Albert Einstein diaries reveal he made racially offensive comments

Albert Einstein made shocking comments about Chinese people and viewed them as being intellectually inferior, it has been revealed.

Later in his life the genius called racism a "disease of white people" and became a champion of the civil rights movement in the United States.

But The Travel Diaries of Albert Einstein, translated from German to English for the first time, show he did not think like that during earlier travels to the Far East and Middle East.

Einstein was awarded the Nobel Prize in physics in 1922.

That year he set out on a five month odyssey that included China, Singapore, Hong Kong, Japan, Palestine and Spain, keeping diaries that were not intended to become public.

In them he called China a "peculiar herd-like nation" and said its citizens were "often more like automatons than people".

He wrote: “Chinese don’t sit on benches while eating but squat like Europeans do when they relieve themselves out in the leafy woods. All this occurs quietly and demurely. Even the children are spiritless and look obtuse.

The Theory of Relativity

"It would be a pity if these Chinese supplant all other races. For the likes of us the mere thought is unspeakably dreary.”

Traveling in Ceylon, now Sri Lanka, Einstein wrote that people “live in great filth and considerable stench at ground level".

He added that they "do little, and need little. The simple economic cycle of life".

The scientist was kinder about the Japanese saying they were "unostentatious, decent, altogether very appealing".

But he added: "Intellectual needs of this nation seem to be weaker than their artistic ones – natural disposition?"

According to the publishers the diaries "contain passages that reveal Einstein’s stereotyping of members of various nations and raise questions about his attitudes on race".

Ze’ev Rosenkranz, the editor of the book, said Einstein had made comments that were "pretty unpleasant" and at odds with his humanitarian image.

He said Einstein’s opinion that people in the Far East were intellectually inferior was "pretty prevalent" at the time. The remarks were "still shocking, especially to a modern reader," he said.

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