Albert Einstein (1879-1955).

Autograph letter signed ('Albert') to his brother-in-law, Paul Winteler, n.p. [Princeton], n.d. [c. June 1946].

In German, 1½ pages, 276 x 214mm.

Paul Winteler (1882-1952) – Besso family.
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Lot Essay

Maja's deteriorating health.

Einstein has just written Paul a short letter (see previous lot), but it was intended for Maja to read, and therefore did not contain everything he had to say. His sister's health has materially worsened: 'Maja is suffering from a very advanced calcification of the arteries, allied with heightened blood pressure ... It is now reasonably clear that a number of episodes of bruising must have taken place in the brain', and this has caused her to lose physical equilibrium. A more intense attack took place a few weeks previously, although her condition has since improved. She cannot however now walk unsupported.

Maja is still expecting to return imminently to Europe to rejoin her husband, but this does not appear possible for the time being: 'Our main concern is how it is going to work with the journey, which is fixed in her as the object of her only wish – bound up with the understandable anxiety that she is no longer a match for what awaits her there. It is best to make no concrete plans at all ...'. It is not impossible that her condition will improve, and her conscious mental faculties are still essentially unimpaired.

Paul's letters have been enormously helpful, though he must be particularly careful not to show any impatience, as this would worsen Maja's outlook. Einstein hopes to be able to send better news in due course. In the meantime, it could be worse: 'She is by the way mostly in good spirits, especially when I read out loud to her for an hour or so in the evening. Her intelligence is just as lively as before'.
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