Einstein at Home
When not appearing at an occasion demanding more formal attire, Albert Einstein often scorned socks and favored slacks and sandals. His wife, Elsa, cut his hair to avoid wasting time at the barber. As one of the century’s pre-eminent physicists, Einstein worked, often into the night, and had little interest in personal attire.
In 1978 Friedrich Herneck carried out a series of interviews with Herta Waldow, the Einstein’s live-in housekeeper until the family left Germany in 1933. Warmly detailed but never intrusively intimate Einstein at Home captures the essence of life in the spacious Haberlandstrasse apartment in Berlin and the Caputh summer house. The conversations reveal charming glimpses of the daily routines when the scientist escaped the limelight: recalling what he chose for breakfast, his frequently smoked pipe, and how he enjoyed a good hearty laugh with longtime friends, many of whose names are still familiar to us. When in Caputh Einstein’s favorite relaxation was his sailboat, taking off alone for hours, his head protected from the sun by a handkerchief knotted in each corner. Later, like other possessions when their apartment was pillaged, the boat was confiscated. Einstein neither denied nor particularly observed his Jewishness. he never wanted to move to Palestine though recognizing Zionism’s efforts for a homeland a possible solution for Europe’s beleagured Jews.
Until now the book was available only in German. Readers will delight this translation into English by physicist Josef Eisinger who as a young man knew friends of the Einsteins, has translated the book. The pages bring an unexpectedly warm view of Einstein and his family.
Friedrich Herneck, Josef Eisinger, Translator