1 0 0 D O C . 1 1 7 O C T O B E R 1 9 1 9
117. From Paul Oppenheim
Frankfurt-am-M[ain], 1 October 1919
My esteemed Professor,
Now I am rewarded for my awkwardness by even a second long, kind letter! My
sincere delight about the result of the solar-eclipse expedition is greater still than
my self-reproach for having thus taken up your valuable time again. In the face of
this gratification, the disappointment almost vanishes that the Germans were not
the ones to find this
confirmation.[1]
I congratulate you with all my heart and am so
pleased to have learned about this dramatically awaited, breath-taking result direct-
ly in this way.
How tragic that, against such exalted feelings, your letter brings profoundly
serious news about your
mother.[2]
You know and must hear again that in this I
sympathize with you as well.
Without the least hesitation nor the least action by you, your lines led me to re-
quest applying [one] 1000.– marks as follows:
Either, bestowal on Landau in my name, provided that substantially lower con-
tributions come in, and the sum, provided it suffice, as meets expectations
for my social position, does not elicit criticism;
Or, if doubts along the latter lines, bestowal on Landau under
“N.N.,”[3]
[and]
genuinely anonymous;
Or, if the sum is too small even for that, its use toward some scientific or chari-
table cause that appeals to
you.[4]
You will, I hope, approve of this solution and kindly safeguard my social inter-
ests.– From Prof. Born I heard that you may be coming to
Frankfurt.[5]
That is a
splendid prospect, and I too can hardly wait for it. Please do inform me in time so
that I could make sure to be here, too, if possible!
Yesterday Freundlich, whose visit we very much appreciated, left
us.[6]
He
brought with him something of that atmosphere that formed a bright spot in the
gloomy Berlin days and delighted us with his high breeding. It was exactly in com-
parison with him that I again felt with alarm the danger of going stale here if I do
not succeed in finding for my next scientific research topic, classification of the sci-
ences, that companion in intellectual marriage who, with a thorough understanding
of mathematical logic and general philosophy, possesses the requisite gift of assim-
ilation of my ideas so as to complete practically and refine critically the work con-
ceived in
outline.[7]
Even then, it will certainly be difficult to find the necessary
concentration; elementary worries about security and fortune weigh down—even
when they are taken as I take them, more lightly than the average fellow creature—
on the brain centers where ideas find their origin.
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