D O C . 1 0 2 S E P T E M B E R 1 9 1 9 8 5
102. From Paul Epstein
Munich, 19 Krumbacher St., 11 September 1919
Highly esteemed Professor,
Forgive me, please, if I’m disturbing you once again. However, I am just in re-
ceipt of a letter from an influentially placed Zionist forwarded to me by a friend. It
contains the following passage:
“. . . Dr. Epstein will possibly be interested to hear that Prof. Einstein is interest-
ed in the University of Jerusalem; if he personally is not considering a teaching po-
sition, it is only because (or primarily because) he does not believe he can learn He-
brew sufficiently anymore. But what about Dr. Epstein himself? Wouldn’t he be
inclined to consult with Prof. Einstein, and poss., through him, with our people,
about this topic sometime? . .
.”[1]
You can see, Professor, that this correspondent is unfamiliar with the teaching
business and, as an old acquaintance, wishes me well; thence his naive assumption
that I could fill a post that had been designed for you. I do think, though, that teach-
ing positions at an institute that is only in the planning stage can be arranged in var-
ious ways, and if a regular professorship for theoretical physics is being envisioned,
I do have confidence that I could do justice to my duties. My wartime
captivity,[2]
in particular, as well as the present national chauvinism have enlightened me about
the dark sides of my former [cosmopolitanism] and have shown me how valuable
it is to be among one’s equals, where one is not regarded as an alien and an intruder.
Added to this is that due to the Bolshevists my financial situation has become un-
tenable and demands a salaried
position.[3]
For all these reasons I am tending to-
ward seriously considering the suggestion in the lines quoted and ask you please,
provided it is not inconvenient for you, to direct attention to me or even just to in-
form me whom I should approach.
Admittedly, my ev[entual] negotiations must at first be only of an informative
nature, as I obviously cannot commit myself before I know how the university is
organized, what means and libraries it has at its disposal, etc. The language ques-
tion would pose difficulties for me too, but I believe no insurmountable ones.
Yesterday we, in the company of Meyer, Bär, and Luchsinger, returned from the
science conference in
Lugano.[4]
As you had predicted, the dining pleasures, offi-
cial proceedings, and talks after other social events were so much in the forefront
that the section meetings were viewed by many simply as annoying interruptions.
Not much happened in our section: you can say without exaggeration, it was the
Zurichers amongst
themselves.[5]
Nevertheless, we met many interesting people
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