Paper brings Einstein's arrival in UK to life

By Robyn Rosen, May 10, 2011
Albert Einstein

Albert Einstein

Albert Einstein's original landing card from his journey following his escape from Nazi Germany has been discovered among hundreds of immigration documents at Heathrow Airport.

The papers, which document Einstein's journey from Belgium to Dover on May 26 1933, was found by museum curators as they sifted through the airport's archives to collect material for a new exhibition.

Lucy Gardner, assistant curator of the Seized! The Border and Customs Uncovered exhibit at Merseyside Maritime Museum in Liverpool, where the documents are now on display, said: "Our museum was planning to exhibit the history of immigration so we visited Heathrow Airport to collect relevant documents.

"There were two big bookcases filled with papers and it was there we found Einstein's document.

"We were amazed when we found it and couldn't believe it was really his. It was handwritten so we showed it to handwriting experts and compared it to other documents.

"When we realised it was Einstein's we were really excited."

The landing card bears Einstein's signature, lists his nationality as Swiss and his profession as professor.

"People weren't sure exactly when he came and which journey he took so this proves it now," Ms Gardner said.

"This shows how Einstein had renounced his German citizenship only weeks earlier in angry reaction to Nazi policies.

"We've never had anything like this at the museum before. This tiny piece of paper brings to life Einstein's escape from the Nazis to England. This country became a safe haven for him until he eventually settled in the US.

"It's a great introduction to people who want to learn about immigration."

Last updated: 4:12pm, May 10 2011