8 8 D O C . 1 0 5 S E P T E M B E R 1 9 1 9
105. From Erwin Freundlich
Schlossberg-Rosenheim, 15 September 1919
Dear Mr. Einstein,
I wanted to send you greetings from our summer retreat, yet I do so not with a
postcard but with a letter, as I have been carrying around some thoughts with me
for a few days now that I would like to discuss with you.
Dr. Berliner writes me that you think a few changes for the 3rd edition are
necessary.[1]
I am going to take the matter in hand and set it right immediately upon
my return home. The news did, I frankly admit, cut me to the quick, for I do not
know whether what you have to criticize is due to a poor way of expressing myself
or to a fundamentally erroneous interpretation of specific things, for which I could
not forgive myself, since one always does hope to have achieved a certain level of
proficiency and thus feels something like this as a setback. If it is all right with you,
we can discuss the doubtful questions thoroughly again.
Additionally, the following occupies my mind. It is an uncomfortable thought
for me that by my request for a raise in salary—although it was determined only by
very exceptional financial circumstances—I burden your institute’s budget so
heavily.[2]
With the best of intentions, I cannot give back more than I am dealt.
Would this not be possible without taxing your institute’s resources? That is why I
would like to get some sort of a position. I made inquiries of the Springer publishers
through Dr. Berliner, but still have not heard anything and also don’t believe that I
can hope for anything along that
course.[3]
Nicest would be if you could succeed in
arranging that I obtain an observer’s position at Potsdam; I, though, would prefer a
teaching assignment at the
university.[4]
I shall tell you why. Despite the apparently
great willingness to cooperate with me in Potsdam, we must not delude ourselves
about the fact that this is conditional only upon the institute’s not bearing respon-
sibility for my
work.[5]
I believe I am not mistaken when I say that all the gentlemen
at Potsdam, even Director Müller, want to cover their rear on the point of the gen.
theory of relativity and not advocate its verification any more than by allowing you
informally to grant me the opportunity to work independently at their
institute.[6]
I
noticed this shortly before my departure: just in little things, such as the reception
of a short note by Campbell at the Lick Observatory in which he reportedly could
not detect the effect of light deflection at the solar elipse of 1918 (or ’17). This short
note, which appeared, I believe, in Nature or in Popular Astronomy, contained little
more than this assertion. The solar eclipse of 1917 or ’18 had, to my knowledge,
only a very brief totality, and the weather conditions during the same were, as far
as I have heard, not favorable either. Thus C.’s result carries no great weight, espe-
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