Lieserl Einstein

Novi Sad, Vojvodina, Serbia
Death 18 Sep 1903 (aged 1)
Burial Unknown
Memorial ID 155675528 · View Source
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Lieserl Einstein (born January 1902 – last mentioned in 1903; possible date of death, 18 September 1903)[citation needed] was the first child of Mileva Marić and Albert Einstein.

According to the correspondence between her parents, Lieserl was born in January 1902, a year before her parents married, in Novi Sad, Vojvodina, present day Serbia, and was cared for by her mother for a short time while Einstein worked in Switzerland before Marić joined him there without the child.

"Lieserl's" existence was unknown to biographers until 1986, when a batch of letters between Albert and Mileva was discovered by Hans Albert Einstein's daughter Evelyn.

Marić had hoped for a girl, while Einstein would have preferred a boy. In their letters, they called the unborn child "Lieserl", when referring to a girl, or "Hanserl", if a boy. Both "Lieserl" and "Hanserl" were augmentatives of the common German names Liese (short for Elizabeth) and Hans.

The first reference to Marić's pregnancy was found in a letter Einstein wrote to her from Winterthur, probably on 28 May 1901 (letter 36), asking twice about "the boy" and "our little son",[26] whereas Marić's first reference was found in her letter of 13 November 1901 (letter 43) from Stein am Rhein, in which she referred to the unborn child as "Lieserl".[27] Einstein goes along with Marić's wish for a daughter, and referred to the unborn child as "Lieserl" as well, but with a sense of humour as in letter 45 of 12 December 1901 "... and be happy about our Lieserl, whom I secretly (so Dollie[28] doesn't notice) prefer to imagine a Hanserl."[29]

The child must have been born shortly before 4 February 1902, when Einstein wrote: "... now you see that it really is a Lieserl, just as you'd wished. Is she healthy and does she cry properly? [...] I love her so much and don't even know her yet!"[30]

The last time "Lieserl" was mentioned in their extant correspondence was in Einstein's letter of 19 September 1903 (letter 54), in which he showed concern for her suffering from scarlet fever. His asking "as what is the child registered? [Adding] we must take precautions that problems don't arise for her later" may indicate the intention to give the child up for adoption.[31]

As neither the full name, nor the fate of the child are known, so far several hypotheses about her life and death have been put forward:

Michele Zackheim, in her book on "Lieserl", Einstein's Daughter, states that "Lieserl" was mentally challenged at birth, and that she lived with her mother's family and probably died of scarlet fever in September 1903.[32]
Another possibility, favoured by Robert Schulmann of the Einstein Papers Project, is that "Lieserl" was adopted by Marić's close friend, Helene Savić, and was raised by her and lived under the name "Zorka Savić" until the 1990s. Savić did in fact raise a child by the name of Zorka, who was blind from childhood and died in the 1990s. Before his death in 2012, her grandson Dr Milan Popović, upon extensive research of the relationship between Einstein and Marić, rejected the possibility that it was "Lieserl", and also favoured the hypothesis that the child died in September 1903.[33]
A letter widely circulated on the Internet on the "universal force" of love, attributed as "a letter from Albert Einstein to his daughter", is a hoax.[34]

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  • Created by: NW Mountain Man
  • Added: 4 Dec 2015
  • Find a Grave Memorial 155675528
  • Find a Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Lieserl Einstein (Jan 1902–18 Sep 1903), Find a Grave Memorial no. 155675528, ; Maintained by NW Mountain Man (contributor 38947746) Unknown.