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This is an authentic letter of recommendation that Professor Albert Einstein wrote for my father, Arnold Burger, to help him get a job in the USA:
Below is a private family photograph of Einstein that my mother told me was taken by my grandfather, Dr. Otto Juliusburger. Professor Einstein considered my grandfather be his best friend for what I believe to be excellent reasons.
This is my birth certificate. I put it here in order to authenticate my relationship to my father because my birth name is Peter Franklin Burger. I became Peter Cross after I felt crucified by the kidnapping of my two beloved boys, Jason and Alex, on May 9, 1994. The story of the kidnapping is in The Swami and Me and also in The Story of My Life.
Dr. Otto Juliusburger and his wife Elise, his son Arnold (my father), and his daughter Erika (my aunt) were all born in Berlin, Germany, and they lived there until they emigrated to the United States prior to World War II. Dr. Otto Juliusburger was one of the first professional psychiatrists and he was also a highly respected intellectual, a socialist, and of course a Jewish person so all of the above caused him to be an anathema to the Nazis. The very same qualities the Nazis hated endeared him to Albert Einstein after Einstein brought his nephew to my grandfather for treatment of schizophrenia. Einstein was impressed with my grandfather's abilities as he observed the treatment achieve success and they became close personal friends. Their friendship evolved as Einstein developed a trust in my grandfather that inspired him to confide some of his innermost feelings and beliefs in a long series of personal letters that lasted until my grandfather died.
For example, “People like you and I, though mortal of course, like everyone else, do not grow old no matter how long we live. What I mean is that we never cease to stand like curious children before the great Mystery into which we were born.” - Albert Einstein, from one of his letters to Dr. Otto Juliusburger dated Sept. 29, 1942 (Einstein Archive 38-238). Another example is "What need is there for a criterion of responsibility? I believe that the horrifying deterioration in the ethical conduct of people today stems primarily from the mechanized dehumanization of our lives -- a disastrous byproduct of the development of the scientific and technical mentality. Man grows cold faster than the planet he inhabits." - Albert Einstein, from his letter to Dr. Otto Juliusburger dated April 11, 1946. In a book entitled Albert Einstein, The Human Side, by Helen Dukas and Banesh Hoffmann, from page 79 through page 82 the authors quote from many letters Einstein wrote to my grandfather. On September 28, 1937, Einstein wrote to my grandfather telling him how happy he was that my father had arrived safely in America and hoping that my grandfather, my grandmother and my Aunt Erika would join them all soon. In that same letter Einstein also wrote, "I still struggle with the same problems as ten years ago. I succeed in small matters but the real goal remains unobtainable. . . I can no longer accommodate myself to the people here and their way of life. . . One is born a loner, as you will understand, being one yourself." Holy Moses, Albert, I understand and empathize with everything you expressed being a loner myself, but not by choice.
I was astounded to find records of phone calls between Albert Einstein and my grandfather on the Internet. Here's a link to one where my grandfather and grandmother called Professor Einstein: Einstein Archives, Database record for Call Nr. 30-1008.00 and here's a link to a web page containing a list of phone records, many of which are between Einstein and "Juliusburger, O": Einstein Archives, Contents of Folder 38-3. Juliusburger, E is also listed there and that would have to be my grandmother, Elise Juliusburger. My grandfather wrote a brilliant article entitled Reminiscences of a German Bodenreformer, linked on the Internet at this website and because I have no idea whether this website will remain on the Internet, I've also put my grandfather's article on my website at Reminiscences of a German Bodenreformer.
After Einstein emigrated to the United States in the early 1930's, my family stayed on just like millions of other Jews who hoped things would get better. But instead they got infinitely worse. In about 1937 my family had to go into hiding from the Gestapo because my grandfather had been targeted as an intellectual Jew, as well as for being a psychiatrist and a socialist. My family had no way of getting out of Germany until Einstein offered to pay their boat passage to America. In those days it was also necessary for somebody inside the United States to sponsor an immigrant, which means the sponsor had to sign legal papers guaranteeing the person would not go on welfare. Einstein sponsored my father first, and then brought both my grandparents and my aunt into America. My family moved into an apartment in New York City and Einstein was working at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, New Jersey. Because of their horrendous experience in Nazi Germany, my family renounced God and became practicing atheists. That's the environment in which I was raised. My grandparents visited with Einstein often and they wrote many personal letters back and forth to each other. My grandmother used to bake cookies for Einstein because he had a habit of obsessing over work and not eating. Einstein attended my parents' wedding and they told me that he bounced me on his knee when I was a baby (although quite obviously, I have no memory of it). But I do remember many occasions when my father talked about the great man and his work. Even though my father was a salesman and not even remotely a scientist, he tried to explain Einstein's General Theory of Relativity to me. He gave me several books to read and at a very early age, I grasped the essential truths that lay beyond Einstein's mathematics.
My father died from his third heart attack when I was 17 and my mother gave me the letter of recommendation that you see at the top of this page. After my Aunt Erika died many years later when her will was read in her lawyer's office, I discovered there was a cardboard box filled with letters from Einstein that Erika had donated to the N.Y.C. Public Library. I was stunned because nobody had ever mentioned these letters to me. I went down to the library immediately to try to retrieve the letters but it was like that final scene in Raiders of the Lost Ark when the Ark of the Covenant disappears into the endless room filled with wood crated boxes. The only document that I have in my possession to prove my family's relationship with Einstein is this letter of recommendation. Tragically, it is all that remains except for my memories.
Therefore the time has come for me to write this true story. Albert Einstein chose my grandfather to be his best friend for two important reasons. One is that my grandfather had a profoundly deep and erudite mind that Einstein respected, and there were very few people who were able to earn Einstein's respect. The second, and what I believe to be an even more important reason, is that my grandfather had a great heart. My grandfather truly cared about other people and Einstein was inexorably attracted to that adorable human quality. The combination of a brilliant mind and an enlightened heart is so rare that I can easily understand why Einstein wanted my grandfather to be his best friend. I would want the same thing if I knew such a person but unfortunately, I never met one.
After the atomic ex kidnapped my boys in 1994 and stole everything I owned including the Einstein letter and the photograph, I got them back in the divorce settlement in 1995. Three years later in 1998 when I thought I was dying, I gave all my valuables to my two children and my family's Einstein letter ended up in a hot, filthy, cramped, insect ridden attic, ignored and forgotten. In June of 2004, I went back east to Westfart Connecticut to attend my younger son Alex's high school graduation. When the opportunity presented itself to go into their attic and rummage through the filthy cardboard boxes, I spent from about midnight to 3 AM sorting through the mess. I took back everything I had lost, packed it all up and shipped it back to California the next morning, except for the Einstein letter and photograph that I swore would never leave me again. I hand carried them back on the plane to California with me and they inspired a lively conversation with the passengers after I showed them to the United Airlines crew.
I would not be alive at all if it weren't for Professor Einstein, who I believe is the premier genius of the entire human race. Leonardo da Vinci comes close but only Einstein figured out the true nature of our universe mathematically. To this day very few people really understand what he understood and expressed so succinctly in his famous Theory of Relativity. As a bi-product of his theory, he gave us his famous formula E=MC2. If you would like to read what I think Einstein's Theory of Relativity means and what his formula implies, click on: The Interview with Peter Cross, Part 2.
In the private family photograph that I scanned into jpeg format and put at the top of this page, notice Albert Einstein's very sad eyes. The major disappointment of his entire life and the thing that bothered him most was the people who took his life's work and made an atomic bomb out of it. During the early 1940's, he wrote letters to President Roosevelt begging him to drop the whole idea because he knew there would be a proliferation of atomic bombs that could threaten the existence of our planet Earth. I feel as if I understand the man as well as his work and just like my dear family friend experienced in his old age, I am also the unfortunate inheritor of very sad eyes.
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