D O C U M E N T 1 4 8 O C T O B E R 1 9 1 9 2 1 5
Kann ich etwas tun?
Debye war hier! prachtvoller Mensch! Meine Frau hatte grosse Freude an
Ich habe schwer. Werde zerrissen von unnützen Dingen, alle meine Leute
Dass Sie nichts vom krummen Licht schreiben, beweist mir dass selbst solche
Bestätigungen nur die intellektuelle Oberfläche der Menschen treffen
Wegen Deutschem Aufenthalt erkundige ich mich noch.
ALS. [39 720].
This letter is dated on the assumption that it was written the same day as the dated postscript.
Brambergstr. 16A was the address of Pauline’s daughter, Maja Winteler-Einstein, in Lucerne.
Richard Zürcher (1911–1982) was a playmate of Eduard Einstein and lived in the same house
in Zurich as the Einstein family.
A week earlier Paul Epstein also commented on Einstein’s confidence in his prediction of the
gravitational bending of light (see Doc. 136).
Emil Zürcher represented Mileva Einstein-Maric; in the divorce proceedings. Einstein com-
plained to Mileva a week earlier that he could no longer afford the annual 8,000 francs agreed upon
in the divorce settlement (see Doc. 135 and Divorce Decree, Doc. 6).
The amount is presumably 60,000, as the exchange rate in mid-October was 5:1 (see Doc. 135).
Einstein was a shareholder in the Swiss branch of the Deutsche Gasglühlicht Aktiengesellschaft
(Auergesellschaft); see Doc. 7.
Einstein was considering moving Mileva and his sons to Germany, specifically Konstanz in
Baden, in order to counter the effects of an ever-weakening exchange rate (see Doc. 135).
Three months earlier a rumor had circulated in Berlin that the Swiss authorities were making
strenuous efforts to lure Einstein back to a full-time position in Zurich (see Doc. 73). At the end of
the summer, Einstein reassured Fritz Haber (see Doc. 84) and Max Planck (see Doc. 103) that he
would not leave Berlin.
In early September, Einstein announced to his mother that he would cease lecturing in Zurich
(see Doc. 99). During the past year he had offered two cycles of relativity lectures during the winter
and summer semesters at the university (see Auszug aus dem Protokoll des Erziehungsrates des Kan-
tons Zurich, 23 December 1918; entry of 9 January 1919 in Calendar; minutes of the meeting of the
Philosophical Faculty II, 13 February and 2 May 1919, SzZSa, AA 10:5; and also Doc. 214, notes 2
Edgar Meyer felt Einstein’s reluctance to teach during the winter semester was due to his frustra-
tion with the university (see minutes of the meeting of the Philosophical Faculty II, 16 October 1919,
SzZSa, AA 10:5).
Mileva’s parents lived in the town of Novi Sad, which was part of the Kingdom of Hungary
before and during the war. Occupied by French troops at the cessation of hostilities, Novi Sad and the
surrounding area of Voivodina were formally annexed by the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slove-
nians through the Treaty of Trianon on 4 June 1920.
In February 1918, Zorka Maric;; (1883–1938), Mileva’s sister, was placed in the Burghölzli, an in-
stitution in Zurich for the mentally ill (see Mileva Einstein-Maric; to Helene Savic;;, ca. February 1918
[75 092], and in English translation in Popovic;; 2003, pp. 118–119).
Pierre Weiss resigned his position at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) in late
May, after which a search for a successor was initiated. Robert Gnehm, president of the ETH, met
with Peter Debye on 9 October to discuss replacing Weiss (see Robert Gnehm to Peter Debye,
4 November 1919, SzZE Schulratsarchiv, Missiven 1919, pp. 372–373).
Albert Perrier (1883–1962) was Professor of Physics at the University of Lausanne; Auguste
Piccard (1884–1962), Titular Professor of Physics at the ETH, was one of the candidates who had