Einstein's letters on God, religion to be auctioned in US

Last Updated 17 May 2015, 10:41 IST

Rare and intimate letters from renowned physicist Albert Einstein, including two that reflect his views on God and religion, are set to fetch between USD 15,000 to USD 40,000 each at an auction in the US.

The assemblage of over 25 lots of documents and memorabilia which is up for auction encompasses personal handwritten autograph letters from Einstein to his family including sons Hans Albert Einstein and Edouard Einstein, and his ex-wife Mileva Maric in addition to others.

The letters show his thoughts (and theories) on the Atomic Bomb, Relativity Theory, his impactful ideas on God and religion, in addition to a highly notable letter stating he will "not be returning to Germany, perhaps never again" once Hitler reached power.

"We have amassed an extremely magnificent group of personal and profound handwritten Einstein letters covering a vast amount of subject matter," said Joseph Maddalena, President and CEO of Profiles in History, which will auction the letters on June 11.

"These letters depict his inner most views, offering intriguing content as only Einstein can, this collection is an embodiment of the physicist life's work," Maddalena said.
Leading the collection are two substantially significant letters regarding Einstein's thoughts on God and religion.

The first letter dated July 1945, to Mr Guy H Raner Jr states, "From the viewpoint of a Jesuit priest I am, of course, and have always been an atheist." It is expected to fetch over USD 15,000.

Four years later, in a second letter in September 1949, Einstein wrote to Raner reiterating his disbelief in a personal God as a childlike notion, but disparaging atheism and declaring himself agnostic.

A pre-auction estimate has been set at USD 15,000.

Einstein's letter to his son, Hans, less than a month following the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, discuss the connection between his Special Relativity Theory and the Atomic Bomb, on his 'holy grail' Unified Field Theory, stating he is probably too old to develop it into tangible results.

The letter, dated September 1945, is expected to procure USD 40,000.

As German anti-semitism and Nazi deaths threats grew, Einstein was forced to consider a move from Germany, and in November 1923 wrote a letter to his children pondering giving up his position in Germany (at the Prussian Academy of Sciences) and discusses German politics and the Jewish people. The letter is pre-estimated at USD 20,000.

A letter in March of 1933, written in German to his son Eduard, that he was renouncing his German citizenship is expected to fetch USD 20,000.

Other key documents to be offered include a personal letter to Einstein's ex-wife, Mileva Maric, regarding Hans prospective marriage, followed by writings on his unhappiness with the 'thorny' state of theoretical physics despite the success of his Relativity Theory. 

(Published 17 May 2015, 10:41 IST)

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