In America we took rooms, later an apartment, and I was visiting the library daily. For eight months I worked on Freud and his Heroes, publishing the interpretation of Freuds dreams as a paper in the Psychoanalytic Review (1941). After eight months we were prepared to go home.On the day we had to sail, I was informed that my manuscript, Freud and his Heroes was accepted for print. We remained. In April 1940 I came upon the idea that the Exodus took place during a physical catastrophe; I started on the reconstruction of ancient historyfromt he end of the Middle Kingdom to Alexander of Macedonia, finding the correct correlation. In about October 20 the same year I came to the understanding of the real cause of that catastrophe that was embodied in Worlds in Collision. I also realized the implications for the celestial mechanicsand published a summary in Cosmos without Gravitation (1946), as an issue of Scripta Academica, to which previously Ch. Weizmann and Prof. Fodor contributed.
I worked hard for all those years. It is difficult to describe in short the enthusiasm and devotion provoked by and given to my research. We lived almost in poverty. I used pencils, two for a nickel, and could not buy a fountain pen, when I lost mine. We had for a year an apartment with a beautiful view of the Hudson, but none of us used 10-cent bus that passed in front of the house, because we could travel for 5 cents. Actually the second year in the U.S., we lived for $2,000, out of which $1,000 for apartment. Morning, day and evening I went to Columbia Library, and daily I had new finds. A little of the story is found in early sections of Stargazers. Elisheva studied sculpture at Columbia University under Moldarelli, and showed an unusual talent; her ability to give expression to a face, of unusual beauty, is probably unsurpassed, even in the scuptures of the Renaissance.
My books were rejected by many publishing houses. Finally Macmillan showed interest. When the mns. was given to the printerI sailed with Elisheva to Palestine. Our daughter Shulamith left in 1946 after having finished college (Hunter), Jewish Theological Seminary and having started in Columbia (Physics, graduate). Ruth remained in the U.S. and married a boy, Sidney Sicherman (later Sharon); we first opposed, then conditioned our consent on his going to collegewhich we also made possible. During the 1948 war in Palestine Shulamith actively participated. She was in the most dangerous spot, the Old City of Jerusalem when it was besieged, she actually went there with the intent to fight. she was the last to leave when the city fell. She saw her girl friend die next to her, wounded. She was attacked by Arab soldiers, cried to God, and was saved by an Arab officer, before harm was done.
I published over 40 inspired articles Observer in N.Y. Post on the editorial page, dealing with the Middle East. They were widely read, in U.N., in Washington, by Jews, and the identity of the author was a discussed topicnobody knew, for several months not even the editor of the Post, Thackrey, who found it out only by a trick on the day the Israeli state was founded. Not many single items served so well the cause in America as these articles. Then in 1948, Oct. 27 weElisheva and I went to Israel, by Mauritania to France. In Paris when the Security Council deliberated sanctions on Israel, I wrote an article that caused indignation of the British representative. In Israel we met Shulamith. There I became depressed: My depression started in January 1949 and deepened. I was overworked (by the work on my books, by articles, by psychiatric patients that I started to see since 1945). On February 1 we left Israel, the new state, reaching New York on Feb. 9 after a hard time in Paris. Finally Elisheva broke down. We both spent time in sanatoriums; I was four weeks under care, but did not receive in these weeks any medicine except once or twice one tablet of aspirin. Finally by the end of April I was my old self and on May 8 I was reunited with Elisheva, who suffered for me.
I resumed my psychoanalytic practice, and worked on Ages and Worlds. The latter work was described by Harpers (Eric Larrabee) in the January issue of 1950 in advance of publication. An enormous amount of criticism, for and against, followed the publication of the book. The story of the opposition is described in Stargazers. The book immediately rose to the first place on the non-fiction best-seller list and remained there for about 20 weeks. The opposition used unfair methods; Macmillan was coerced already in May-June 1950 to transfer the book to Doubleday.
In the fall of 1950 Shulamith came from Palestine and soon thereafter came Abraham Kogan and they were wed. Abraham studied aeronautics in Princeton. In 1952 first volume of Ages in Chaos was published; in the fall of that year we moved to Princeton, buying there a house. Shulamith bore a son, Meir; then they left for Israel. In the meantime, Ruth and Sidney moved to Princeton from California.
From November 1953 until the death of Einstein in April 1955 I had with him a series of long and exceedingly interesting debates. We also exchanged many letters. My debate with him centered only on one point, namely whether the sun and the planets and other celestial bodies are charged or not. From his marginal notes on my letters it is seen that he firmly opposed the idea of a charged earth and celestial bodies; he thought that I did not realize the largeness of the problem, until a month before his death, in two long sessionstill close to midnight, he read with me On the Four Systems of the World, agreeing that the fourth of these was well thought through. He read several of my manuscripts. Worlds in Collision was left on his desk when he went to hospital where he died. In the beginning he rudely rejected my work, though he, too, believed that some extraterrestrial (later he changed to terrestrially-caused) catastrophe took place. Nine days before his death, at our last meeting, he said to meI read much in your book [Worlds in Collision] and I find it very important (previously he would say he thought it wrong that scientists do not read it and give their own explanation)but I would not oppose Newtonall in your book could be explained in the frame of his system. In my books I left this chance standing (Epilogue to Worlds in Collision) but I claimed that in case the Earth and other celestial bodies are electrically (and sufficiently strongly) magnetically charged, the theory as conceived about 1666 must be re-examined. But when Einstein died, his name was used to degrade me. His death and the new attacks caused me much aggravation. In the fall of 1955 Doubleday published Earth in Upheaval; it was unfairly attacked by the same group, the soul of which was Shapley of Harvard.
In the fall of 1955 Shulamith came to Princeton with her two childrenRivka was born in Israel. Abraham came and made his Ph.D. with distinction. They spent 17 months with us. They left in the spring of 1957.
In the summer of 1957 Elisheva and I left for Europe, spending almost three weeks in England, Holland, France and Switzerland. There we spent time with Schaeffer, he came to the same conclusions as myself about the catastrophes, their number and times, and we contemplated to write in two volumes a common work. I have postponed for very long this trip but was happy to have made it. Elishevas sight became weak due to a cataract, and I wished to show her Europe. I analyzed myselfwhy was it so difficult for me to go on a trip. Finally we went and enjoyed it. From Switzerland to Italy, to Greece, again Schaeffer, and to Israel. This we added to the original plan. Twelve days after we came I knew that I was sick. I was operated and under similar conditions as in 1949 became depressed and went through once more the Valley of Tears.
* * *
Elisheva was before me in the night air before our house and I entered our home. Over five weeks we have not seen one another, only spoke occasionally on the wire. Warm and loving she met me and I had to be grateful to God that he spared her and she was before me not broken in spirit or body. How awful were the days and nights alone for her, pacing the floor. We started the life anew: we loved one another even more than all the years that passed, in soul and in body.
But I was not free of my depression. The great humiliation that I experienced by quarantening myself I felt keenly, and twice I broke down in loudly reproaching the Providence for what passed over me, whereas I gave my life to work and research; my position in the defense of my scientific stand was now immeasurably more dificult. How, for instance, could I publish Stargazers with Shapleys reference to keepers? I felt that I did not deserve the punishment, having led a life of devotionyears of wondering in Ukraine and the Caucasus, years of publishing Scripta, years of dissolving Sheerith Israel and protecting my parents to the best of my ability, years of writing Worlds in Collision and Ages in Chaos. Psychoanalytically my outburst could have been interpreted as a protest to my late father for being punished for not having done the filial duty in time to his memory at the cemetery, though so much I have done tohim and for him in his lifetime.
Time is a healer; Elisheva wept with me when I spoke of my experiences. Neither she nor I could read without crying the letter I have mailed to her from the sanatorium, with words of love.
A month after my return, I offered Dr. W. Federn to assist me and though he was prepared for a while to work without pay, I named the sum that I could pay monthly, and this was a little more than he had from another work for a relative-doctor in translating from late Latin. For the first time in his life he could make up his budget by earning it.
He read my draft of Oedipus, and he wrote: (22.IX.58): Ich habe ... den Eindruck dass Sie mit genialen Intuition wirklich das richtige getroffen haben, als Sie den Ursprung der Oedipus-Sage in historishcen Vorgängen der ausgehenden 18. Dynastie suchen. Yet he tried to change my scheme, and to make not Akhnaton, but Amenhotep III, to Oedipus. It was a strange offer, since all personalities of the tragedy were without similarity with the changed prototypes, Ay had no role at all in Federns scheme. But for some reason, my work on Oedipus and Akhnaton provoked in Federn an eruption of new ideas. Three days later (Sept. 25.58) he wrote again: The fertility of your idea is almost frightening. and on Sept. 30, he wrote: Ich habe Ihnen folgende geradezu welterschütternde, jedenfalls mich selbst erschütternden Mitteilungen zu machen.... und das Allerwichtigste: Ich bin jetzt der festen überzeugung, dass Ages in Chaos richtig ist, und habe eine fast unüberschbare Fülle von Beweismaterial. He twice underlined richtig; and he wrote that the second volume of Ages must be reworked.
This came to me seventeen years and eight months after first telling to Dr. Federn of my reconstruction on a snowy night near the Public Library, in January 1941, when for two hours we walked forth and back on the sidewalk of 42nd Street, Library side. Since then innumerable times he assured me that I cannot be right, yet he gave me all the constructive criticism and supplied me with bibliographical data. (Worlds in Collision he did not read before publication, but Ages in Chaos he read and supplied with many useful remarks). On May 31, exactly four months earlier, on his only visit to Princeton, he was completely declining my Ages, and telling me that I could not be right in my reconstruction, not even the smallest chance was for that, and the, I repeatedly interrupted him, sayinghow does he say this to me, so harsh, when he sees me in depression. Then I needed only one success, only one achievement, and possibly I would have been able to straighten myself, if he would have told me on May 31 what he wrote me on Sept. 30.
Yet soon I saw that he intended to change drastically the scheme of 8-4 centuries, and to me it appeared entirely unsupported; then also he wished to change radically in vol. I of Ages, claiming, on the other hand, complete agreement. He started to call my scheme New Chronology, and many letters followed.
When I was away came a long letter from Claude Schaeffer, and it was so completely negating my reconstruction, that Elisheva spent many sleepless nights, not being able to face the situation: How will she ever be able to let me see Schaeffers letter. In that letter he was intemperate; and instead of giving arguments, invoked his own and his colleagues authority, even more his own position in learned institutions, than authority. Cannot be, is not, impossible, with these words he strafed all my identifications. Schaeffer asked Elisheva to show me his letter only after I shall recover, because he was by then acquainted with my break-down. But his letter almost broke completely Elisheva and she cried in the night and kept the letter hidden under her mattress. To me she would not show the letter, saying she misplaced or destroyed itbut finally, upon my insistence, about a week after my return home, showed it to me. I took it, to her surprise, very calmly, and then I wrote a long answer to Schaeffer. He was probably also personally hurt because his work in Alasia was not accounted by me (he forgot that I had my mns of Ages 2 set in 1951). I beseech you not to publish my work for the sake of my reputation and his friendship for me. But I was not disheartened.
Should I be given a chance to live and work, I have to publish Ages vol. 2 and other books. But I would also like to write an autobiography, Days and Years or At Evetide. Should I not be given the chance, I thank my Creator for the life I had, for Elisheva I met, for children and grandchildren, all very fine and cordial, for the three years in Caucasus and Ukraine, for two years with Scripta, for defending my parents in Palestine, for the discoveries it was my luck to make. Actually God let me know of the past of the world and possibly of its architectonics, more that it was disclosed to any other person, if I am right in what I found.