Albert Einstein is widely regarded as one of the most significant individuals of the twentieth century. His ideas about space, time, motion, and energy revealed new paths for the world to follow. His work is still used by astronomers to analyse everything from gravitational waves to Mercury’s orbit. His contributions to science philosophy are equally noteworthy. E=mc^2 is one of the most famous equations of all time. Here is a sneak-peak into Einstein’ personal life.
Who was Einstein's first wife?
Mileva Maric, a fellow student at the University of Zurich, was Einstein’s first wife. Einstein married her in January 1903. The couple had welcomed their first child, a daughter named Lieserl, a year earlier, in 1902.
After a year of marriage, the couple welcomed a son, Hans Albert, and a third child, Eduard, in 1910. Even today, little is known about Lieserl’s life, hence remains a mysterious figure. Historians only discovered her existence in 1936, when they discovered a letter between Albert and Mileva in which Lieserl was mentioned. It is unknown whether she was adopted, died, or what happened to her.
In 1919, they both divorced. They had been separated for 5 years at that point. Mileva stayed in Zurich and cared for the children while Einstein taught at the University of Berlin. She was later given money from Einstein’s Nobel Prize as support.
Who was Elsa Lowenthal?
Einstein’s second wife, Elsa Lowenthal, whom he married in 1919, was a physicist. She was her second cousin and a widow with two grown daughters, Ilse and Margot. Albert adored his stepdaughters and raised them as if they were his own. He and Elsa never had any children.
Though this close-knit family lived in Berlin, they had a summer home in Caputh, near Potsdam. Ilse had worked as Einstein’s secretary for a short time. Elsa acted as his shield, keeping unwanted visitors at bay. At the time, Albert was a well-known scientist. She accompanied him on his numerous trips to give lectures and talks. In 1921, the couple travelled to the United States to raise funds for a Jewish homeland.
She supported his career by assisting him with the nitty-gritty details of daily life. Unfortunately, her health deteriorated and she became ill 17 years into their marriage and died in December 1936.
Impact of Adolf Hitler on Einstein
As soon as Hitler became Chancellor of Germany, the persecution of Jews began. This culminated in the Holocaust, in which over six million Jews were slaughtered. Nazi officials and the media chastised prominent Jews. Nazis and their collaborators attacked and arrested them.
Albert Einstein was an obvious target as an opponent of Nazism and a proponent of peace. The Nazis launched a campaign to smear Einstein’s reputation. He was portrayed as a symbol of “Jewish degeneracy,” and he was accused of disseminating “atrocity propaganda.” In February and March 1933, the Gestapo (Nazi Germany’s official secret police) raided Einstein’s Berlin apartment several times. During that time, he was a teacher at the California Institute of Technology in the United States. Albert was well aware that his chances of survival in Nazi Germany were slim. But somehow he did manage it.