CHICAGO — In 1939, Albert Einstein wrote “thank you notes” to a few people for helping Jews to escape Nazi Germany, and while historians only knew about two of those letters, a third surfaced here in Chicago.
Nearly 80 years after it was penned on June 10, 1939, Enid Bronstein is sharing the letter Einstein wrote to her father, David Finck. A finance man in New York, Finck never met Einstein, but attracted the physicists’ attention after he sponsored many members of the Jewish community so they could flee Nazi Germany for the U.S.
Enid said her father received the letter before the U.S. entered WWII because the Jewish community was “well-aware” of what was happening in Germany. After her father passed away, Enid said she kept the letter in a safe deposit box for 50 years.
“I wanted to keep the letter to show it to my children and grandchildren so that they would get the message that every contribution, no matter how small is important,” she said.
Enid says that while similar letters have sold for thousands at auction, she decided to donate it to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum so future scholars and historians could share the lessons it contains.
Susan Snyder from the museum says as more survivors pass, the race is on to gather as much as possible and collect first person accounts, making the letter significant because it shows Einstein acknowledging the work done by the Jewish community in America.
“It was an important thing for us because the collection just adds exponentially,” Snyder said.
You can see the full letter below.