Albert Einstein’s Daughter: Lieserl Einstein

Lieserl Einstein was born on the 27th of January, 1902, in Novi Sad, present-day Serbia. She was the first child of theoretical physicists Albert Einstein and Mileva Maric.

Einstein’s mother disapproved of Maric, so the couple kept Lieserl secret. While Albert worked in Switzerland, Maric and Lieserl stayed in Serbia.

One of the reasons Einstein’s mother did not like Maric was her age. In one of her letters to Einstein, she says, “By the time you’re 30, she’ll already be an old hag!” Maric was also not German nor Jewish, which may have caused Einstein’s mother to add, “She cannot enter a respectable family.” Meanwhile, Albert’s father expressed that he wanted his son to find employment first before entering into family life.

The American writer Michele Zackheim, in her book “Einstein’s Daughter,” states that Lieserl was born with mental impairment and most likely died of scarlet fever at one year old. Another version is proposed by the American historian Robert Schulmann, who says that Maric’s close friend, Helena Savic, adopted Lieserl and gave her the name Zorka Savic. He supposes Zorka lived until the 1990s. While it is true that Savic had a child named Zorka, who lived until the 1990s, this possibility was refuted by Savic’s grandson, Milan Popovic, who conducted a thorough study about Einstein’s and Maric’s relationship. He concluded that the child was not Lieserl and at the same time, supported the possibility that Lieserl died as an infant in 1903.

Facts about Lieserl’s short life only became known to biographers in 1986, when Albert and Mileva’s granddaughter discovered the couple’s letters.