Robert Einstein: the engineer cousin of Albert Einstein in Italy (Part 3)
by Stefania Bufano
The Einstein’s in Tuscany and Albert Einstein in Via degli Strozzi at Sesto Fiorentino
It has been quite incredible to discover Robert Einstein’s story and, through this research, learn even more about Albert Einstein. I knew that he had come to Italy several times since he was teenager. Indeed I remembered, in some remote and blurred way, about a photo of Albert Einstein with his violin, in a room of a villa or perhaps a farmhouse in Tuscany (which I was sure was a house of some relatives or close friends, in my memory of many years ago), but it has been really incredible to discover more precisely that Albert Einstein came here once, and by here I mean exactly here, where I am writing this story. Indeed,
the sister of Albert […] in the early 1920s came to live near Florence, exactly in Via degli Strozzi in Sesto Fiorentino,
next to the Villa Solaria Park. So, just like his cousin Robert, Albert’s dear sister Maja also came back to Italy and lived in Tuscany, where she, her husband Paul Winteler and Robert Einstein, met with Italian and international artists and intellectuals.
Well, what could happen to a person like me discovering this? Of course, I imagined Albert Einstein walking here, just like now.
I pictured him catching up with Maja Einstein in Via degli Strozzi and then again stepping on the soil of this narrow path and others nearby, as he wandered Sesto Fiorentino.
Albert came to visit Maja several times, before moving permanently to the United States, knowing of the risk of the German nuclear weapon project. He also maybe sensed that before long, Hitler and the Nazis later might find his loved ones stayed in Europe, putting all their lives at risk.
There are diverse opinions about this that I’m going to telling you of Robert Einstein’s family. Many tell us there is a strong connection with an order by Hitler, because Albert Einstein was Jewish and against the Nazis. Others it seems are suggesting that we have to read Robert’s case in the complex situation of the chaos after the Italian 8th September 1943, when the Allies were close to liberating the Italian people from the Italian Fascist regime and the Germans.
The Germans who obviously regarded the Italians as traitors, were massacring Italian civilians. Italian military personnel, now lost, abandoned to fate and suddenly without clear orders from superiors, when captured by the Germans were killed or being sent to concentration camps. The specific event, hard to reconstruct by historical data sure, it happened in this complex context that I have represented.
As a matter of fact, this is the tragic story of Robert Einstein and his family.