Unpublished letters shed light on Einstein
11 July 2006, JERUSALEM - After a 20-year pledge of secrecy, Israel's Hebrew University of Jerusalem has made public hundreds of letters written by Albert Einstein, which shed new light on his personal life and character.
11 July 2006
JERUSALEM - After a 20-year pledge of secrecy, Israel's Hebrew University of Jerusalem has made public hundreds of letters written by Albert Einstein, which shed new light on his personal life and character.
Among others, the letters written to his second wife Elsa and stepdaughter Margot show the German-born Nobel Prize winner as a more loving and involved father than previously thought, as the owner of a cheeky sense of humour and as a "shabby" dresser who refused to wear socks even on the most solemn occasions.
Margot Einstein, bequeathed the letters - all written in German - to the university after her death on July 8, 1986, but because of their personal nature stipulated they remain sealed for 20 years.
This period ended on Saturday and the letters are now accessible at the Hebrew University's Albert Einstein Archive, Professor Hanoch Gutfreund told Deutsche Presse-Agentur.
The 1,400 documents which contain more than 3,500 pages, include some 260 letters written by Einstein to Elsa, as well as letters from his first wife Mileva, whom he divorced in 1919, and his two sons. Thus far, only the letters from Einstein to Mileva and sons had been known.
In one letter dating June 11, 1933, Einstein describes how during a visit to Oxford he finally got used to wearing a tuxedo "as he got used to the toothbrush in previous times."
But one thing - Einstein wrote to Elsa - he was unwilling to compromise on: he would not wear socks.
He therefore told her he always wore high boots with his tux, to avoid exposing his "lack of culture."
In another letter to Margot from May 1931, Einstein admits that one of his mistresses followed him to England uninvited. "Her chasing me is getting out of control," Eintein wrote, according to an excerpt sent to DPA.
Urging his stepdaughter not to talk, he added, "I don't care what people are saying about me, but for mother and Mrs M it is better that not every Tom, Dick and Harry gossip about it."
Einstein also wrote to Elsa, in January 1921, that at times he became "fed up" with his own theory of relativity. "Even such a thing fades away when one is too involved with it."
Subject: German news