Skip To Content
JEWISH. INDEPENDENT. NONPROFIT.
Breaking News

1939 Einstein Letter Goes on the Block

A letter written by Albert Einstein to a Jewish New York businessman is up for sale.

“We [Jews] have no other means of self-defense than our solidarity and our knowledge that the cause for which we are suffering is a momentous and sacred cause,” Einstein wrote to Hyman Zinn on June 10, 1939, praising him for his efforts to aid Jewish refugees from Germany and Austria.

The typed letter, signed A. Einstein and on his personal embossed stationery, has been put up for sale by a West Los Angeles auction house, with a bidding deadline of 5 p.m., Pacific Daylight Time, Tuesday, Oct. 11.

Einstein continued his letter, written three months before the outbreak of World War II, by telling Zinn, of the Manhattan Button Co., Inc., “The power of resistance which has enabled the Jewish people to survive for thousands of years has been based to a large extent on traditions of mutual helpfulness.”

“In these years of affliction our readiness to help one another is being put to an especially severe test. May we stand this test as well as did our fathers before us,” he wrote.

In conclusion, Einstein told Zinn that “It must be a source of deep gratification to you to be making so important a contribution toward rescuing our persecuted fellow-Jews from their calamitous peril and leading them toward a better future.”

Nate D. Sanders, owner of the Los Angeles auction house bearing his name, told JTA that the letter had been consigned by a Norman Zinn, presumably a descendant of the original recipient.

One day before the auction deadline, the highest bid stood at $3,058, but Sanders, whose company specializes in autographs by famous personalities, expects to sell the letter for between $5,000 and $7,000.

I hope you appreciated this article. Before you go, I’d like to ask you to please support the Forward’s award-winning, nonprofit journalism during this critical time.

Now more than ever, American Jews need independent news they can trust, with reporting driven by truth, not ideology. We serve you, not any ideological agenda.

At a time when other newsrooms are closing or cutting back, the Forward has removed its paywall and invested additional resources to report on the ground from Israel and around the U.S. on the impact of the war, rising antisemitism and the protests on college campuses.

Readers like you make it all possible. Support our work by becoming a Forward Member and connect with our journalism and your community.

Make a gift of any size and become a Forward member today. You’ll support our mission to tell the American Jewish story fully and fairly. 

— Rachel Fishman Feddersen, Publisher and CEO

Join our mission to tell the Jewish story fully and fairly.

Republish This Story

Please read before republishing

We’re happy to make this story available to republish for free, unless it originated with JTA, Haaretz or another publication (as indicated on the article) and as long as you follow our guidelines. You must credit the Forward, retain our pixel and preserve our canonical link in Google search.  See our full guidelines for more information, and this guide for detail about canonical URLs.

To republish, copy the HTML by clicking on the yellow button to the right; it includes our tracking pixel, all paragraph styles and hyperlinks, the author byline and credit to the Forward. It does not include images; to avoid copyright violations, you must add them manually, following our guidelines. Please email us at [email protected], subject line “republish,” with any questions or to let us know what stories you’re picking up.

We don't support Internet Explorer

Please use Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or Edge to view this site.