Letters in original postmarked envelopes, typed to sheet with A. Einstein address embossed at top: 112 Mercer Street, Princeton, New Jersey, USA.
1. Letter to Miss K. van Leeuwen, 214 Riverside Dr., Apt. 75, New York City; postmarked June 6, 1940, Princeton
In German. Einstein suggests that his friends in foreign countries overestimate his means to influence matters, suggesting for her to contact the International Student Service, New York. He advises her to add personal recommendations to her certifications, which he would gladly give, but feels embarrassed, since he doesn't know her. However, if she does want a personal recommendation, to please send documents that would allow him to write such a recommendation in good consciousness. Signed A. Einstein
2. Letter to Miss Katja van Leeuwen, M. D., Permanente Field Hospital, 14th and Cutting Boulevd., Richmond, California, postmarked September 11, 1945, Saranac Lake NY
In English. Einstein thanks van Leeuwen for sending information on Einstein's old friends the family of Paul Ehrenfest (1880–1933), an Austrian and Dutch theoretical physicist, who made major contributions to the field of statistical mechanics and its relations with quantum mechanics, including the theory of phase transition and the Ehrenfest theorem. He is very touched by the sad news about Galinka and her family but expresses hope for her husband. He has written to Mrs. Ehrenfest and is sending food-parcels regularly, understanding that life is very difficult there (Holland). He denunciates the crime the Germans have committed. "The strangest thing is that even the better people among the Germans are not conscious of their heavy responsibility for all those crimes committed by the Government they have chosen themselves, and that the outside world is rather inclined to forget about it. with best regards, yours sincerely, Signed A. Einstein
Envelopes age-toned with usual wear, letters folded. Item #46593
Kato van Leeuwen (1917–2018) disembarked in New York City from the SS Rex on May 9, 1940, the day before the Nazis invaded Holland. On its return journey to Genoa, the Italian ocean liner struck a mine and sank. Her father's foresight to get visas for the whole family allowed Kato's brother to come to the US first, traveling with a business acquaintance of his father. When W.W.II II broke out in 1939 Kato's mother followed with three more brothers and Kato's sister. She and her father stayed behind in Holland, her father due to his obligations to the employees in his casing factory and Kato's wish to finish medical school. After the invasion of Denmark her father booked passages for both of them. However, his visa through France was delayed due to his business connection with a certain Trotesky. The authorities found it to be suspicious since it sounded like Trotsky and delayed the process. The decision was made that Kato would leave by herself.
Kato's father survived the bombardment of Rotterdam, was taken to the Westborck detention camp and eventually sent to Bergen Belsen, the same Camp Anne Frank and her sister perished in. The connection to Robert Pell at FDR's State Department, her father had worked with him on the idea of settling European Jews in countries other than Palestine, proved valuable and eventually Kato's father was part of a group of 200 prisoners exchanged for a German Prisoner of War. His extremely poor health mandated that he recuperated for a few months in Algiers before embarking on the trip to the US.
After a brief job at the YMCA, Kato called on people whose names had been given to her by friends and some of her professors in Holland to advance her desire to gain entrance to a medical school. Most of the replies were negative but John Hopkins offered a glimpse of hope, suggesting that she should contact them in person if she happened to be in Baltimore. Soon after that letter Kato was on her way to Baltimore and was able to arrange for an interview with Halsey Barker, Jr., M. D., the assistant Dean of the medical school. Another appointment, with known medical author Luther Emmett Holt, Jr. M. D., (1895–1974), an American pediatrician and faculty member at Johns Hopkins University, led to a uniquely American insight: "if you cannot get through the front door, try the back door."
Kato decided to stay in Baltimore and took a position as a camp counselor for the summer to enhance her English. While still in Holland Kato's friend Galinka Ehrenfest had suggested to get in touch with Albert Einstein, a frequent visitor at Galinka's parents' home. Her father was a physics professor at the University of Leiden and Einstein, while lecturing at the University of Leiden, always stayed with Galinka's family.
Kato mustered the courage, contacted Einstein and eventually met him at his home in Princeton for tea.
"It was a sunny afternoon. Einstein had not come home yet but soon arrived on a bicycle in his tennis outfit wearing shoes but without socks. His housekeeper brought us tea and we talked. He was charming, unassuming and made me feel welcome. I have always cherished the memory of this visit."
Einstein wrote a letter of recommendation to John Hopkins and after the summer Kato started attending classes at John Hopkins, initially as a visitor, and in February of the following year as a third year student. she graduated in 1943 and began and internship in pediatrics at Strong Memorial Hospital in Rochester, New York, followed by a psychiatric internship at Bellevue Hospital in New York City. After the war Kato finished her psychiatric training at Mount Zion Hospital in San Francisco she was put in charge to set up a pioneer mental health program for the City of Oakland. Here she met her fellow resident in psychiatry and future husband Sydney Lawrence Pomer.
They both became training and supervisory analysts at the Southern California Psychoanalytic Institute. As one of the very first female child psychiatrists in Los Angeles Kato joined the teaching staff at UCLA's Neuropsychiatric Institute (NPI). As the chair of the child and adolescent analysis section of the institute for 15 years Kato published papers, including the groundbreaking and then controversial Pregnancy Envy in the Male, published by the International Psychoanalytical Association, engaged in research on Separation Anxiety in Preschool Children and Sexual Abuse of Children, served on local and national committees and became active in the community, including the PTA.