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The Unknown Son of Albert Einstein: What Secret the Brilliant Scientist Kept All His Life
The Unknown Son of Albert Einstein: What Secret the Brilliant Scientist Kept All His Life

The name of Albert Einstein is probably known to everyone. After his discovery of the theory of relativity and the equation E = MC2, he became famous all over the world and went down in history forever. Naturally, his personal life aroused great curiosity in many. And for good reason. He really had it very stormy, full of dramas, scandals and all sorts of life twists and turns. There was also something that had to be hidden from the general public. What skeleton did the brilliant physicist keep in his closet?

Everyone knows Albert Einstein. Has anyone heard of his son, Edward Einstein? Few people know about its existence. His life story is full of tragedy. Why was the very memory of him consigned to oblivion?


Eduard Einstein was born on July 28, 1910 in Zurich, Switzerland. He was the second son of the physicist Albert Einstein and his first wife Mileva Maric. He had an older brother, Hans Albert Einstein, who was six years his senior.

Mileva Maric, Albert Einstein's first wife

Albert affectionately nicknamed him "tete" from the French word "petit" (baby). After a while, the family moved to Berlin. However, soon the marriage of Albert and Mileva broke up. They officially divorced in 1919. This event apparently greatly influenced the boys, especially Hans. Mileva did not like Berlin, so she left Albert, went to Zurich and took her sons with her. Despite the distance, Albert kept up a live correspondence with his sons. He visited them as often as he could, and even took Hans and Edward on vacation.

For a long time, many believed that Albert was cold with both boys. But recently discovered correspondence suggests that he was very gentle, loving and considerate. He was interested in all the details of their life. Mileva always said that Albert preferred science to his family. But later, their son Hans told how Albert put off all his chores to look after the children while his mother was busy with household chores.

Albert and Mileva Einstein, 1912

Painful but gifted child

In his youth, Edward was an extremely weak and sickly child. Because of this, he often skipped family trips. Albert Einstein was very concerned about his son's health. In one of his letters to his colleague, he wrote: “The state of my little boy is very depressing for me. I am afraid that he is not destined to become an adult."

Albert and Edward

The scientist often thought that it was better not to see his son, so as not to become attached to him, but he drove such thoughts away from himself. Albert vowed to make his son's recovery his first priority. He tried his best to find the best care and treatment for Edward, even accompanied him to various sanatoriums.

At an early age, Edward showed promising signs that he had inherited his father's intelligence. He was generously gifted with various creative talents. Especially in the field of music and poetry. The boy was interested in psychiatry, his idol was Sigmund Freud. In 1929, Edward passed all exams and became one of the best students in his school. He entered the University of Zurich, like his father once did. The young man studied medicine to become a psychiatrist.

Albert Einstein with his newborn son

Only the state of his health cast a death shadow on all successes. This was especially troubling for Albert Einstein. He was very proud of his son's achievements. For a while, it even seemed that Edward had the same bright future in science as his father.

In the shadow of his father

It was not easy to have Albert Einstein himself as a father. It's one thing when your parents are divorced and you just rarely see one of them. But for both Hans and Edward, the biggest problem was living in the shadow of his father. By the time Edward entered the university, Albert had gained worldwide fame. The young man wrote about this very eloquently and frankly: "Sometimes it is very difficult to have such an important father, because you feel so insignificant."

Hans Albert in 2005

Terrible diagnosis

At the age of 20, Edward began to show symptoms of schizophrenia. It was at this time that he fell in love at the university with an elderly teacher. Ironically, it was there that Albert Einstein met Mileva. Edward's romance ended in disaster, which worsened his mental state. His health deteriorated and around 1930 he tried to commit suicide.

Then he was officially diagnosed with schizophrenia. Edward was admitted to Burgholzli, a mental hospital in Zurich, in 1932. Many now believe that the wrong and harsh psychiatric treatment at that time only irreparably aggravated his illness. His brother Hans believed that Eduard's electroconvulsive therapy had a significant impact on his speech and cognitive abilities.

Albert Einstein's two sons, Edward and Hans Albert, are seen in this photograph in July 1917

Edward had to leave his studies. Mileva looked after her son herself. Despite the money that Albert regularly sent, the woman had to work very hard to look after her son and pay the space bills for his treatment.

The gap between father and son

Edward's deteriorating health only doubled Albert Einstein's concern for his son. He worried about this for the rest of his life. The scientist felt guilty for Edward's health condition. He believed it was hereditary, passed down through the maternal line. Elsa, Albert's second wife, even noticed once that this deep sadness was simply devouring him from the inside.

Refined and talented Edward Einstein with his father and teacher

In a letter to his friend, Albert wrote: "The most refined of my sons, the one whom I considered really talented, who inherited my nature, is seized by an incurable mental illness."

After another mental breakdown, Edward told his father that he hated him. At that time, Nazism began to gain momentum and Albert had to decide to leave for America. A little later, his eldest son will follow him. For Edward, immigration was not an option. Albert really wanted to move his son to the United States, but Edward's constant deterioration in his mental state made it impossible. In 1933, Einstein visited his son before leaving. This was their last meeting, they will never see each other again.

Elsa Einstein Lowenthal, Einstein's second wife Einstein with his wife Elsa, 1921


Edward and his father kept up a correspondence for the rest of their lives. He continued to be interested in art and music. He even continued to write poetry, sending them to Albert. Even his love for psychiatry has not faded away. On the wall of his bedroom was a portrait of Sigmund Freud.

Milev's mother looked after her son until her death in 1948. After that, Eduard had to move to a permanent place of residence at the Burghoelzli psychiatric clinic in Zurich. There he died of a stroke in 1965 at the age of 55. Eduard Einstein outlived his father by 10 years. The forgotten son of the genius Einstein was buried in the Henggerberg cemetery in Zurich.

Fate is very unfavorable to geniuses. Apparently, the giftedness of the mind is enough, happiness is not an obligatory attribute. Read our article about another insanely talented scientist with a difficult fate: the sad fall of genius: what went wrong for Nikola Tesla.

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