★ Albert Einstein ★
Albert Einstein led the ‘Einstein Meeting’ at the Hall in 1933 for the Council for British Charity: Assisting Refugee Academics, while en route to safe haven in New York.
On 3 October 1933, Einstein spoke at the Royal Albert Hall for the first and only time, speaking of his fear of the looming crisis in Europe.
This speech was made almost six years before war in Europe began and it would be another 10 years before the full horrors of the war would be fully understood in Britain, but to Albert Einstein and other Jews living in Germany, the crisis had already begun.
Four days after the speech, Albert Einstein sailed to New York to start a new job at Princeton University. He would never return to Europe.
“Without such freedom there would have been no Shakespeare, no Goethe, no Newton, no Faraday, no Pasteur and no Lister. There would be no comfortable houses for the mass of people, no railway, no wireless, no protection against epidemics, no cheap books, no culture and no enjoyment of art at all. There would be no machines to relieve the people from the arduous labour needed for the production of the essential necessities of life. Most people would lead a dull life of slavery just as under the ancient despotisms of Asia. It is only men who are free, who create the inventions and intellectual works which to us moderns make life worth while.”
Einstein was named one of the eleven inaugural recipients of a Royal Albert Hall Star, celebrating his sensational impact on the venue’s history. His star was collected by BFHU’s Simon Arenson (pictured).
A commemorative plaque celebrating his speech at the Hall is carved into stone and can be seen outside the venue near the entrance to Door 5.