Happy 104th Wedding Anniversary, Adolf & Anna!

Anna& Adolf
Adolf & Anna

On 14 September 1912, Dr. Adolf Reinach wed Dr. Anna Stettenheimer in Mainz, Germany.

Anna was a brilliant, well-educated, kind woman.  In 1899, she was one of three female students of the newly founded Stuttgart Mädchengymnasium, graduating with a high school diploma in 1904.  In that same year, by royal decree, women were granted the right to regular enrolment at University of Tübingen, and Anna seized the opportunity choosing the field of medicine. Shortly after she changed fields to physics, and earned her doctorate in 1907 with a thesis on the spectral lines in magnetic fields in atomic physics, titled “Eine absolute Messung des Zeemannphänomens”.  It is interesting to note that her work in physics wasn’t without influence on her future husband’s thinking and research.  In 1911 and 1912, she taught at the Stuttgart Mädchengymnasium, as head teacher for the natural sciences (Oberlehrin für Naturwissenschaften) until she married Adolf. After their nuptials, Anna resigned from teaching and while she did take on traditional housewife duties she regularly attended her husband’s lectures and actively engaged with the students.

Anna Stettenheimer und Gertrud Stockmayer
Anna Stettenheimer and Gertrud Stockmayer, two of the first three enrolled female students at the Universität Tübingen

In Edith Stein’s unfinished autobiography, she describes Anna as tall and slender, with graceful movements like a doe, and a charming Suabian dialect.  She and Anna became very dear friends over time, and especially in the wake of Reinach’s death in 1917.  Stein speaks of many warm and happy memories in their home, and at one point tells of a sweet and funny story (dating around 1913) where she was walking up to the Reinach’s home for a visit, Anna just a few steps ahead of her:

Only years later did she tell me something I had not even noticed at the time:  Reinach had been standing at the window on the floor above, watching her approach.  She had called up to him softly: ‘Adole, Büble, Herzle!’ He made frantic motions to her to desist as he saw me coming behind her; then, when she came upstairs, he had reproached her, asking how she could humiliate him so in the presence of one of his students. (p. 280)

While Anna and Adolf were no doubt always proper and professional in front of students and colleagues, the impression you get from the stories of Stein is that these two were very deeply in love and a good match in intellect, wit and humour.


For more on Anna Reinach, see:

“Adolf und Anne Reinach, Edith Steins Mentoren im Studium und auf dem Glaubensweg” by Beate Beckmann-Zöller in Phenomenology 2005. Volume 4:  Selected essays from Northern Europe, Part 1., Hans Rainer Sepp & Ion Copoeru, eds., Zeta Books: 2007.

https://www.yumpu.com/de/document/view/8047567/anna-stettenheimer-1884-1953-universitat-tubingen

http://www.uni-tuebingen.de/einrichtungen/universitaetsbibliothek/ueber-uns/veranstaltungen-ausstellungen/ausstellungen/2004/frauenstudium.html

https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anna_Reinach

Happy Birthday, Adolf Reinach!

reinach.BDay.pic
Today in 1883 Adolf Bernhard Philipp Reinach was born.

According to Edith Stein, in her unfinished autobiography Life In A Jewish Family: 1891-1916, Reinach came home to Göttingen on furlough for Christmas of 1915 and arrived in time to celebrate his 32nd birthday. Pauline Reinach, Adolf’s sister, wrote Stein a letter inviting her to visit and celebrate the two occasions. Stein of course happily accepted, exclaiming to herself: “Furlough! That possibility had never even occurred to me. So far ‘seeing Reinach again’ had been synonymous, always with ‘peace at war’s end.’ It was almost too good to be true.” (pgs. 377-378) She arrived in Göttingen on the 22nd of December with a birthday gift in hand – a good timely book – and made her way to the Reinachs’ home. After seeing Adolf Reinach for the first time in over a year, Stein writes: “Reinach had grown broad and strong; military service agreed with him. It was on this occasion that I truly got to know Frau Reinach. Formerly my visits to their home had been mostly on a student-to-teacher basis. But now I belonged to the most intimate circle, to the ‘mourners of the first rank’ as Reinach once facetiously put it when he imagined how things might go should he be killed.” (pg. 379) This circle consisted of his wife Anna, his sister Pauline, and then Stein and Erika Gothe. This comment of Reinach’s, while made in jest, turned out to be rather prophetic since he was killed on the battlefield in 1917 and this circle of friends came together to mourn. Stein and Anna Reinach became very close friends, and it was Stein who helped put Adolf’s philosophical writings in order after his death.

It’s rather interesting to think that 100 years ago today Reinach was alive and at home celebrating his birthday with his friends and family. Stein’s notes on the joyous occasion are brief but her deep fondness for the Reinachs’ is alive in her descriptions.

So rather than focus on Reinach’s death, let us think of his life and legacy. Today a major figure of both the Munich and Göttingen phenomenology circles was born; a philosopher and realist phenomenologist who inspired the great minds of Roman Ingarden, Dietrich von Hildebrand, Hedwig Conrad-Martius, Winthrop Bell, Edith Stein, and many others.

Happy 132nd Birthday, Adolf Reinach!