1 8 2 D O C U M E N T 1 8 1 D E C E M B E R 1 9 2 3
181. To Marie Curie-Skłodowska
[Berlin,] 25 December 1923
Esteemed Mrs. Curie,
Please don’t find it banal if a superficial occasion motivates me to write to
It is just the trigger; I had the desire to do so for a long while. It is a pleasure
to shake the hand of an upright person who can look back on such fruitful work and
has been allowed to reap such a rich harvest. At once benevolent and obstinate as
a person, I love you that way and am glad that during those days of quiet company
I was granted insight into your inner mind, where everything first brews silently.
I know that you justifiably were annoyed with me when I left the League of Na-
tions committee with bitter
after having advised you barely half a year
earlier to participate in the committee’s
But it did not happen with bad mo-
tives, nor even out of a soft spot for Germany, but rather really out of the conviction
that the League of Nations (not the committee I was supposed to belong to), under
the cloak of objectivity, has been an obedient tool of power politics. So I did not
want to have anything to do with the League of Nations. I also thought that such a
candid statement of opinion could not do any harm. Perhaps this was wrong; but it
matched my convictions.
Furthermore, I requested not to be invited to
Not that the disinclina-
tion by the Belgians and French to meet with Germans was psychologically incom-
prehensible to me. But if I attend occasions where German scholars are excluded
on principle just because of their national affiliation, I am indirectly approving of
such a regulation. That, however, absolutely does not agree with my convictions. It
really is unworthy of cultivated men to treat one another according to such super-
ficial aspects, like the common rabble who are guided by mass suggestion. But if
the world is built this way, whether here or there, then I would prefer to sit quietly
in my digs than to irritate myself about people. Do not think that I consider those
over here any better and underestimate the others—that would not suit relativity
theory at all, either
But now, enough of this; I wouldn’t dare to pound away like this if I didn’t feel
that you were a stubborn sister of mine, who in some corner of her soul has some
understanding for such feelings, and with whom I have always felt especially close.
My friendly greetings and warm wishes for the new year.
A. Einstein.
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