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Jewish Journal

Einstein letter on refugees sold for $13,936

Tom Tugend

October 10, 2011 | 4:28 pm

Albert Einstein

See below for complete letter.

A 1939 letter written by Albert Einstein to a New York businessman, was sold Tuesday evening by a Los Angeles auction house for $13,936, double the anticipated price.

“We [Jews] 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 wrote to Hyman Zinn, of the Manhattan Button Co., three months before the outbreak of World War II, praising him for his efforts to aid Jewish refugees from Germany and Austria.

In the typed letter, signed A. Einstein and on his personal embossed stationery, the great scientist told Zinn
“The power of resistance which has enabled the Jewish people to survive for thousands of years has been based to a large extent on traditions of mutual helpfulness.

“In these years of affliction our readiness to help one another is being put to an especially severe test. May we stand this test as well as did our fathers before us.”

In conclusion, Einstein told Zinn that “It must be a source of deep gratification to you to be making so important a contribution toward rescuing our persecuted fellow-Jews from their calamitous peril and leading them toward a better future.”

Nate D. Sanders, owner of the West Los Angeles auction house bearing his name, told The Journal that the letter had been consigned by a Norman Zinn, presumably a descendant of the original recipient.

One day before the auction deadline, the highest bid stood at $3,058, and Sanders, whose company specializes in autographs by famous personalities, had expected to sell the letter for no more than $5,000 to $7,000.

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