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Einstein’s immigration papers to go on display

5 May 2011 by Sam

Lucy Gardner, assistant curator at the UK Border Agency National Museum, has news of a how a simple document – which is going on display next week – marks a key moment in Einstein’s history.


photo of Albert Einstein

Albert Einstein during his stay in Oxford in 1933. © Senior Common Room, Christ Church, Oxford

“The Seized! the Border and Customs uncovered gallery has been collecting items which tell the story of immigration into the UK throughout history. Many people have come to Britain over the years, including some who were made to flee their native countries in fear for their lives.

A landing card that will go on show for the very first time next week is proof that one of the most famous names in history came to Britain seeking safe haven in 1933. Albert Einstein was forced to leave Germany when Adolf Hitler’s Nazi Party gained power and began its brutal persecution of minority groups, including Jewish people. Einstein was already world famous for his discoveries in physics but the Nazi regime said he was an enemy of the state and made him an assassination target!

We are extremely privileged to have acquired this historic document which brings to life the very real danger that people faced with the rise of the Nazis in Europe. It marks the journey that Einstein took when he left mainland Europe on 26 May 1933 and came to Dover, England. At this point he was forced to accept that he would never return home to Berlin.

The card will be on temporary display from 10 May alongside details of the dramatic story of why Einstein was compelled to escape and what he went on to do.

Immigration officers at the border serve to protect our country and manage the flow of people inwards and outwards. If you look closely at the display you will be able to see the immigration officer’s stamp which allowed Einstein to pass into Britain.”

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