636: Lieserl Einstein

Albert and Mileva’s Missing Daughter

Born: January 1902, Kingdom of Serbia (Present-day Novi Sad, Serbia)

Died: September 1903, Most Likely Serbia

From the few surviving details that can be pieced together it is believed Lieserl’s birth was difficult and she was mentally handicapped possibly as a result. Lieserl was also most likely adopted out and then died when she was around a year old from scarlet fever or an infection.

There is no evidence Albert ever saw or met his daughter, whom Mileva had given birth to in secret in her home country of Serbia, most likely at her parents’ home. The reason for the secrecy? Mileva and Albert were not married at the time of Lieserl’s birth, and therefore she was illegitimate.

Albert and Mileva would go on to have two sons, one of whom also suffered from mental illness. Eduard, who was called "Tete" by his family, most likely suffered from schizophrenia.

Lieserl was unknown to historians until 1986, when one of Mileva and Albert’s grandchildren uncovered a cache of letters her parents had exchanged between 1902 and 1903. After September of 1903, Lieserl is never mentioned again, leading many to believe she died around that time. And though she is referred to as Lieserl in letters, some historians believe that was a nickname and not her full name she would have been christened with.

In 2012, Lieserl’s story came to life for young adult readers in the Margaret Peterson Haddix series The Missing, which recounts the stories of missing children from history. I highly recommend it to anyone who loves history, science fiction, or time travel stories.

Badges Earned:

Find a Grave Marked

Located In My Personal Library:

Caught by Margaret Peterson Haddix