Elsa Einstein-Löwenthal (1876 - 1936)

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Nicknames: "Einstein's 2nd wife"
Birthdate:
Birthplace: Hechingen, Baden-Württemberg, Germany
Death: Died in Princeton, NJ, United States
Managed by: Yigal Burstein / יגאל בורשטיין
Last Updated:

About Elsa Einstein-Löwenthal

Elsa Einstein (January 18, 1876 – December 20, 1936) was a German cousin and the second wife of Albert Einstein. Elsa had the surname of Einstein at birth, lost it when she took the name of her first husband Max Löwenthal, and regained it in 1919 when she married her cousin Albert.

Early life

Elsa, the daughter of Rudolf Einstein and Fanny Koch, was born in Hechingen in January 1876. She had two sisters; Paula (c. 1878–c. 1955) and Hermine (1872–1942). Rudolf was a textile manufacturer in Hechingen. During the regular visits with the family in Munich, she often played with her cousin Albert. In her Swabian dialect, she called him "Albertle". After Albert Einstein had left Germany in 1894 to follow his family to Milan, their ways parted.

In 1896, Elsa married textiles trader Max Löwenthal (1864–1914), from Berlin, with whom she had three children: daughters Ilse and Margot and a son who was born and died in 1903. They lived with their daughters Ilse (1897–1934) and Margot (1899–1986) in Hechingen. In 1902, Max Loewenthal took a job in Berlin.[citation needed] His family stayed in Hechingen. She divorced Max on May 11, 1908, and moved with her two daughters to an apartment above her parents on Haberlandstrasse 5, in Berlin.

She began a relationship with her cousin Albert Einstein ("Albertie") at Easter 1912 and married him on June 2, 1919. Elsa's and Albert's mothers were sisters, which made Elsa and Albert first cousins, and their fathers were first cousins. Ilse and Margot, now Albert Einstein’s stepdaughters, lived with them. They had already changed their surname to Einstein and were now also his stepdaughters.

With daughters Ilse and Margot, the Einsteins formed a close-knit family. Although Albert and Elsa never produced any children of their own, Albert raised Ilse and Margot as his own. They lived in the Berlin area, also having a summer house in Caputh in nearby Potsdam.

Elsa’s main concern during her marriage was to take care of her world famous husband, to protect him from the annoying intrusiveness of the outside world. She accompanied him on his many journeys and enjoyed it when she saw that he was given admiration and respect. In 1929 she was the driving force when building their summer house in Caputh near Potsdam.

Late life

In 1933, Albert and Elsa Einstein emigrated to Princeton, New Jersey, USA. In autumn 1935, they moved to a house at 112 Mercer Street, bought that August, but shortly afterward Elsa developed an eye swelling and was diagnosed with heart and kidney problems. Elsa died after a painful illness on December 20, 1936, in the house in Mercer Street.

Explanatory note:

Elsa’s and Albert’s mothers were sisters, their fathers were cousins.

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Elsa Einstein-Löwenthal's Timeline

1876
January 18, 1876
Hechingen, Baden-Württemberg, Germany
1896
1896
Age 19
Hechingen, Baden-Württemberg, Germany
1897
1897
Age 20
Hechingen, Baden-Württemberg, Germany
1900
1900
Age 23
Germany
1903
1903
Age 26
Hechingen, Baden-Württemberg, Deutschland
1908
May 11, 1908
Age 32
1919
June 2, 1919
Age 43
Berlin, Germany
1936
December 20, 1936
Age 60
Princeton, NJ, United States
1936
Age 59