The letter is in the Library's Freud Collection.
Einstein's two manuscripts would be an adornment for any library. The sixty thousand or so items in the Freud archives make the Library of Congress the greatest repository of Freudiana, a veritable treasure house for scholars and students alike; and among those treasures are items of Jewish interest.
In the Library's Rare Book and Special Collections Division is an excellent copy of the first edition of Freud's greatest work, Die Traumdeutung (Interpretation of Dreams), Leipzig and Vienna, 1900 (really 1899), which was once the property of "Med. Dr. Fritz Magyar, Wien I, Hegelgasse 4." Freud presented his earliest views on dream interpretation at the Jüdischee akademische Lesehalle, first in 1896 and again a year later. On December 7 and 14, 1897, he delivered papers on "Traumdeutung" to the Vienna lodge of B'nai B'rith, of which he had become a member in September. These were the first of twenty-seven lectures before B'nai B'rith between 1897 and 1917. The society's journal reports on the first two:
Dennis B. Klein, whose Jewish Origins of the Psychoanalytic Movement, New York, 1981, informs us about this phase of Freud's life and activities, records the reaction of the audience. One reported: "From beginning to end, everyone present listened with rapt attention to Freud's words"; another, "The audience expressed their gratitude and approval with unrestrained applause."
Why did Freud seek out a Jewish audience for his scientific lectures? The answer is, alas, that no other group would provide him a platform, or a sympathetic hearing. In the spring of 1897, Emperor Franz Josef, after four refusals, finally accepted the outspoken anti-Semite Karl Lueger as Mayor of Vienna. Anti-Semitism was rife in Vienna, and Freud had felt its sting, being denied professional promotion once and again. Only fellow Jews provided the audience and the appreciation the father of psychoanalysis needed so desperately at that stage in his life and work, as he was moving from his career as a physician to becoming the "Founding Father" of the movement.
In 1926, when Freud's lodge brothers celebrated his seventieth birthday, illness kept him from attending the celebration, but he wrote to them:
Like Einstein, Freud served on the Board of the Hebrew University, but unlike him, Jewish interests and Jewish identity were not major concerns. The Library has the manuscript copy of his "Ein Wort Zum Antisemitismus" (A Word on Anti-Semitism), which appeared in Die Zukunft: ein neues Deutschland ein neues Europa, November 25, 1938, a German emigre weekly edited by Arthur Koestler, published in Paris. In it Freud includes the precis of an essay ostensibly by a non-Jew which defends the Jews. Critical of the nature of Christian protest against anti-Semitism, which the author contends was scanty and came too late, he writes:
Ernest Jones suggests that these words were written by Freud himself, and he may well be right. They were written soon after Freud completed his one major work of Jewish interest, which was published in 1939 in Amsterdam as Der Mann Moses und die Monotheistische Religion, and that same year as Moses and Monotheism in New York, a work which raised a storm of protest in the Jewish world. To maintain that monotheism was an Egyptian invention and Moses an Egyptian who was murdered by the Jews because of his message, was to rob the Jewish people of its greatest contribution and its greatest leader. To do this at a time when Judaism was being viciously maligned and Jews were being brutally treated gave all Jews pause.
In the Freud Collection we find the manuscript of the work in its three parts, "Moses Ein Ägypter" (Moses an Egyptian); "Wenn Moses Ein Ägypter War. . . " (If Moses were an Egyptian ... ); and "Moses, Sein Volk, und die Monotheistische Religion" (Moses, His People, and Monotheistic Religion). The manuscript also bore an earlier title, Der Mann Moses, Ein Historischer Roman (The Man Moses, A Historical Novel). The first two parts appeared in 1937 in the Viennese journal Imago; the third part was first published as the third section of the completed book.
Interpretation and critique of Moses and Monotheism are wide and varied. Professor Yosef Hayim Yerushalmi in the Lionel Trilling Lecture he delivered at Columbia University on November 14, 1986, noted that none of the scholars and critics had mentioned a manuscript of the work. He expressed delight that his inquiry to the Freud archives at the Library of Congress had brought him a Xerox copy of the original draft "different in significant ways from the published version." He found an original unpublished introduction, which Freud concluded with:
Yerushalmi also found that the manuscript draft and printed work differ substantially in their opening sentence. The original read: "One will not easily decide to deny a nation its greatest son because of the meaning of a name" (Moses is an Egyptian name). In its final form it reads: "To deprive a people of the man whom they take pride in as the greatest of their sons is not a thing to be gladly or carelessly undertaken especially when one himself belongs to that people" (emphasis added). Yerushalmi argues, elegantly and forcefully, that Moses and Monotheism is a work neither of negation nor degradation but of affirmation and pride in belonging to a people from whom, Freud writes:
In 1920, Freud began to be obsessed by death. This has been attributed to the death of his beloved daughter, Sophie, about which he wrote to Sandor Ferenczi, "Since I am profoundly irreligious ... there is no one I can accuse." Yet among his family papers, this profoundly irreligious man retained a small book of special Jewish prayers dealing with death. In box B3 we find a black-covered Yahrzeit booklet issued by a Berlin undertaker, which contains prayers in Hebrew and German to be said on the anniversary of the death of a loved one and at memorial services. Inscribed on the first page is the name of the one to be memorialized and the date of his death: "Maurice Freud, 24 Elul, 5680 (September 7, 1920)." Maurice or Moritz Freud was a cousin once-removed who was married to Sigmund's sister Marie. He died suddenly of a heart attack in Berlin, and Sigmund cancelled a professionally important trip to England "to go back to Berlin to see Marie and the orphan." Why did Freud retain the Yahrzeit booklet? It might help to point out that Sigmund was well aware that Moritz had been born in 1856, the year of his own birth. I leave it to Freudians to ponder.
Sources: Abraham J. Karp, From the Ends of the Earth: Judaic Treasures of the Library of Congress, (DC: Library of Congress, 1991).