1 6 4 D O C U M E N T 1 0 9 S E P T E M B E R 1 9 1 9
ALS (NeHR, Archief H. A. Lorentz). [16 475].
Arco et al. 1919, drawn up by members of a private commission investigating German war
crimes (see Doc. 28). For the ten authors (including Einstein) listed in the first version of the Lille
booklet, see Doc. 28, note 3.
The introduction takes a defensive tone on behalf of Germany on several points, stating that, had
American, English, or French troops occupied Germany during the war, they too would not have acted
as “pure angels” (“reine Engel”; Arco et al. 1919, p. 4). Despite the booklet’s intention to address Ger-
man guilt for war crimes, it claims that individuals were not guilty of these acts, which were instead
caused by the psychosis of war. It also argues that none of the belligerents were culpable, that “the
war itself is to blame, it has committed crimes against all of us” (“der Krieg selbst trägt die Schuld,
er hat an uns allen gefrevelt”), and that all of the belligerent states should establish similar commis-
sions to investigate their own conduct of the war (pp. 3 and 5).
The section on German documents deals only with health and economic measures taken by the
German military, including suppressing prostitution (see Arco et al. 1919, pp. 22–58), although the
section containing the protest statement by the intellectuals of Lille, France, describes a forced march
of 10,000 women and other similar war crimes (pp. 8–21).
At the beginning of August, Einstein admitted that members of the commission had not con-
sulted the documentary evidence before he left for Switzerland, and implied that there was strong
resistance to allowing the commission access to such materials (see Doc. 80). At least one copy of the
first (withdrawn) version (Arco et al. 1919), published in Berlin, made its way to the Netherlands (see
Documents on alleged wartime atrocities in Louvain, Belgium, made available for the perusal of
Einstein and Lorentz by Adriaan Noyons (see Doc. 76).
Doc. 98 and Doc. 101, in which Paul Ehrenfest invited him to consider an appointment in
Caused by the recent flaring up of Einstein’s stomach condition (see Doc. 103).
During this period, German science was boycotted by many international scholars and scientific
institutions, particularly from the Allied countries.
The epilogue to the first version of the Lille booklet (Arco et al. 1919) stresses the need for the
German public to understand the reasons for the moral blockade of their country. It argues that gaining
familiarity with the documentation presented is a first step toward embracing true morality (“Sittlich-
keit”) rather than the “so-called morality of the state” (“sogenannte Staatsmoral”; p. 59).
As Einstein had emphasized four years earlier, many of the signatories of the “Manifesto to the
Civilized World” had not read it before signing, while others had given their approval over the tele-
phone (see Einstein to Hendrik A. Lorentz, 2 August 1915 [Vol. 8, Doc. 103], and to Romain Rolland,
15 September 1915 [Vol. 8, Doc. 118]). On the process leading to the Manifesto, see Brocke 1985.
At the beginning of August, Einstein similarly held that scientific boycotts create a “school of
modesty” from which scholars might benefit (see Doc. 80).
109. From Paul Ehrenfest
[Leyden,] 21. IX. 1919
Dein Brief hat mich mit warmer stolzer Freude erfüllt, obwohl er mir einen dik-
ken Strich durch die Rechnung macht. Und alle, die Dich hier lieb haben, werden
es genau ebenso
— • —
Unmittelbar nach Empfang Deines Briefes gerieht ich erst noch in’s Fegefeuer: