Einsteins houseBefore we left Le Coq this morning I walked back through its sleepy streets to N° 5 Shakespearelaan, and stood for a while before the shuttered house in my picture, Le Savoyarde. In March 1933, after completing a two-month visiting professorship at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, Albert Einstein, accompanied by his wife, Elsa, took a ship back across the Atlantic to Antwerp. On 30 January of the same year Adolf Hitler had been appointed chancellor of a coalition government of the NSDAP-DNVP Party. The SA and SS led torchlight parades through Berlin’s streets.  During their voyage the Einsteins were informed that their cottage had been raided by the Nazis and that his personal sailboat had been confiscated. Upon landing in Antwerp on 28 March, he immediately went to the German consulate where he turned in his passport and formally renounced his German citizenship. Not knowing quite what to do or where to go, the Einsteins rented the left part of the villa La Savoyarde in Le Coq. They would later be joined there by their daughters-in-law and his assistant, Walther Mayer and secretary, Helen Dukas. As a celebrity of the time, Einstein was soon receiving visits from diplomats, politicians, statesmen, journalists, authors and artists. One of the latter was James Ensor, with whom Einstein became good friends. In early April, Einstein learned that the new German government had passed laws barring Jews from holding any official positions, including teaching at universities. A month later, Einstein’s works were among those targeted by Nazi book burnings, and Nazi propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels proclaimed, “Jewish intellectualism is dead.” Einstein also learned that his name was on a list of assassination targets, with a “$5,000 bounty on his head.” One German magazine included him in a list of enemies of the German regime with the phrase, “not yet hanged”. On 9 September 1933, rightly judging that the situation was becoming increasingly dangerous – and, of course, fearing assassination by a fanatic, Einstein left Le Coq incognito for England. He sailed for the United States in October of the same year. He took up a position at the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton, New Jersey, that required his presence for six months each year. He was still undecided on his future (he had offers from European universities, including Oxford), but in 1935 he arrived at the decision to remain permanently in the United States and applied for US citizenship. There are plenty of pictures of Einstein in Le Coq, many of them quite moving for, even when he was smiling his eyes were, it seemed to me, sad.