Lengthy ALS in German, signed “A. Einstein,” one page, 8.5 x 11, March 27, 1940. Letter to Helene Hertz, the widow of Paul Hertz. In full (translated): “With utmost regret I learned of the bitter loss you have suffered; this, after all the other difficulties and hardships that fate has brought you. Your husband’s work often impressed me with its enlightening clarity, and I don’t believe it was ever accorded the proper recognition. This is probably related to the fact that in this period, which is transitional in regard to science as well, the quest for new forms is deemed more urgent than the pursuit of clarity. I hope that your excellent sons will provide you with comfort and support in your hard life. I would also like to tell you, on this sad occasion, that I will gladly make every effort to be of service to you at any time, and I urge you to let me know if you see any way that I can put in a good word for you. Jews, especially, in this country are glad to do me a favor, if it is not too difficult for them.” In fine condition, with intersecting folds.
This compassionate letter was written three days after the passing of Paul Hertz, a fellow physicist who focused his efforts on electron theory and the foundations of statistical mechanics. These studies led him into contact with Einstein around 1910 after Hertz published some critical remarks on Einstein’s work in the subject. Despite the initial combative intellectual relationship, they grew to become friends with great respect for each others' work—in 1915, Einstein used Hertz's suggestions as a stepping stone in resolving the 'hole argument,' a paradox that troubled him while developing his famous field equations to describe the general theory of relativity. Einstein's assertion in this letter that Hertz was never afforded the recognition he deserved is a common belief among scholars today—his contributions to an array of fields, including physics, mathematics, logic, and philosophy, have served as a foundation for the works of intellectuals that remain more well known today, such as Einstein and Gerhard Gentzen. With excellent content and atypical length, this handwritten letter is of the utmost desirability. Pre-certified John Reznikoff/PSA/DNA and RR Auction COA.
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