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Einstein and the Blueshirts

Einstein and the Blueshirts

His lost weeks in Norfolk



In the long and distinguished career of Albert Einstein there can have been no more bizarre episode than the three weeks he spent sequestered in a log cabin on a Norfolk heath in September 1933. He was ostensibly taken there to guard him from Nazi assassins before his return to the USA, and his stay was a baffling mix of secrecy and publicity masterminded by a rogue Conservative politician, Commander Oliver Locker-Lampson, a man idealised by his loyal, mostly young and female, acolytes and ostracised by leading members of his own party as a political henchman and arch intriguer.

Less than a year before, Locker-Lampson’s nascent Fascist movement, the Blueshirts, had attracted the attention of Hitler, who had sent an emissary to London to sound out whether he was the puppet British Fuhrer he was looking for. Locker-Lampson’s intense patriotism and detestation of anti-Semitism put paid to that, and the Nazis moved swiftly on to woo Mosley and his Blackshirts.

In those few weeks of tranquillity in Norfolk before the world plunged towards extreme nationalism, racial intolerance and war, Locker-Lampson and Einstein formed an unlikely friendship that would endure to the end of their lives, as the Blueshirt turned away from Fascism to help mobilise public opinion against Appeasement and save other Jewish refugees from the Holocaust.

Norwich-based historian Stuart McLaren has been fascinated by the story of Einstein’s visit to Norfolk since childhood when an uncle told him he had seen Einstein in the north Norfolk village of Roughton when he was a child. He is the author of two books on Norfolk in the First World War, Somewhere in Flanders (2005) and They Are Not Dead (2014).

 

Contents:

A Moulted Feather; Let Einstein Be; The Arch Intriguer; Ancestral Voices; One of the Cruder Bounders; Homeless on Shakespeare Avenue; Murder in Marienbad; September Blow Soft; The Syrens’ Song; Splendid Solitude on the Heath; Death and Other Visitors; Lighthouse Keepers; A Righteous Gentile; Time Travellers; Notes; Select Bibliography; Index

 

ISBN 978-1-913304-00-3
Publication March 2020.