Einstein’s Love Affair With a Soviet Spy
Einstein’s Love Affair With a Soviet Spy

Einstein’s Love Affair With a Soviet Spy

Stephanie Schoppert - August 16, 2017


Einstein’s Love Affair With a Soviet Spy
One of Einstein’s Letters to Margarita Konenkova. Getty Images

So if Margarita Konenkova was a Soviet spy there was plenty of reason why she might want to cozy up to Einstein. Getting him to switch sides was hardly possible though because the scientist had no love for Stalin or his Soviet Union. The most Margarita could do was get him to sit down with the Soviet Vice-Consul on the pretext of getting Margarita clearance to return to Moscow. Margarita told Einstein that the only way the Soviet Vice-Consul would grant her request was if they could have the chance to meet him. So Einstein sat with the Vice Consul for an hour and Margarita eventually returned home to Moscow where she would outlive both Einstein and her husband.

Did Einstein ever conspire with his beloved to help the Soviet Union? At the time Albert Einstein was being closely watched by the FBI. After all, he was an essential part of the Manhattan Project, albeit indirectly and he had ties to Germany. There were concerns that Einstein might harbor ties to Germany or that he might be taken and used against the United States. To that end, there are over 1,400 pages of documents on Einstein kept by the FBI that detail their surveillance of him from 1933 until 1955 when he died. The FBI always kept tabs on where he was and anyone suspicious that he might have been involved with.

To her credit, the FBI never flagged Margarita Konenkova as a problem. The files kept by the FBI never even mention Albert Einstein’s visit to the Soviet Vice-Consul. While the United States and the Soviets were tentative allies during the war the underlying tensions between the two countries never faded. Both sides had spies and the United States knew that the Soviet Union had a desire to create their own atomic bomb. Therefore any suspected spy in contact with Einstein would have been a major red flag for the FBI. It remains striking that there was never a mention of Einstein’s interaction with the Vice Consul but Margarita’s cover story might have been enough to convince everyone.

In the letters, which were written in German, there is never any indication that Einstein believed her to be a spy. His only focus was on their time together and the love he believed that he shared with her. The truth about Margarita’s own feelings toward him are unknown as she never returned to the United States after reaching Moscow and there have been no letters of hers discovered. As of yet, there is no evidence that she ever garnered useful information from Einstein to bring back to the Soviet Union and it is possible that dead-end that brought her back to Moscow after 22 years.


Sources For Further Reading:

Biography – Albert Einstein

History Channel – 9 Things You May Not Know About Albert Einstein

Dummies – Getting to Know Einstein’s Wives

NYPost – Einstein Was True Phys-Sex Genius – Had 2 Wives And 10 Lovers

Scientific America – The Forgotten Life of Einstein’s First Wife

NY Times – Dark Side of Einstein Emerges in His Letters

Time Magazine – Does Einstein’s First Wife Deserve Some Credit for His Work?

Medium – How Einstein’s Scientist Wife Turned into His Shadow

Russian Beyond – Einstein’s Love, Stalin’s Agent: How A Russian Woman Won Over the World’s Greatest Mind

History Channel – The Manhattan Project

National Geographic Channel – Why the FBI Kept a 1,400-Page File on Einstein

Muckrock – Five of The Strangest Theories In Albert Einstein’s FBI File

History Channel – Albert Einstein: Fact or Fiction?