the offer on the grounds that he did not view himself as a  politician.

In December, 1999, Time magazine named Albert Einstein "Man of the Century." This speaks so well of our fellow countrymen who were not deterred by the well known fact that Einstein was a Jew and an immigrant. In any other country that would surely not have been possible. It happened here because, to paraphrase Winston Churchill, "America is the worst form of society in the world, except for all the others."

Shalom u'vracha.


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