On various unreliable places on the web one can find the following tale (rendition below copied from here):

Einstein refused surgery, saying: « I want to go when I want. It is insipid to prolong life artificially. I’ve done my share, it is time to leave. I’ll do it in style. » He died in a hospital in Princeton at the age of 76.

However, just before his death, Einstein uttered his last words to his nurse, unfortunately, he said these words in German, a language that the nurse did not speak.

How accurate is this? More reliable sources on Einstein's death say he went out with "I want to go home" or a paragraph of writing on the tragedy of war.

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    It's been a while since I read it but I'm fairly sure that Abraham Pais' biography "Subtle is the Lord" mentions the non-comprehending nurse. Commented Apr 12, 2016 at 15:52

1 Answer 1


Abraham Pais describes Albert Einstein's final moments in his 1982 Einstein biography Subtle is the Lord: The Science and the Life of Albert Einstein (p. 477 of the 2005 edition) like this:

Alberta Rozsel, a night nurse at the hospital, was the last person to see Einstein alive. At 1:10 a.m. on April 18, 'Mrs Rozsel noted that he was breathing differently. She summoned another nurse, who helped her roll up the head of the bed. Right after the other nurse left, Dr. Einstein mumbled in German. Then, as Mrs Rozsel put it, "he gave two deep breaths and expired"' [D4]. It was 1:15 in the morning.

The source might be an article by G. K. Dean from April 19, 1955 (Einstein passed away on April 18) in The New York Times, but I didn't find it online. It's a source "D4" in Pais' book, though.

It seems indeed as if Einstein's last words are and forever will be unknown to us.

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