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Prof. Einstein Dead; Eisenhower Leads Nation in Mourning

April 19, 1955
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Led by President Eisenhower, the American people mourned the death today of Professor Albert Einstein, the greatest scientist of our time, who died at 1:15 this morning in Princeton University Hospital, Princeton, N. J., at the age of 76.

Dr. Einstein entered the hospital Friday. Medical authorities said that his death was caused by an inflammation of the gall bladder. The news of his death came as a shock to the entire world and statements expressing grief were issued by statesmen and scientists in all parts of the globe. Jewish organizations emphasized the deep interest which Prof. Einstein took in Jewish affairs and in Israel.

President Eisenhower said in his eulogy: “For the past 22 years the United States has been the freely-chosen home of Albert Einstein. For 15 years, he has been a citizen of the United States by his own free and deliberate choice. Americans welcomed him here. Americans were proud, too, that he sought and found here a climate of freedom in his search for knowledge and truth.

“No other man contributed so much to the vast expansion of Twentieth Century knowledge. Yet no other man was more modest in the possession of the power that is knowledge, more sure that power without wisdom is deadly. To all who live in the nuclear age, Albert Einstein exemplified the mighty creative ability of the individual in a free society.”

Former President Harry S. Truman said that “the world and the country have suffered a great loss” with Dr. Einstein’s death. President Harold W. Dodds of Princeton University said “the contributions which Dr. Einstein made to man’s understanding of nature are beyond assessment in our day; only future generations will be competent to grasp the full significance.”


In Germany, from which Prof. Einstein fled in February 1933, just as the Nazis come to power, Chancellor Dr. Konrad Adenauer issued a formal statement declaring that Dr. Einstein’s death “will be deeply regretted by the German people.” He described the death of the great Jewish scientist as “an immeasurable loss for science throughout the world and for all mankind.”

Prof. Max von Laue, director of the Max Planck Institute for Physical Chemistry in Germany and himself a Nobel prize winner, said in Berlin that Prof. Einstein’s death is “a gigantic loss” to science. “Of all the great men I have met, he was by far the greatest,” the noted German scientist said.

The death of Prof. Einstein overshadowed all other world news in the afternoon press today. Some newspapers issued extra editions, while others devoted many columns to Dr. Einstein, describing him as a scientist of vast achievements, a pacifist with deep respect for his fellow man and a person who will remain as immortal as Galileo and Newton. His interest in Jewish affairs and in Israel institutions was also emphasized.

Reporting at great length on how Dr. Einstein–who was born in Ulm, Germany–had to leave Germany because of Hitler’s persecution of the Jews, the American press pointed out that one of the outgrowths of Einstein’s genius was the atom bomb, and that it was he who in 1939 wrote a letter to the late President Roosevelt in which he warned that the Nazis were working on an atomic bomb and that the United States must begin similar research at once.

President Roosevelt promptly set up the Manhattan Project and this nation won the atomic race. However, when the first A-bomb fell on Hiroshima, Prof, Einstein said: “At present atomic energy is not a boon to mankind, but a menace.”


Prof. Einstein’s first visit to the United States was in 1921, when he came with Dr. Chaim Weizmann, president of the World Zionist Organization, on behalf of the Hebrew University. One of the buildings at the university, the Einstein Institute for Physics, is named after him, and his manuscript on relativity is in the possession of the university.

In addition to his interest in the Hebrew University. Prof. Einstein was interested in the Israel Institute of Technology at Haifa and in the Weizmann Institute of Science. He was also a strong supporter of the work of the OSE and ORT and had on numerous occasions spoken on behalf of the United Jewish Appeal, urging American Jewry to give maximum aid to needy Jews overseas.

Speaking at a public seder of the National Labor Committee for Palestine in New York in 1938, Prof. Einstein prophetically said: “Although since the conquest of Jerusalem by Titus the Jewish community rarely has experienced a period of greater oppression than at present, nevertheless we shall survive this period too, no matter how heavy a loss in life it may bring.”

Prof. Einstein urged Jewish youth in America to take advantage of the fact that high schools and universities offer courses in Hebrew language and literature and to register for these courses, Pointing out that “the fate of the Jewish world is at stake today when large centers of Jewish life in Eastern Europe have been cruelly destroyed.” Prof. Einstein expressed the hope that America will help to recreate some of the cultural values which have been lost in Europe.


In January, 1946, Prof. Einstein testified before the Anglo-American Inquiry Commission in Washington, severely criticizing British policy in Palestine and urging the admission of more Jews there. He charged Britain with violating the basic responsibilities it undertook in the Balfour Declaration.

During World War II, in February, 1944, two manuscripts donated by Prof. Einstein to spur the sale of U.S. war bonds brought $11,500,000 at a rally where $13,537,000 in bonds were sold.

On the occasion of Dr. Einstein’s 74th birthday, a college of medicine bearing his name was established at the Yeshiva University. The school, now nearing completion, will open its doors this September. Prof. Einstein was also one of the founders of Brandeis University in this country, but he later withdrew from activity in behalf of that institution.

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