Nov 20, 2014 - Sale 2367

Sale 2367 - Lot 78

Price Realized: $ 18,750
?Final Price Realized includes Buyer’s Premium added to Hammer Price
Estimate: $ 15,000 - $ 25,000
"NOT STANDING UP FOR ONE'S RIGHTS IS TO BLAME FOR THE WHOLE POLITICAL PLIGHT" EINSTEIN, ALBERT. Three items Signed, "Einstein" or "A. Einstein," each to Paul Hertz, in German: two Autograph Letters * Autograph Postcard. In the first two, Einstein is criticizing Hertz for his cowardice and stating that a similar failing is responsible for the political crisis. The last, offering a profuse apology. The letters, each 1 page, 8vo; horizontal fold. The postcard, 1 1/2 pages, oblong 12mo, written on the recto and verso. With Hertz's original letter sent in reply. [Berlin, October 1915]

Additional Details

3 October, postcard: "At least your caution can't hurt, even though it seems to me to go a bit far. . . . I must say, however, that this kind of circumspection, or not standing up for one's rights, is to blame for the whole political plight. We can talk about that when we see each other again."
[5? October]: ". . . Resign from the association immediately, for you have that kind of bold attitude that the power holders so love about Germans. People like you from the most cultivated class offer the best guarantee for preserving the political quagmire (forever, amen). Don't be offended at my crassness; rather, rest assured that I love your spirit, even as I lament the weakness of your spine. The latter I consider to be not innate but a fruit of your upbringing. Best regards from your docile Einstein."
9 October: "I cannot bear knowing that I have offended you. You must excuse me, taking into account that I--as you yourself correctly state--have devoted myself to the understanding of people less diligently than to that of nature. (For otherwise, how does one ever get around to dealing with nature?) I am willing to do whatever it takes to make it up to you and ask only that you tell me soon that you want to extend your hand to me in friendship once again. My temper got the better of me. Even if your indignation causes you to hold a perpetual grudge against me, I will think of you amicably."
Before receiving Einstein's apology, Hertz wrote a reply from Göttingen on October 8 [present]: ". . . It is my firm conviction that [insulting me] was not justified by my letters, but I see no reason to explain this to you, other than to say that it is impossible for me to continue the correspondence."
Complete transcriptions and translations into English available.
Paul Hertz (1881-1940), a relation of the physicist Heinrich Rudolf Hertz, was a mathematician and theoretical physicist, who made important contributions in the foundations of mathematics and statistical mechanics.