D O C U M E N T 2 3 3 D E C E M B E R 1 9 1 9 3 2 7
ALS (SzZ, Nachl. H. Zangger, box 1c). [86 162].
See Doc. 217.
A similar complaint about the difficulties of finding accommodations for Pauline Einstein was
made some days earlier (see Doc. 217).
Such adulation is caricatured in a poem by Hedwig Born of the same date (see Calendar). Two
weeks earlier, Elsa Einstein had described the sudden interest of the press in Einstein, and the comings
and goings of reporters in the Einstein house. She reported on Einstein’s wish to “escape where there
is no hole” (“Man möchte hinaus, wo kein Loch ist!”; see entry of 10 December in Calendar for text
omitted from Doc. 204).
Peter Debye implied in Doc. 221 that he was still uncertain about accepting an appointment at
the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, which was announced 15 December (see Doc. 214, note
11). For David Hilbert’s effort to keep Debye in Göttingen, see Doc. 225.
Wolfgang Heine (1861–1944), Prussian minister of the interior and member of the Social Dem-
ocratic Party. Heine gave a speech in the Reichstag on the issue of Eastern European Jews in Germany
a week earlier (see Vol. 7, Doc. 29, note 2). Einstein presumably made his acquaintance then.
Hans Albert was to stay with the Zanggers during Mileva’s absence in Novi Sad (see Doc. 217).
The possibility of moving Mileva and their sons to Durlach was mentioned earlier in Doc. 207.
In Doc. 207 Einstein was still uncertain whether he would attend a Zionist meeting about the
Hebrew University, to be held in Basel.
Various factors apparently led to the postponement of the conference. On the political level, peace
negotiations were about to commence between the Allied Powers and Turkey, and definitive decisions
regarding the mandate in Palestine would presumably be taken in the second half of January. There-
fore, members of the Zionist Executive would not be able to leave Paris. In addition, Zionists from
the U.S., Canada, and southern Russia would also not be able to attend. Consequently, the Greater
Action Committee of the Zionist Organisation decided on 22 December to postpone indefinitely the
organization’s planned annual conference. It was also decided to postpone the planned scholars’ con-
ference (see Jüdische Pressezentrale Zürich, 31 December 1919). The Zionist Organisation’s Educa-
tion Department informed the Central Zionist Bureau in Berlin: “regret impossible hold university
conference as intended because unexpected political developments imperatively demand presence
london paris of Zionist leaders responsible for university work therefore conference postponed” (Ed-
ucation Department to Central Zionist Bureau, 24 December, 1919, IsJCZA, Z3/1673). The Central
Zionist Bureau in Berlin then sent a circular letter to all German invitees, including Einstein, inform-
ing them of the postponement (Central Zionist Bureau, Berlin, 24 December 1919, to various recipi-
ents, IsJCZA, Z3/1673).
Organizational difficulties may also explain the postponement. Many invitees responded negative-
ly because vacation times at the universities had not been taken into consideration. The conference
was to take place just after the end of Christmas vacation and at the start of the new semester (see the
invitees’ replies in IsJCZA, L12/65 and IsJCZA, Z3/1673 and Lavsky 2000, p. 129). In addition, Ger-
man Zionist leaders Otto Warburg and Theodor Zloscisti accused the Zionist bureau in London of
poor management in organizing the conference, and protested that the invitations were issued without
first consulting with them (see letters by Warburg and Zloscisti to the Education Department of the
Zionist Organisation, 12 December 1919, IsJCZA, Z3/1673, and Lavsky 2000, p. 129). Ehrenfest sug-
gested a similar reason in Doc. 239.
Another explanation for the postponement was that American Zionists felt the timing would inter-
fere with their fund-raising campaign (see telegram from Leon Simon and Berthold Feiwel to Chaim
Weizmann, 12 December 1919, IsJCZA, Z4/936, and Reinharz 1977, pp. 263–264).
Four days earlier, Einstein had officially declined to give another cycle of lectures at the Univer-
sity of Zurich, using much the same arguments (see entry of 20 December 1919 in Calendar).
Michele Besso had left the Swiss Patent Office in 1908 (see his biography, Vol. 1, pp. 378–379).