D O C . 3 5 A C O N F E S S I O N 1 5 9
37. A Confession
Typed drafts of this document are dated 5 April 1920.
Published 24 September 1920
In: Israelitisches Wochenblatt, 24 September 1920, no. 39, p. 10.
Today I received your invitation to a session, on the 14th of this month, that is sup-
posed to be dedicated to the fight against anti-Semitism in academic circles. I
would gladly attend if I believed that such an endeavor might prove successful. But
first we must fight with enlightenment the anti-Semitism and submissive senti-
ments among us Jews. More dignity and more independence in our own ranks!
Only when we dare to see ourselves as a nation, only when we respect ourselves,
can we can earn the respect of others, or rather, they arrive at this conclusion them-
selves. Anti-Semitism will be a psychological phenomenon as long as Jews come
in contact with non-Jews—what harm can there be in that? Perhaps it is due to anti-
Semitism that we survive as a race: at least that is what I believe.
I cannot suppress a pained smile whenever I read “German citizens of the Jewish
faith.” What is at the bottom of this nice characterization; what, then, is Jewish
faith? Is there a kind of non-faith that stops one from being a Jew? No. There are
two confessions of noble souls hidden in this characterization, namely (1) I don’t
want to have anything to do with my poor (Eastern European Jewish) brothers; and
(2) I don’t want to be seen as a child of my people, only as a member of a religious
community. Is this sincere? Can an Aryan respect such pussyfooters? I am not a
German citizen . . . but I am a Jew, and I am glad to belong to the Jewish people,
even though in no way do I consider them to be the chosen ones. Leave the Aryan
to his anti-Semitism; and let us keep the love of our brethren.
Don’t make angry faces because of my confession! It is not meant to be mali-
cious or unfriendly!
Very respectfully yours!
signed: A. Einstein