A letter by Albert Einstein on the subject of Adolf Hitler is coming to auction later this month.
The text is dated October 1938 - soon after British prime minister Neville Chamberlain signed the Munich Agreement, allowing Hitler to annex a large portion of Czechoslovakia.
Hitler predicted war a year before it broke out
The policy of appeasement was controversial and in the end proved ineffectual. The following year Hitler invaded Poland, kicking off world war two.
Einstein saw all this coming.
He’d been living in the US since 1933, when the Nazis took power, and watched helplessly as Europe went up in flames.
The letter is addressed to Einstein’s old friend Michele Besso. The two men studied together in Geneva in the late 1800s and remained close friends throughout their lives.
Einstein writes: “You have confidence in the British and even Chamberlain? O sancta simpl... ['Oh holy innocence', i.e., naivete in Latin].
“Hoping that Hitler might let off steam by attacking Russia, he sacrifices Eastern Europe.
“But we will come to see once more that shrewdness does not win in the long term…
“I do not have any hope left for the future of Europe.”
The lot is offered with an opening bid of $25,000 at Nate D Sanders on August 24.
We’re seeing huge demand for Einstein letters this year.
Those that reference his scientific theories are the most sought after.
A July auction of Einstein’s correspondence with Besso proved a spectacular hit, with one letter on the cosmological constant selling for £293,000 ($376,866).
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