4 8 8 D O C U M E N T 3 6 2 M A R C H 1 9 2 0
AKS (SzZ, Nachl. H. Zangger, box 1c). [40 001]. The verso of the Italian response postcard is self-
addressed by the recipient: “Prof. Zangger fern[b?] Posta Alassio/Liguria Italia” and postmarked
“Berlin W [30?] 26.3.20. [----]N[achmittags.” The address is deleted and a second address in another
hand has also been deleted. The postcard is redirected to “Bergstrasse 25 Zürich” by a third person.
The Kapp Putsch began on 13 March and collapsed four days later (see Doc. 352, note 9).
In early February, Einstein had strongly recommended Paul Epstein for the professorship in
physics at the University of Zurich, while favoring Simon Ratnowsky for introductory-level teaching
(see Doc. 296).
Paul Scherrer, an experimental physicist, had been nominated in late January for the position of
Extraordinary Professor in Theoretical Physics at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (see
Doc. 281, note 7); on Einstein’s opinion of August Leonhard Bernoulli for the professorship in phys-
ical chemistry at the University of Zurich, see Doc. 223.
See Doc. 347.
For Epstein’s narrow defeat for a position at the University of Zurich, see Doc. 335, note 11.
Einstein gave money to Zangger for various expenses involved in taking care of Hans Albert and
paying the cost of Eduard’s stay at the Aegeri sanatorium.
The four-day Kapp regime had just ended nine days earlier, on 17 March 1920. During the early
years of the Weimar Republic, large numbers of demobilized but often armed soldiers, unemployed
and alienated from civilian society, joined various militias, collectively known as the Freikorps. The
Freikorps committed murders and assassinations of Communists and Jews (including the murders of
Karl Liebknecht, Rosa Luxemburg, and Kurt Eisner in January and February 1919) and fought in
street battles against Communists. The numbers of leftists killed far outnumbered the number of
Freikorps casualties, yet judges failed to punish the latter with any severity (see Gumbel 1921 and
1922). On the Freikorps, see Jones, N. 1992 and Schulze 1969.
Two days earlier, accusations that government officials were illegally transferring money out of
Germany was front-page news in the Berlin press (see “Geldverschiebung nach dem Ausland?” Vos-
sische Zeitung, 24 February 1920, Evening Edition). The topic of inflationary pressures had received
much attention the previous October (see Doc. 140, note 7).
Fritz Haber; Emil Fischer had died in July 1919 (see Doc. 73, note 6). In February 1920, the aca-
demy had turned over the question of Fischer’s succession to a commission consisting of Ludwig
Haberlandt, Walther Nernst, Ernst O. Beckmann, Heinrich Rubens, Haber, Emil Warburg, Einstein,
and Theodor Liebisch. On Emil Fischer’s succession, see Stoltzenberg 1994, pp. 427–437.
Birthday present from Einstein’s sister, Maja Winteler-Einstein, with handwritten dedication:
“Meinem lieben Bruder zu seinem Geburtstag, 14. März, 1920, Maja.”
362. From Max von Laue
Berlin, 27. 3. 20.
Ich habe Dir gestern eine Schachtel Streichhölzer entführt, was jetzt ebenso
schlimm ist, als hätte jemand früher einen silbernen Löffel
Dir daher die Schachtel so voll, wie sie war, zurück.
Da sich die Zeichen mehren, daß eine Berufung für mich bevorsteht—wohin,
habe ich bisher nicht sicher ausmachen können—so will ich Dir sogleich einmal
sagen, was ich in diesem Fall hier fordern werde; denn Du wirst ja jedenfalls dabei
nach Deiner Meinung gefragt und kannst Dich so besser auf den Schreck, den Du
bekommen wirst, vorbereiten. Ich will nämlich die Vorlesungsverpflichtungen los-