D O C U M E N T 4 6 9 F E B R U A R Y 1 9 2 7 4 6 1 469. From Hans Albert Einstein [Dortmund, between 1 and 5 February 1927][1] Dear Papa, Your letter pleased me much as well as little. It pleased me much because it comes from you and I’m so glad to hear about something now other than nodal points and arch shapes, for once. (Which doesn’t mean that I’d like to hear anything else during those 8 1/2 office hours.)[2] I wasn’t pleased because you wrote so very little. The money did please me very much, though, whereas I can’t say that about the letter from Friedi.[3] Now I’d like to explain to you what I actually need the money for. With the money I have, if I save up (and I do that anyway), I can pay for my monthly keep and even have some laundry done if necessary, but then there’s nothing left. But I forgot that I have to pay the police authorities something for the residence permit [4] and I wouldn’t want to seem penniless there in particular, because it’s very unpleasant, since one is then always treated very badly by the officials. But the other matter is much more important to me now, which is the issue with my letter. Dear Papa, if you want to do me a favor, please forgive poor Jakobi (that’s his name, I think) this time for his negligence.[5] What business is this of yours?, you’re going to say. And so I want to ask you the following: You get a fine metal paperweight, are sitting on the balcony and looking at it. Then some smoke from your pipe goes down too deeply into your nose and you have to cough. In the process the thing falls down, crushes somebody’s skull and you see it, you also go down, and the paperweight lies undamaged nearby. I don’t know whether you’d find that YOU had committed murder I wouldn’t characterize it that way. Now, though, you pick up that ill-fated object again, maybe even feel something like an- ger, later almost mercy for that innocent thing that had and has caused such a fate. There’s something you certainly won’t want then, though, namely that thing as a paperweight on your desk because it would always remind you again of this event. Be this as it may, perhaps now you understand why I don’t like to have that letter, which has taken that poor person’s position. If he needs the position financially, then please keep him you can even tell him that I had the crazy idea of asking for him if he particularly needs the position, or if he has something else to live on and won’t also lose his livelihood with the loss of this position then I have nothing against your sending it to him.
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