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Albert Einstein with refugee children and JDC leader William Rosenwald in Princeton, NJ

Philippe Halsman1949

American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee Archives

American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee Archives

At his home (112 Mercer Street) in Princeton, New Jersey, one day before his seventieth birthday, Albert Einstein is visited by a group of World War II European Jewish refugee children. Einstein's distant cousin, Elizabeth Kerzek (far left) , is among the group. The cousins had not met before. Einstein's dog, Chico, is also in this photograph. Leaning in behind Einstein to speak with him is the National Chairman of the United Jewish Appeal, William Rosenwald, who was also a major American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC) leader. United Service for New Americans, an agency of the UJA, brought the children to the United States. The image is one from a series of photographs used to publicize USNA’s work. An article featuring one of the photographs stated that Einstein had accepted a magnificent birthday gift from Rosenwald, “a pledge that all displaced persons camps in Europe would be emptied by the end of 1949. Einstein declared that he was “made happy by the thought." After the visit, he declared “these children visiting me are symbolic of the ideal of a revitalized Jewish people.’”

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