“… I experienced as a child at the age of four or five when my father showed me a compass. That this needle behaved in such a determined way was all out of place concerning the manner of the events
which could find a place in the unconscious vocabulary of concepts… I still remember
today… that this experience has left a permanent impression with me.”

Albert Einstein, autobiographic writings, 1946

Short life history: Hermann Einstein

* August 30, 1847 Buchau, Wuerttemberg, † October 10, 1902 Milan

Hermann Einstein had three brothers (August Ignaz, Heinrich and Jakob) and two sisters (Jette and Friederike). His parents Abraham Einstein (1808–1868) and Helene Moos (1814–1887) had married in Buchau in April 1839. The family was Jewish.

At the age of 14 Hermann attended the secondary school in the regional capital Stuttgart successfully. He had a strong affection for mathematics and had liked to study in this or another related area. But as the financial situation of the family opposed a study he decided to become a merchant and made an apprenticeship in Stuttgart.

He married Pauline Koch (1858–1920) who was only 18 years old then in Cannstatt, Wuerttemberg on August 8, 1876. After their marriage the young couple lived in Ulm, where Hermann became joint partner in the bed feathers shop of his cousin Moses and Hermann Levi. In Ulm their son Albert (1879–1955) was born on March 14, 1879. On initiative of Hermann’s brother Jakob, the family moved to Munich in the summer of 1880. The two brothers founded there a company for electrical engineering. Hermann was the merchant and Jakob the technician in this company. The second child of Hermann and Pauline, their daughter Maria – called Maja – (1881–1951) was born in Munich on November 18, 1881.

The two brothers moved their company to Pavia, Italy in 1894. Hermann, Pauline and Maja moved to Milan in the same year and one year later also to Pavia. Albert stayed with relatives in Munich to complete his education there.

Due to the bad business situation Hermann and Jakob had to abandon their factory in 1896. Though the Hermann family had lost most of their money he founded, without his brother, again an electrical engineering company in Milan. He was in this connection supported financially by his relatives. Though business was better this time Hermann was steadily occupied with “worries due to the vexatious money”. These worries didn’t pass him traceless. His health had suffered a lot from this in the last years. He died on October 10, 1902 at the age of 55 in Milan on heart failure.