|Original letter written by Einstein now on view at the Museum|
|July 9, 2019 [St. Petersburg, FL] — The Florida Holocaust Museum (The FHM) has unveiled a rare letter handwritten by Albert Einstein! The letter is now on view in the Museum’s permanent exhibition, History, Heritage and Hope, located on the first floor. Earlier this year, the letter was donated by past Board Chair and longtime Museum volunteer Irene Weiss and her brother Peter Cohn. |
“We are honored and grateful that Albert Einstein’s letter will be a part of The Florida Holocaust Museum’s permanent exhibition. We hope that the letter will further the understanding of the plight of Holocaust Survivors and refugees in the world after World War II,” said Weiss and Cohn.
The handwritten letter became an open letter printed in der Aufbau, a journal printed for German-speaking Jews which was founded in 1934 in New York City. It was published on November 16, 1945 to coincide with the seven-year anniversary of Kristallnacht. The letter was a plea to the Jewish community of the time to render assistance to Survivors of the Holocaust while calling on the United Nations to work for peace and for Great Britain to open immigration quotas for Survivors to emigrate to Palestine.
The letter is a handwritten draft of the printed version, complete with Einstein’s edits and signature. Dr. Med. Siegfried Kurt Glaser, grandfather of the donors, assisted Einstein in its composition in 1945. The two had originally known each other before the war in Germany and Glaser was also a refugee to the United States.
Most people know that Albert Einstein was a physicist and Nobel Laureate, but he was also a German Jewish refugee. While on a visit to the U.S. in 1933, he opted to remain here instead of returning to Germany after the Nazi rise to power the same year. Taking matters into his own hands, he and his wife personally vouched for other Jews seeking to flee Germany and at the same time helped found the International Relief Effort which still exists today.
“We are extremely honored to receive this rare letter as a donation to the Museum’s collection. It is an incredibly important object as it shines a light on an aspect of the Holocaust that is not as widely known: the post-war emigration of Holocaust Survivors to the United States and Palestine. It is the first object to be added to the collection of The Florida Holocaust Museum by such a historically prominent figure. Very few people know that Albert Einstein was a humanitarian and used his influence to call attention to the plight of Holocaust Survivors,” said Erin Blankenship, The FHM’s Curator of Exhibitions and Collections.
Central to the mission of The FHM is the program to collect, preserve, and make available to the public the historical record and artistic and interpretation of the Holocaust and other genocides. The Museum collects and maintains the material that supports its efforts in the areas of research, exhibition, education, and commemoration. The focus of The FHM’s collecting efforts is on the policies, events, and experiences associated with the Holocaust.
The FHM is currently looking for original objects, documents, and photographs that tell the stories of those who suffered during the Holocaust. For donation inquiries, please contact Erin Blankenship, The FHM’s Curator of Exhibitions and Collections at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Florida Holocaust Museum is located at 55 5th Street S, St. Petersburg, FL 33701.
About The Florida Holocaust Museum2017 marked a monumental milestone for The Florida Holocaust Museum (The FHM) as the Museum celebrated its 25th Anniversary. One of the largest Holocaust museums in the country, and one of three nationally accredited Holocaust museums, The FHM honors the memory of millions of men, women and children who suffered of died in the Holocaust. The FHM is dedicated to teaching members of all races and cultures the inherent worth and dignity of human life in order to prevent future genocides. For additional information, please visit www.TheFHM.org.