I N T R O D U C T I O N T O V O L U M E 9 x l v
(Doc. 126); he expressed his concern about the epidemics in Soviet Russia and the
possibility that the current blockade of Russia might contribute to this suffering
(Doc. 141), and involved his friend Heinrich Zangger, a prominent physician and
university professor in Zurich, in this issue and in sending medical aid to Poland
(Doc. 143). By early 1920, he suggested to Hellmut von Gerlach that they collab-
orate and take action on behalf of the release of Bavarian political prisoners
(Doc. 246).
In spite of his sometimes critical assessment of his fellow countrymen, Einstein
expressed empathy for the German population that was beset by economic hard-
ships caused at least in part by the Allies’ extension of the wartime blockade be-
yond the end of hostilities (Docs. 177, 198, 371). He supported initiatives to orga-
nize an international exchange of scholarly books and journals, and to create a
library of English and American scholarly works in Central Europe, all in order to
mitigate the effects of the continuing isolation of German scholars (Docs. 358 and
In the aftermath of war and revolution in Germany, Einstein confessed in March
1919 that the issue from which he derived most joy was “the realization of the Jew-
ish state” (Doc. 10), a reaction most likely elicited by American president Wood-
row Wilson’s statement earlier that month that he supported the 1917 Balfour Dec-
laration by which the British government had guaranteed the eventual foundation
of a Jewish commonwealth in Palestine. During the months covered by this volume
Einstein became increasingly involved with the Zionist movement and, specifical-
ly, with the plans for establishing the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, which were
entering a crucial stage during this
In early September 1919, a formal plan for the establishment of the Hebrew Uni-
versity was presented at a conference of the Zionist Organisation in London, where
a newly formed “University Committee” was charged to organize a conference of
Jewish scholars who would assist in planning the university. That month, Einstein
wrote, regarding the “Jewish university,” that the Zionist cause was “very near to
my heart.” Referring to recent meetings with Zionist leaders in Berlin, Einstein saw
the development of the “Jewish colony” as “gratifying” and was “glad there will be
a spot of earth on which our tribal comrades will not be foreigners” (Docs. 102 and
The shift in the center of Zionist power from Berlin to London, which had taken
place during the war under the leadership of Chaim Weizmann, was reflected in a
decision that the liaison with the newly famous Einstein would be taken over by the
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