(AP) - A collection of letters written by Albert Einstein is set to go to auction next week, offering a new glimpse at the Nobel-winning physicist's views on God, McCarthyism and what was then the newly established state of Israel.
The five original letters, dated 1951 to 1954 and signed by Einstein, reveal a witty and sensitive side of the esteemed scientist.
The correspondences were sent to quantum physicist David Bohm, a colleague who fled the United States for Brazil in 1951 after refusing to testify about his links to the Communist Party to the House Un-American Activities Committee.
Bohm's widow's estate put the documents on the block after she passed away last year.
One of the yellowing pages bearing Einstein's signature and embossed seal and a handwritten general relativity equation opens at 8,000 US dollars and is expected to sell for at least twice that. In all, the collection is expected to fetch over 20,000 USD.
"If God has created the world his primary worry was certainly not to make its understanding easy for us", Einstein assured Bohm of the difficulties in deciphering the complexities of the universe in February 1954, a year before his death.
In another letter, Einstein compares "the present state of mind" of America gripped by McCarthyist anti-Communism to the paranoia in Germany in the early 20th century under Kaiser Wilhelm II.
Republican Senator Joseph McCarthy in the 1950s led a hunt for alleged communist traitors he believed worked in the government and the army.
One idea that came up between the men was relocating to Israel.
The country had declared independence in 1948 and, despite Einstein's ties to Israel's Hebrew University, he believed the country did not offer serious opportunities.
Mrs. Bohm returned to Israel after her husband's death and resided in Jerusalem.
She died in April 2016 and her estate put her husband's letters from Einstein up for sale at Winner's auction house in Jerusalem.
Roni Grosz, curator of the Albert Einstein Archives at Hebrew University in Jerusalem, home to the world's largest collection of Einstein material, said copies of the Bohm letters were already in the archive and that there was "nothing extraordinary" about them.
But he said that anything connected to Einstein tends to generate interest.
"There's today tremendous interest in all things Einstein. Einstein documents, letters, drafts are being on sale all the time", he said.
"There's barely a month that passes with no Einstein documents in auction or in sale."
The auction, which also includes copies of other letters sent by Einstein and correspondences by fellow Nobel laureate Louis de Broglie, closes on June 20.
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