D O C U M E N T 1 3 9 M A Y 1 9 2 1 1 0 1
139. To Felix Frankfurter
[New York,] 28 May 1921
Dear Colleague,
The fear of having behaved unfairly toward you compels me to take up my pen
once again. For it now does seem plausible to me that you acted the way you did
with honest, good intentions, and not out of political motives. But first of all I must
say that nothing was withheld from me, nor falsely represented to me, and that no
one said anything unfavorable about you, not even Levin, whom you were
I would first like to explain to you my actions. When I received invitations from
America (by universities), my good friends in Holland very strongly advised me to
set such high
It was a period when I had run into certain difficulties in
so my friends advised me thus: “If you are giving away half a year of your
working time, then only do so if you can gain economic independence by it. If this
is not possible, it’s better you stay home and
I followed this advice and it
aroused—as you, of course, know—the greatest indignation. When I saw that noth-
ing would come of the matter, I was actually quite
Then came Weizmann’s
I did not hesitate a single moment. For serv-
ing the Jewish cause was far more important to me than my personal relations with
universities. But since I considered it unfriendly to go to America without demon-
strating my goodwill toward the universities there, I immediately wrote to Prince-
ton that I was willing to deliver lectures there without setting any kind of financial
I did this because my time for scientific research was lost anyway and
not least also for the reason that it could only be favorable to the Zionist cause.
Having now encountered a much friendlier welcome everywhere than I could
have expected (even disregarding this incident), I could not interpret your informa-
tion by telegram as
It would not even have been serious if all universities
had withheld invitations; this truly would not have been an obstacle toward the
founding of the university in Jerusalem, although I certainly do know that it is a
Jewish weakness, forever anxiously to want to keep the Gentiles [Gojims] in a good
Now I admit that your last letter raises an impression of such honesty and good-
will that to my joy I may believe that your intentions were
That is why I
gladly take the hand you extend to me and regret having affronted you so impetu-
ously and unkindly. My wife had already thought in Boston that I was mistaken
All the same, I still am firmly convinced that the current leadership of the Amer-
ican Zionists has serious sins on its conscience and that in the interest of the holy
cause a purge ought to take place, without bitterness, but also irrespective of the
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