Thursday, May 26, 2011

Friday, May 26, 1933

Mrs. Raifert's birthday. Today was our Field Day at school. We had to do two dances and play games. The boys gave a program, too.

Albert Einstein
Einstein had been a professor at the Prussian Academy of Science in Berlin since 1914. He took a two-month winter teaching job at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena in 1932, fully expecting to return to his regular job in Berlin once the term was over. Then Adolf Hitler came to power in January of 1933, and in February of 1933 Hitler staged the Reichstag Fire, suspending all political and civil rights in Germany in reaction. Then came the book-burnings (Einstein’s works among them), the “Boycott of Jews” day, the ban on Jews holding public sector jobs.

Einstein returned to Europe in March of 1933, but seeing the writing on the wall, he stopped in Antwerp, Belgium rather than returning home to Berlin. He found out that not only would he be actively persecuted, but also that his name was on a list of government assassination targets, where he was listed as “not yet hanged.”

He resigned his position at the Prussian Academy of Science, then he renounced his German citizenship. He got on a ferry to Dover from Oostende, Belgium on May 26, 1933. When he arrived at Dover, he filled in a landing card, as did all foreign nationals. He wrote in his name, stated his occupation as “professor,” and most tellingly of all, he wrote “Swiss” as his nationality. He added a note to the back of the document saying he would be lecturing at Oxford.

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