Einstein’s diaries contain shocking details of his racism

Image file – An Albert Einstein pumpkin is pictured at Madame Tussauds in New York, Oct. 22, 2013.

(REUTERS/Carlo Allegri)

Recently translated into English, Albert Einstein’s own travel diaries from the 1920’s shows that he is racist in his early life, especially in the direction of the Chinese people.

The magazines published as “The Travel Diary of Albert Einstein,” Princeton University Press, it turns out that Einstein, perhaps the most famous scientist of all time and is known for his theory of general relativity and the equation e=mc2, was extremely biased in the direction of particular populations. This is a stark contrast with his attitude in his later life, when he said that racism is a disease of white people.”

The diaries written between October 1922-March 1923. In an item, Einstein wrote that the “Chinese don’t sit on benches while eating, but squat as the Europeans do when they relieve themselves in the woods. All this happens quietly and demurely. Even the children are fut and look incomprehensible.”


Speaking about the “abundance of offspring” and the “fertility” of the Chinese, he continued: “It would be unfortunate if these Chinese replacement of all other races. For the likes of us, the thought is unspeakably sad.”

FILE – This undated file photo shows a legendary physicist Dr. Albert Einstein, the author of the theory of Relativity (AP Photo/File)

(Copyright 2017, The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

Einstein also mocks the people of Ceylon, now known as Sri Lanka. In Ceylon, he wrote, the local people “live in great filth and a lot of stink on the ground floor,” before they “do little, and need little. The simple economic cycle of life.”

Einstein also gave his opinion about the Japanese, that he was seen in a more positive light, calling them “sober, dignified, very attractive.” However, he also wrote the “intellectual needs of this country seem to be weaker than their artistic – natural disposition?”

“Items… contain passages that reveal Einstein’s stereotyping of the members of the various nations and questions about his attitude on the race,” a description of the book reads.

The magazines were translated from German and is described as “the first publication of Albert Einstein’s diary travelling to the Far East and the Middle East.”

Speaking with The Guardian, the compiler They’ev Rosenkranz said that Einstein’s views are not intended for public consumption, and a shock to read them.

“I think a lot of the comments strike us as fairly unpleasant – what he says about the Chinese in particular,” Rosenkranz told The Guardian. “They are kind of in contrast to the public image of the great humanitarian icon. I think it’s quite a shock to read and the contrast with his more public statements. They are more off guard, he did not intend them for publication.”

Rosenkranz is also the deputy director of the Einstein Papers Project at the California Institute of Technology and has written several books about the life of Einstein.


The comments in his diary are much different than the image that the public Einstein was in his later years.

In 1946, speaking at Lincoln University, the first degree-granting historically black university in the US, Einstein said that racism is a disease of white people” and added: “I’m not going to be silent about it,” according to 2007 article in the Harvard Gazette.

Einstein was one of the founders of the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, and showed him his literary estate and personal papers. He declined an invitation to serve as Israel’s first president.

He died in 1955 at age 76.

Follow Chris Ciaccia on Twitter @Chris_Ciaccia


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