"I am writing you on behalf of my daughter Margot": Albert Einstein and his family escape from Germany

Einstein, Albert, German physicist and Nobel laureate (1879-1955). Typed letter signed "A. Einstein".

Princeton, 23. IV. 1934.

4to. 1 p. In German. Together with an autograph letter signed by Elsa Einstein and a letter by Max Gottschalk. Both 4to. 1 p. In French.


To a high-ranking Belgian official named Costermann, asking him to renew the passports of his stepdaughter Margot and her husband Dimitri Marianoff: "I am writing you on behalf of my daughter Margot Marianoff and her husband Dr. Dimitri Marianoff. Both are holders of a Belgian foreigner's passport which they obtained last spring thanks to your obliging kindness. My daughter lived with us in Coq-sur-Mer but is currently nursing her gravely ill sister in Paris. She and her husband are stateless, the latter is Russian by birth. I would appreciate it greatly if you would renew the passports, especially as my daughter is the student of a Belgian sculptor at Bruges" (transl.).

Apparently, the letter was not sent directly to Costermann but was forwarded by the escape agent Max Gottschalk. His letter to the "Director General" is dated 7 May 1934 and accompanied Einstein's letter from 23 April with a further plea to treat the request favourably without delay.

Elsa Einstein's letter from 22 May 1933 to a "Director", very likely the same Costermann, concerns the original foreigner's passport for Margot. Elsa announces that Margot will arrive in Brussels the following day and contact the recipient directly.

Albert and Elsa Einstein were in the U.S. when the Nazis seized power in Germany in February 1933. As they could not return to their home in Potsdam, they sailed to Antwerp in March 1933, immediately renounced their German citizenships, and rented a small villa in Le-Coq-sur-Mer (De Haan) near Bruges, where Margot and her husband joined them. As early as September 1933, Albert and his wife emigrated to the U.S.; Margot and Dimitri would follow them in 1934 after the death of Margot's elder sister Ilse Einstein from tuberculosis.

Following the early death of her mother in 1936, Margot Einstein stayed with her father-in-law in Princeton, studied sculpture, and would live in the family home until her own death in 1986. Little is known about her marriage to Dimitri Marianoff. The couple had married in Berlin on 29 November 1930, much to the displeasure of Albert and Elsa, who distrusted their son-in-law; indeed, Marianoff turned out to be a Russian spy. The marriage probably ended soon after their arrival in the U.S. Marianoff profited from his previous close relationship to the world's most famous physicist by publishing a memoir "Einstein. An Intimate Study of a Great Man" in 1944.

On stationery with typed letterhead of Einstein's first address in Princeton: "2, Library Place". With an official note "Passeport Etr." in ink and a contemporary pencil translation into French. Minimally creased, two minor tears to the left margin and one to the lower margin.

The letter by Elsa Einstein shows three tears and staple holes. The letter by Gottschalk bears an official note "M. Marianoff et Gottschalk le 8.5.34" in ink and "T.U." (possibly "tâche urgent") in crayon and a minor tear.

Stock Code: BN#60561 Tags: ,