I N T R O D U C T I O N T O V O L U M E 1 0 x x x v
anti-relativity attacks of that summer and his assurances to his colleagues that he
would remain in Berlin, Einstein reiterated to Elsa his wish of purchasing a sailboat
and a house away from Berlin, a city he found “nerve-wracking” (Doc. 149).
In the letters to Elsa of 1917, Einstein described Hans Albert, whom he had not
seen since April 1916, as “a fellow one could only wish for,” despite his being on
occasion “quite recalcitrant,” “clearly under [his] mother’s influence.” In Arosa,
where he visited his younger son, who suffered from repeated illnesses, he was
pleased to see how “splendid” Eduard looked, his complexion “as healthy as that
of a peasant boy.” In Einstein’s opinion, their mother’s absence had a positive effect
on both sons. He enjoyed their company and, despite the frequent illnesses, now
reported that he did not believe there was anything seriously wrong with Eduard.
He also reassured Elsa that “our gals” Ilse and Margot were no less dear to him
(Docs. 8, 361b, 361c, 361d, and 361f).
Einstein’s own health problems, and the scarcity of appropriate food, were mit-
igated during the war years through the help of the Zangger and Winteler families,
who sent him food packages (see Docs. 8, 291a, 297a, 357a, 661a, and 661b). His
correspondence with his sister Maja Winteler-Einstein often revolved around the
worsening of daily conditions not only in Germany, but in Switzerland as well
(Docs. 8, 475b and 561b, and Doc. 9, 128a), the influenza epidemic (Doc. 8, 561a),
the Swiss general strike (Docs. 8, 659a and 659b), various financial matters, such
as their joint investment in the Schweizerische Auer-Aktien-Gesellschaft (Docs. 9,
96a, 206b, and 239a), and the care of their terminally ill mother, Pauline (Docs. 9,
96a, 128a, and 206a).
By January 1918, the Zurich family’s financial difficulties intensified due to the
expenses for Eduard’s medical care in Arosa. Hans Albert requested that Einstein
send the next quarterly payment to cover their costs earlier than planned, as the in-
creasingly unfavorable Swiss-German currency exchange rate was affecting them
adversely. A few weeks later, while expressing concern for Einstein, who had been
bedridden from December 1917 until April 1918, Hans Albert also voiced indigna-
tion at his father’s accusation that Eduard was being “mollycoddled.” He wrote that
Einstein lacked a proper understanding of the family’s difficulties, and that he knew
Heinrich Zangger, without whom they could not have coped, far better than he
knew his own father (Docs. 8, 435a and 442a).
In February 1918, Mileva Einstein-Maric;, in her first letter in this volume, react-
ed negatively to Einstein’s renewed attempt to obtain a divorce. A month later, she
seemed prepared to accept his proposed terms, with the added provisions that her
widow’s pension in the event of Einstein’s death be guaranteed, and that in the
future he communicate and send payments to her directly, rather than through
intermediaries. Her frail physical state, and the prolonged periods of time spent in
hospitals and sanatoria—the worst of which had occurred between the summer of