Auctions | October 26, 2020

Philipp Lenard Letter Regarding Albert Einstein to be Auctioned

Courtesy of Nate D. Sanders Auctions

Los Angeles – An anti-Semitic letter by Nobel Prize-winning physicist Philipp Lenard regarding Albert Einstein and the Jewish people will be auctioned by Nate D. Sanders Auctions on October 29, 2020.

Lenard provided content on both his scientific work, and his rival Albert Einstein, who Lenard often dismissed as the leader of ''Jewish Physics.'' The letter was dated July 22, 1927 from Heidelberg, Germany. Lenard wrote to fellow Nobel Prize winning physicist Wilhelm Wien, who he believed shared his anti-Semitic views.

Lenard begins the letter by referring to his upcoming publications on ''Phosphorescence'' and the ''Photoelectric Effect,’’ and suggested ''the so-called Compton Effect'' would need to be covered more extensively in the article. He complained about Albert Einstein's recent acceptance into the prestigious Bavarian Academy of Sciences based in Munich. The anti-Semitic content continued, as Lenard believed Jews dominate the Academy, and that Max Planck ''is being pushed upwards because he is a patron of the Jews.’’ Later in the letter, Lenard even gave a chilling ironic prediction, wondering if future generations, when they read this letter, will even live in a world where non-Jews are still alive. At this time, in 1927, Munich was actually one of the more dangerous cities in Germany for Jews, with Einstein even refusing to visit it on his speaking tour a few years prior. The Nazi party was also rising in power, with Lenard (who coined the term ''Deutsche Physik'' or ''Aryan Physics''), one of its early supporters.

The letter in German reads in part, “…The Munich Academy - and probably I am not telling you anything new or anything improper or unfriendly on my part - with its Einstein action, which is still in the newspapers (even now, when the deception is very clear), has given somewhat unexpected testimony of its domination by Jews (Sommerfeld, Willstatter, as far as I know). Actually, only during rare glory days, even in the past, were academies (and thus universities as well) something better than they are today. A special center of the shallow intellectuality, by the way, is always Planck; he is being pushed upwards because he is a patron of the Jews, and thus the Jews are coming back up again as well…You probably will not want to write anything about this to me; but it is hardly necessary anyway; I think I know that you do not see any of this differently. If you preserve this letter, however, then perhaps later years will be able to judge from a newly won perspective (provided any non-Jewish persons are still alive then), whether at our time things were different from how I describe them…”

Bidding for the letter begins at $16,000.

Additional information on the letter can be found at: