Newly published private travel diaries have revealed Albert Einstein’s racist and xenophobic views including his opinion on Sri Lankans.
Written between October 1922 and March 1923, the diaries track his experiences in Asia and the Middle East.
Einstein travelled from Spain to the Middle East and via Sri Lanka, then called Ceylon, on to China and Japan.
On then Ceylon, he wrote, the locals “live in great filth and considerable stench at ground level,” before adding they “do little, and need little. The simple economic cycle of life.”
Published by Princeton University Press, The Travel Diaries of Albert Einstein: The Far East, Palestine, and Spain, 1922-1923 was edited by Ze’ev Rosenkranz, assistant director of the California Institute of Technology’s Einstein Papers Project.
But the famous physicist reserves his most cutting comments for Chinese people, the BBC reported.
According to a piece in the Guardian about the diaries, he describes Chinese children as “spiritless and obtuse”, and calls it “a pity if these Chinese supplant all other races”.
In other entries he calls China “a peculiar herd-like nation,” and “more like automatons than people”, before claiming there is “little difference” between Chinese men and women, and questioning how the men are “incapable of defending themselves” from female “fatal attraction”.
Noted for both his scientific brilliance and his humanitarianism, Albert Einstein emigrated to the US in 1933 after the rise of Adolf Hitler and the Nazi party.
The Jewish scientist described racism as “a disease of white people” in a 1946 speech at Lincoln University in Pennsylvania. (Colombo Gazette)