December 03, 1934

Albert Einstein Urges His Son Not to Be Discouraged By Difficulties

Autograph Letter Signed
1 page
SMC 1794
Einstein had not been entirely surprised when his son, “Tetel,” was diagnosed with schizophrenia at the age of twenty; he had long been aware of the boy’s sensitivity and fragility. He recognized, too, that there was a genetic disposition, on the maternal side, toward mental illness; Mileva Maric’s sister, Zorka, also suffered from schizophrenia. “Tetel” had wanted to be a psychiatrist and was in medical school when afflicted with his first breakdown in 1930 – triggered, apparently, by an unhappy love affair with an older woman. By 1932 he was committed to “Burgholzli,” the University of Zurich psychiatric hospital, and so began the pattern of institutionalization which would constitute the sad story of his life. Here Einstein writes his sick son an encouraging letter:

 I was glad to hear from Mama and Mr. Dukas that the cure has already had a wonderful effect on your state of health. You can imagine how glad I am to hear this. Now everything depends on bringing this cure to a good conclusion and not to be discouraged by the inherent difficulties. How glad you will be later, that you remained strong, and that thanks to your perseverance you recovered your health and inner equilibrium…  

Einstein adds that although he writes seldom, he thinks of Tete often – and besides, he has little to report. “My life,” he says, “is flowing by in quiet work.”
Autograph Letter Signed (“Papa”), in German, 1 page, quarto, December 3, 1934. To His son, “Tetel.”

Albert Einstein Family Manuscripts.

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