Pauline Einstein (née Koch) (February 8, 1858 – February 20, 1920) was the mother of the physicist Albert Einstein. She was born in Cannstatt, Württemberg.[1] She was Jewish and had an older sister, Fanny, and two older brothers, Jacob and Caesar. Her parents were Julius Doerzbacher, who had accepted the family name Koch in 1842, and Jette Bernheimer. They had married in 1847. Pauline’s father was from Jebenhausen, now part of the city of Göppingen, and came from simple circumstances. Later he lived in Cannstatt and together with his brother Heinrich, succeeded in making a considerable fortune in the corn trade. They even became “Royal Württemberg Purveyor to the Court”. Their mother was from Cannstatt and was a quiet and caring person.

Early life

Pauline Koch ca.1878.

At 18 years old, Pauline married the merchant Hermann Einstein who lived in Ulm. They got married in Cannstatt on August 8, 1876. After the marriage, the young couple lived in Ulm, where Hermann became joint partner in a bed feathers company. Their son, Albert was born on March 14, 1879.[2] On the initiative of Hermann’s brother Jakob the family moved to Munich in the summer of 1880, where the two brothers together founded an electrical engineering company called [3] Einstein & Cie. The second child of Hermann and Pauline, their daughter Maria (called Maja), was born in Munich on November 18, 1881. Pauline Einstein was a very well educated and quiet woman who had an inclination towards the arts. When her duties in the household allowed it, she was an assiduous and good piano player. She made Albert begin with violin lessons at the age of five.[4]

Business problems

The factory of Hermann and Jakob was moved to Pavia, Italy in 1894. Hermann, Maria and Pauline moved to Milan in the same year and one year later, moved to Pavia. Albert stayed with relatives in Munich to continue his education there. The separation from her son was certainly difficult for Pauline. Due to poor business, the brothers had to abandon their factory in 1896. Though Hermann had lost most of their money, he founded (without his brother) another electrical engineering company in Milan. This time business was better. However, Hermann's health had gone downhill, and he died of heart failure in Milan on October 10, 1902.

After Hermann

In 1903, Pauline went to live with her sister Fanny and her husband Rudolf Einstein, a first cousin of Hermann, in Hechingen, Württemberg. Fanny's daughter, Elsa was to become the second wife of Albert in 1919. In 1910, Pauline moved with her sister, Fanny and her family to Berlin. She took on a job as housekeeper in Heilbronn, Württemberg in 1911. She lived with her brother Jacob Koch and his family in Zurich after 1914.


During World War I, Pauline fell ill with cancer. In 1918, when visiting her daughter, Maria and son-in-law, Paul Winteler in Luzern, Pauline was taken to the sanatorium Rosenau, due to her illness. At the end of 1919, Albert took his terminally-ill mother out of the sanatorium in Luzern and brought her to Haberlandstrasse 5, Berlin to stay with him and his second wife Elsa, where she later died.


Pauline Koch was born 8 February 1858 in Stuttgart, Baden-Württemberg, Germany to Julius Dörzbacher (1816-1895) and Jette Bernheimer (1825-1886) and died 20 February 1920 Berlin, Germany of unspecified causes. She married Hermann Einstein (1847-1902) 8 August 1876 in Cannstadt, Baden-Württemberg, Germany.



Offspring of Pauline Koch and Hermann Einstein (1847-1902)
Name Birth Death Joined with
Albert Einstein (1879-1955) 14 March 1879 18 April 1955 Mileva Marić (1875-1948) Mileva Marić (1875-1948) Elsa Einstein (1876-1926)
Maja Einstein (1881-1951)


  1. ^ Short life history: Pauline Einstein
  2. ^ "Albert Einstein – Biography". Nobel Foundation. Archived from the original on November 2014. Retrieved November 2014. 
  3. ^ Schwartz, Joseph. Introducing Einstein. ISBN 1-84046-667-7. 
  4. ^ Botstein, Leon; Galison, Peter; Holton, Gerald James; Schweber, Silvan S. Einstein for the 21st Century: His Legacy in Science, Art, and Modern Culture, Princeton Univ. Press (2008)

Footnotes (including sources)

‡ General