Birthday: January 18, 1876
Died At Age: 60
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Also Known As: Elsa
Born Country: Germany
Born in: Hechingen, Germany
Famous as: Albert Einstein's Wife
Spouse/Ex-: Albert Einstein (m. 1919), Max Löwenthal (m. 1896–1908)
father: Rudolf Einstein
mother: Fanny Koch
siblings: Hermine Einstein, Paula Einstein
children: Ilse Löwenthal, Margot Löwenthal
Died on: December 20, 1936
place of death: Princeton, New Jersey
Elsa Einstein was the second wife as well as a first cousin of Albert Einstein through their mothers. Their fathers were also first cousins. Elsa, who was born with the surname Einstein, lost it when she married her first husband, Max Löwenthal, in 1896. However, she regained it after marrying Albert Einstein in 1919. The daughter of a textile manufacturer, Elsa developed a friendly bond with Albert when they were both children. She, however, developed romantic feelings for him while he was still married to his first wife. Following his divorce and their subsequent marriage, Elsa emerged as a loyal and caring comrade to the physicist. Besides managing his career and day-to-day life, she nursed him when he was in poor health. As a selfless wife, she acknowledged his flaws and still chose to stay with him even though he cheated on her several times. The couple left Germany during the rise of the Nazis and moved to USA. Elsa died in 1936.
Childhood & Early Life
Elsa Einstein was born on 18 January 1876, in Hechingen, German Empire, to Rudolf Einstein and Fanny Koch Einstein. She grew up alongside her two sisters, Hermine and Paula. During the regular visits to her maternal aunt, she frequently played with her cousin Albert Einstein and developed a friendly bond with him. The two, however, parted ways in 1894 after Albert left Germany for Milan.
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In 1896, Elsa Einstein married Max Löwenthal, a textile trader from Berlin. The couple had two daughters, Ilse and Margot, and a son who died shortly after birth. Elsa lived with Löwenthal in Hechingen. She eventually divorced him in 1908. Following the divorce, she along with her daughters moved to Berlin.
Elsa started a romantic relationship with Albert Einstein in 1912, while the latter was still married to physicist Mileva Marić. Albert divorced Mileva to marry Elsa in 1919. He adopted her daughters, Ilse and Margot, and treated them as his own.
Elsa spent her entire married life acting as Albert Einstein’s gatekeeper, guarding him from unwelcome guests. She also acted as a driving force for his career and managed his everyday business affairs until 1928. As his partner, she accompanied Albert during his many professional trips. In 1921, the couple traveled to USA to help raise funds for a cause. A devoted and selfless wife, Elsa Einstein took the utmost care of Albert even though he has not an ideal husband. In 1917, when he became seriously ill, she restored him back to health.
Elsa Einstein’s love for Albert was one without expectations. She accepted him wholeheartedly even when he confessed to her about his extramarital affairs. Some of the women he had affairs with while still married to Elsa were Margarete, Margarita, Estella, Ethel, and Toni.
It is unclear why Elsa Einstein stayed loyal to Albert even when he considered breaking off their engagement to propose marriage to Elsa’s daughter Ilse. However, Ilse declined his proposal as she considered him to be a “father figure” to her. This revelation was made public after Albert Einstein’s personal letters were acquired from Princeton University after his death.
Later Life & Death
After the rise of the Nazis in Germany in the early 1930s, Elsa and her husband couldn’t stay in Germany. In 1933, the couple immigrated to New Jersey, USA, after their property was seized by the government. Soon, Elsa travelled to Paris to take care of her daughter Ilse who was battling cancer. Not long after Ilse's death, Elsa Einstein developed heart and liver problems. She eventually died on December 20, 1936.