1937 LETTER SIGNED BY ALBERT EINSTEIN, RAISING UNITED STATES FUNDS FOR THE PALESTINE SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA: "TOSCANINI IS RETURNING TO PALESTINE IN NOVEMBER TO CONDUCT AGAIN"
EINSTEIN, Albert. Typed letter signed. WITH: Printed pamphlet for the Palestine Symphony Orchestra. New York City: no publisher, June 9, 1937. Letter: Two 8-1/2 by 11 inch leaves of letterhead stationary. Pamphlet: printed paper wrappers (4 by 9 inches), pp. 16.
Two-page 1937 typed letter signed by Einstein as "A. Einstein," Honorary President of the American-Palestine Music Foundation, on the Foundation's letterhead, raising funds in the United States for the fledgling Palestine Symphony Orchestra, which later became the Israel Philharmonic. With contemporary Orchestra pamphlet.
The letter, addressed to Abraham Tulin of New York City, reads, in part: "My dear Mr. Tulin: As one of the original supporters of the Palestine Symphony Orchestra, you will be interested in the first financial report of the opening season of the Orchestra, submitted by Colonel F. H. Kisch, the Honorary Treasurer… Toscanini is returning to Palestine in November to conduct again…His personal desire to direct a second series of concerts in Tel-Aviv, Haifa and Jerusalem gives added prestige to the Orchestra. Last year he gave his services without remuneration. But Mr. Huberman and others feel that this year Mr. Toscanini should receive an honorarium. Several additional musicians must also be engaged. The season moreover has been extended two months…While the Palestinians have been overwhelmingly enthusiastic and most generous…there is a deficit that must be covered by donations in this country and abroad. We must raise thirty thousand dollars ($30,000.) in the United States for the 1937-1938 season. You were good enough last year to state that you would contribute one hundred dollars ($100.) for three years. We shall be glad to have you mail your check… for this year…Sincerely Yours, [signed] A. Einstein."
The Palestine Orchestra was founded by violin virtuoso Bronislaw Huberman in 1936. Huberman sought out and offered a safe haven to leading European Jewish musicians who had lost their positions in the wave of Nazi persecution. Ultimately, more than 80 musicians, most from Germany, Austria and Poland, successfully emigrated and joined the Orchestra, many with their families. Huberman's efforts are estimated to have saved as many as 1000 lives while giving rise to one of the great international symphony orchestras of the 20th century. Beginning with its inaugural concert, conducted by Toscanini in Tel Aviv on December 26, 1936, the Palestine Symphony Orchestra (which became the Israel Philharmonic in 1948) has been associated with such legendary musicians and conductors as Leonard Bernstein, Zubin Mehta, William Steinberg, Kurt Masur, Pincas Zuckerman, and Daniel Barenboim. Einstein served as the Orchestra's Honorary President from 1936 to 1939.
The letter is also signed by Julian Mack, Acting President of the Foundation. At the time, Mack was a U.S. circuit court of appeals judge and a Zionist leader. He had been "among the founders of the American Jewish Committee in 1906 and… served as president of the first American Jewish Congress in 1918, and first chairman of the Comité des Délégations Juives at the Versailles Peace Conference in 1919, but resigned with Brandeis in a dispute over methods of developing Palestine" (Encyclopaedia Judaica, 11: 674-5).
At the time, Colonel Frederick H. Kisch, the Honorary Treasurer, was a British Army officer and Zionist leader. He had been a member of the British delegation to the 1919 Paris Peace Conference. Recalled to active duty in 1943, his promotion to Brigadier made Kisch the highest ranking Jew ever to serve in the British Army. He was killed in action in Tunisia in 1943.
The recipient of the letter, Abraham Tulin (1878-1973) was born in Besdjez, Russia, and came to the United States as a child. He was a graduate of Yale University and Harvard Law School and was highly active in Zionist causes, serving four times as an American delegate to the World Zionist Congresses, and appointed chief counsel of the Jewish Agency for Palestine in 1947. For many years he was associated with the Technion—the Israel Institute of Technology, Israel's first modern university—which Einstein had been instrumental in establishing in 1924. It was Einstein who, in Germany, founded the first Technion Society, while Tulin went on to become chairman of the American Technion Society. This letter was not Tulin's last connection to Einstein; in 1972, a year before his death at age 94, Abraham Tulin became the first recipient of the Technion Society's highest honor, the Albert Einstein Award.
Pamphlet with light paper-clip mark to upper edge. Letter with marginal crease to both leaves not affecting text, light paper-clip mark to upper edge of page two, minor age discoloration. Einstein signature clear and unfaded. An excellent example of the greatest scientist's commitment to Jewish and refugee causes.