It’s August 1922 and Albert Einstein is writing a letter to his younger sister, Maja. With anti-semitism on the rise in Germany, the scientist has fled his home in Berlin. And spelling out his fears for the future of his nation, he comes up with a grim prediction that will play out with startling accuracy over the following years.
Einstein was born on March 14, 1879, in Ulm, a city in what was then known as the German Empire. When he was still a baby, his parents, Hermann and Pauline, moved 100 miles east to Munich. Here, Hermann and his brother founded a company specializing in electrical engineering.
Although Hermann and Pauline were both Ashkenazi Jews, they did not practice their religion. And so at the age of five, Einstein began attending a Catholic school. Three years later, he moved to Munich’s Luitpold Gymnasium, where it became clear he had a talent for physics and math.