Einstein: Man of the Century

The South African Jewish Museum will present an intriguing exhibition on Albert Einstein, based on material from the Albert Einstein Archives at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. The exhibition will run from 15 December 2008 to 28 February 2009.

In accordance with Einstein’s last will and testament, all the papers accumulated in the Einstein Archives at the Institute for Advanced Studies in Princeton were transferred to the Hebrew University of Jerusalem in 1982. Einstein himself first visited Jerusalem in 1923, where he delivered an address on Mount Scopus to a large and enthusiastic audience.

Says Shea Albert, director of the South African Jewish Museum “This material provides an absorbing insight into the thoughts, achievements and activities of this extraordinary scientist, pacifist and humanist. It offers visitors a wide-ranging view of the life and times of the man with the greatest mind of the 20th century. We are delighted with the opportunity to showcase work by the Hebrew University.”

The exhibition covers the major aspects of Einstein’s life and work. Sections are devoted to his groundbreaking scientific achievements, his active involvement in humanitarian affairs, and his close affinity with the Jewish people and the State of Israel. Special emphasis is given to his relationship with the Hebrew University. The exhibition also presents an insight into Einstein’s personal life and leisure activities, including some of his correspondence with children from around the world. Manuscripts, documents, photographs, sound recordings and film footage from the Albert Einstein Archives will be on view, as well as a documentary film from the American Museum of Natural History, narrated by Alan Alda. Documentary film footage of Einstein’s visit to the Hebrew University in 1923 will also be presented. (High-quality reproductions of the printed material will be used in the exhibition.)

The Einstein exhibition was sourced by Mendel Kaplan, founder of the South African Jewish Museum, in conjunction with Professor Hanoch Gutfreund, past president of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and current Director of the Einstein Centre. According to Professor Gutfreund, from 1919 onwards Einstein worked tirelessly to promote the initiative to establish the Hebrew University. He joined its Board of Governors and became the Head of its Academic Committee when it opened in 1925.