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Margatita Konenkova and Albert Einstein

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Love without borders

Margatita Konenkova and Albert Einstein

In 1998 love letters by Albert Einstein were consigned to Sotheby's auction house and became public. There were 9 letters written in 1945 and 1946 by Albert Einstein, the physicist who formulated the theory of relativity, to Margarita Konenkova. The letters were a sensation discovering that that Einstein, greatest mathematician of his age and Konenkova, a Russian emigre living in New York, were lovers. According to a book by a former Soviet spy master, Mrs. Konenkova was a Russian agent whose mission was to introduce Einstein to the Soviet vice consul in New York. The historians believe Konnenkova dated Einstein in the 1940s in order to gain information on the top-secret Manhattan Project, the U.S. effort to develop the first nuclear bomb.

The letters were consigned by a member of Mrs. Konenkova's family who has chosen to remain anonymous. The notes, written in elegant German script and preserved in their aged blue envelopes, reveal a sensitive man who writes with humor, warmth and candor about his daily life and his undying love. 'Just recently I washed my head by myself, but not with the greatest success; I am not as careful as you are,' he wrote on Nov. 27, 1945. ''But everything here reminds me of you: 'Almar's shawl, the dictionaries, the wonderful pipe that we thought was gone, and really all the many little things in my hermit's cell; and also the lonely nest.' (Almar was apparently a pet name the two had devised for each other, made up of their combined names: Albert and Margarita.)

Margatita Konnenkova, ususally referred to as Russian Spy Lover was born in 1884. She was a wife of a famous Soviet Sculptor Segey Konnenkov who came to the USA to work on a bronze bust of Einstein for Princeton University. The couple lived in the United States from the mid-1920s to 1945.

Einstein's nine letters to Konenkova were written between November 1945 and July 1946, just after she returned to Moscow, when Einstein was 66 and she 51. None of her letters to him are known to have survived. It is not clear from the letters how long the two were romantically involved, although they met around 1935. The physicist's second wife, Elsa, died in 1936.

Margarita Konenkova succeeded in introducing Einstein to the Soviet vice council in New York, who was also a spy. But Einstein had no secrets to share, not is there any evidence that he had any inclinations at all to help the Soviets in any way and he rebuffed her attempt to have him visit Moscow. After the end of the WWII Margarita and Sergey Konnenkov left the USA. The researchers claim that Einstein finally met the Soviet consul for the sake of Margarita. Margarita disclosed her mission and Einstein realized that not performing the order would cause punishment for his last love. Margarita died in 1980 in Moscow, much later then Einstein and her husband.

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