I N T R O D U C T I O N T O V O L U M E 9 x l v i i
During his own lectures at the University of Berlin, Einstein was witness to the
obstacles faced by the students who might benefit from the establishment of a He-
brew university. On 12 February 1920, his lecture on relativity was interrupted by
students protesting his open admission policy that allowed nonregistered auditors
to attend (Docs. 311, 312, 315, 317, 320). While Einstein tried to diffuse newspaper
reports of chaos and “uproar,” he nevertheless acknowledged in an article published
a day later that some personal animosity toward him, whose “undertone” could be
“interpreted as anti-Semitic,” had been voiced, and insisted that classes remain
open (see Vol. 7, Doc. 33, and the editorial note “Einstein and the Jewish Question,”
pp. 221–236). A declaration signed by 294 students a week later (Doc. 320) ex-
pressed their regrets for the incident and asked Einstein to continue lecturing.
Einstein’s wish to have the university restrictions against free attendance re-
scinded—a wish he had already expressed a year earlier while lecturing at the Uni-
versity of Zurich (see Doc. 4)—was now translated into concrete action. On 4 Feb-
ruary he began a series of free evening lectures on mechanics and relativity theory
under the auspices of the Volkshochschule Groß-Berlin. Two weeks later, he pro-
posed to the minister of education, Konrad Haenisch, that two hundred foreign stu-
dents from Eastern Europe, mostly Jews, who were unable to register at the univer-
sity, be allowed to gain credits by attending lectures given by accredited Berlin
university professors. The request was approved a few days later (Doc. 317 and
Vol. 7, Doc. 33, n. 6). During the following weeks, Einstein composed two manu-
scripts on anti-Semitism (Vol. 7, Docs. 34 and 35) and published a third in the
Swiss weekly Israelitisches Wochenblatt (see Vol. 7, Doc. 37).
Here again, as is the case in his scientific endeavors discussed earlier, the corre-
spondence in this volume shows that Einstein expressed support for certain Zionist
goals as well as other matters related to the education of Jews long before he would
articulate such views in published writings.
As director of the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute of Physics (KWIP), Einstein was pre-
sented, during this period, with opportunities to fund independent scientific work
that had been stalled, to support individuals whose careers had been interrupted by
the Great War, and to encourage new directions in physics research. Founded in Oc-
tober 1917 with Einstein as chairman of its board of directors and Wilhelm von Sie-
mens as chairman of the board of trustees, the KWIP had issued its first solicitation
for research grant applications on 16 December 1917 (see Vol. 8, entry of that date
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