D O C U M E N T S 2 5 8 , 2 5 9 J U L Y 1 9 2 2 2 0 7 258. To Walther Nernst[1] [Berlin,] 1 July 1922 Dear Colleague, You asked me about my opinion on conducting funeral services at the university on the occasion of Walther Rathenau’s violent death.[2] My opinion is the follow- ing: Holding a funeral at the university upon the death of any minister is naturally intrinsically unjustified. Such a ceremony can only be perceived as a statement about political assassinations. Meddling by educational institutions in political affairs is reprehensible. However, it would not just here it is a matter of strength- ening moral attitudes in general, that is, solely the preservation of values that stand above partisan debates. Silence by the university .[3] The university should, in my opinion, take a clear stance in the sense that it definitely condemns politically moti- vated murder. (Students and professors should rise to speak.) It should clearly pro- claim that assassination, even in the service of politics, is a reprehensible crime and that a humane society in which confidence in a respect for life is missing must nec- essarily fall apart. I am convinced that such a declaration, if it is resolute and unan- imous, will exert an important and good influence towards helping public opinion back to health. Silence by the university would, in the current situation, also be taken as a statement. With best regards, yours, A. Einstein. 259. From Otto Gradenwitz[1] Heidelberg, 1 July 1922 Highly esteemed Sir, At Diels’s funeral I saw you[2] and recognized you from photographs and the impression I gained emboldened me to pose the following question: I have known Philipp Lenard for 13 years we have been on very frosty terms for almost 5 years. After what I have heard, I too am of the view that the source of his follies is that the incident about Röntgen’s discovery of [X-]rays has destabilized him.[3] The scandal of the last few days[4] had me thinking now: Would it not be fair and square to appease him by having science refer to Röntgen-Lenard rays? Pardon such a well-meaning question from a complete stranger! In utmost respect, Otto Gradenwitz, Prof. of Law.
Previous Page Next Page