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Published 2022-01-14
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The Unknown & Tragic Life Of Albert Einstein's Children.

) Albert Einstein is remembered by many as a great scientist and his name is synonymous with genius. The brilliant theoretical physicist who had to flee his native country as the Nazis came into power and who had a brilliant mind. And while everyone to a certain extent is familiar with Albert and his remarkable work, only a few know about the tragic life of his son. Why did his youngest son Eduard spend over three decades in an asylum while his family fled to America? Make sure you read until the very end to find out more about the tragic life of Eduard Einstein.

Eduard Einstein - Early Life

Eduard’s mother was Mileva Maric who was Albert’s first wife. She was the only female student who studied physic at the Zurich Polytechnic Insitute where Einstein also attended in 1896. Soon he had become smitten with her despite the fact that Mileva was four years older than he was. Ultimately, the pair married in 1903 and had three children, Lieserl, who had vanished from history and some report she had either passed away or was given up for adoption, Hans Albert, and the youngest, Eduard who was born in Zurich, Switzerland on July 28th, 1910. Despite the fact that Albert separated from Maric in 1914 he had kept up a lively correspondence with his sons.

Albert Einstein - Absent Father?

According to reports from various biographers during their marriage, and later after their separation, Maric would often lament that the famous father of her children would put his science before his family. But as their oldest son Hans Albert, who went on to become an engineer, later recalled that when he and his brother were young their “father would put aside his work and watch over us for hours” while their mother “was busy around the house”.

Eduard Einstein - A Sick Boy

The youngest Einstein boy was a sickly child from the very start. As biographers noted in books his early years were often marked by periods where he was so ill that it made him unable to join the rest of his family on various trips. Despite the fact that the story of his youngest son isn’t as known as Albert’s genius, he was a caring father who despaired over young Eduard even after he separated from Mileva and left the family. In one letter in 1917 that he wrote to a colleague, the physicist wrote “My little boy’s condition depresses me greatly. It is impossible that he would become a fully developed person.” Read on to find out why the genius blamed himself!

Albert Einstein - The Dark Thoughts

And while just like any parents Einstein worried about his son and wanted him to get better the coldly scientific part of him had wondered if “it wouldn’t be better for him if he could depart before coming to know life properly”. However, his paternal love won and the scientist vowed to do whatever he could and whatever was in his power to help his sick son. Albert would often pay for and even accompany Eduard on trips and stays to various sanatoriums.

Eduard Einstein - Career

Despite all odds, the youngest Einstein boy, whom his father affectionately dubbed ‘tete’ from the French ‘petit’, grew older and ended up developing many different interests in things such as poetry, piano-playing, and, eventually, psychiatry. He was particularly fond, some even said he worshiped, Sigmund Freud and the young man ended up following in his father’s footsteps by enrolling in Zurchi university, although he intended to become a psychiatrist. By that time, Albert’s fame had already been solidly established and it seemed as it might have bothered Eduard a little as he once wrote “it’s at times difficult to have such an important father because one feels so unimportant”.

Eduard Einstein - Downward Spiral

The aspiring psychiatrist would follow in his father’s footsteps once again when he ended up falling in love with an older woman at the university, but unfortunately for him, the relationship ended disastrously, though no details were given as to why. However, it appears that it was around that time that Eduard’s mental health took a severe turn for the worse. He was sent into a downward spiral that ended with a suicide attempt in 1930. It was then that the youngest Einstein was diagnosed with schizophrenia and it had since been speculated that the harsh treatments of the era had worsened rather than eased his condition. It did so to such a point where it impacted his speech and cognitive abilities.

Albert Einstein - Felt Guilty Over Son’s Condition

For his part Albert had believed that his son’s condition was hereditary and that it was passed down through generations, in this case from his mother’s side of the family. Though as it was later revealed his scientific observations didn’t help the physicist with the grief and guilt that he was feeling. The scientist’s second wife Elsa would later remark that the sorrow was eating Albert up. And while he faced issues with his youngest son, soon there were other problems that were added to his life. By the early 1930s, the Nazi Party had risen in Europe and after Hitler took power in 1933, Einstein could not return to the Prussian Academy of Sciences in Berlin where he had been working since 1914.

Einstein Family - Time To Flee Europe

While at the time Einstein may have been one of the world’s most famous scientists, he was also Jewish. A fact that some of his countrymen could not accept and that forced him to flee to the United States in 1933 with his family. Although Albert had hoped that his younger son would be able to join in America along with his older brother, Eduard’s continually deteriorating mental condition prevented him from being able to see refuge in the US which meant that ultimately he had to be left behind.

Eduard Einstein - Left Behind

However, the famous scientist would not abandon his son completely. Before he emigrated, Albert went to visit his son at the asylum where he was being cared for, one last time. Although he later would keep up a correspondence and would continue to send money for his son’s care, the father and son would not meet again. Eduard had spent over three decades of his life in the psychiatric clinic of Burghölzli at the University of Zurich and the remainder of his life was spent in an asylum in Switzerland and he was buried in Hönggerberg cemetery in Zurchi after he died of a stroke at the age of 55 in October 1965, 10 years after his father.

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