Who was Elsa Lowenthal?

Elsa Lowenthal was Einstein’s second wife whom he married in 1919. She was his second cousin, a widow with two grown daughters, Ilse and Margot. Einstein was close to his step-daughters and raised them as his own.

He never had any children with Elsa. Though this close-knit family lived in Berlin area, they also had a summer residence in Caputh in nearby Potsdam. Ilse had briefly worked as Einstein’s secretary.

Elsa acted as Einstein’s shield, keeping unwelcome visitors away from him. She was also the one who took the initiative to build their summer house in 1929. Einstein was a celebrity scientist at this time.

Elsa went with him during his many trips to give lectures and talks. The couple went to the United States together in 1921 to raise money for a Jewish homeland. Elsa supported his career, helping him to manage the nitty-gritties of everyday life. Unfortunately, 17 years into their marriage, her health declined and she fell ill. Elsa passed away in December 1936.

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