D O C U M E N T 1 5 6 N O V E M B E R 1 9 1 9 2 2 3
The previous month, Einstein had agreed to sign an appeal for the Palestine Foundation Fund (Ker-
en Hayesod; see Doc. 132), and sometime in 1919 he first attended a Zionist meeting (see I. Moos to
Central-Verein, 29 December 1919, Nachl. Moritz Sobernheim, 1287/1349277–78 in Niewyk 1980,
p. 146, fn. 100).
A conference to begin planning for a university in Jerusalem (see Doc. 147). Twelve days later,
Hugo Bergmann sent a copy of Einstein’s letter to the Central Zionist Bureau in Berlin. He requested
that a picture of Einstein be sent urgently to the Zionist Organisation in London as he was “the hero
of the day” (“der Held des Tages”) and “[a]ll the newspapers are besieging us for one.” (“Alle Zeitun-
gen bestürmen uns drum.”; Hugo Bergmann to Julius Berger, 17 November 1919, IsJCZA, Z3/1673).
On the perception of Einstein within the Zionist movement during this period, see Rosenkranz 1994.
Arthur Ruppin met with Einstein on 17 November in Berlin to discuss Einstein’s recommenda-
tions regarding which Jewish intellectuals would be interested in plans for the Hebrew University. In
their discussions, Einstein recommended that Paul Ehrenfest (erroneously referred to by Ruppin as
“Prof. Ehrenfeld von der Universität in Leyden, Fachmann für pädagogische Fragen”) and Paul
Epstein be invited by the Zionist Organisation to the planned scholars’ conference about the univer-
sity. The location of the conference was also discussed. According to Einstein, due to the high cur-
rency exchange rates, holding the conference in a neutral country would make participation for
scholars from the Central Powers “enormously expensive.” Ruppin therefore advocated that such par-
ticipants be reimbursed for their travel expenses (Arthur Ruppin to the Culture Department of the
Zionist Organisation, London, 18 November 1919, IsJCZA, Z3/690).
In the last four years, Epstein had used Niels Bohr’s theory of atomic structure to explain the
Stark effect and the fine structure of the hydrogen spectrum (see, e.g., Epstein 1916a, 1916b, 1917,
Epstein had informed Einstein of his willingness to learn Hebrew a few weeks earlier (see
While Einstein was visiting Paul Ehrenfest in the Netherlands.
Edmund Landau (1877–1938), son of Leopold Landau, was Professor of Mathematics at the
University of Göttingen and Richard Courant (1888–1972) was Privatdozent there. Bergmann had
requested the names of interested individuals (see Doc. 147). A transcription of Einstein’s letter was
forwarded by Bergmann to Weizmann eleven days later (see Hugo Bergmann to Chaim Weizmann,
16 November 1919, IsReWW).
In autumn 1916, Einstein characterized the persons whom he met in 1911–12 in the Fanta salon
in Prague, including Hugo Bergmann, as a small group of individuals who were “philosophically and
Zionistically contaminated” (“philosophisch und zionistisch verseucht[en]”; see Einstein to Hedwig
Born, 8 September 1916 [Vol. 8, Doc. 257]). Bergmann later recounted that Einstein never discussed
Judaism with him while in Prague (see Bergman 1974, p. 390).
Else Fanta Bergmann.
156. To Jean Perrin
Berlin, le 5 novembre 19.
J’ai reçu vos separatas et je vous remercie
Votre opinion de
l’importance primaire de la radiation pour toutes les réactions chimiques me sem-
ble encore douteuse, même s’il était sûr (ce que n’est pas le cas), que les réactions
du type J2 → J + J soient du premier ordre. Il serait possible par exemple, que les
molécules J2 dont l’énergie interieure surpasse une certaine limite se décompo-
seraient conformement aux corps