Lewin's 1917 marriage to Maria Landsberg ended in divorce in 1927. The couple had had two children— a daughter, Agnes, born in 1919; and a son, Fritz, born in 1922. The marriage was strained by Lewin's work habits—he had an irregular work schedule in addition to being frequently away from home—and by Fritz's childhood illness. Fritz had been slow in learning to walk, and the family physician discovered at that time that he had been born with both hips dislocated. Two major operations were required, one on each hip joint, with a long recovery period in between. In addition, Agnes began to develop emotional problems related to the family's focus on her brother's health. Although both parents were devoted to the children, they could not agree on the best way to deal with these issues. Lewin moved out of the home, but continued to visit his children and former wife until they moved to Palestine when Hitler came to power.
In 1929 Lewin married Gertrud Weiss, whom he and Maria had known since 1921. They had two children—Miriam, born in 1931; and Daniel, born in 1933. Miriam became a clinical psychologist in her own right; among other publications, she wrote a handbook for student researchers in psychology as well as a historical account of psychologists' views of gender roles.
One of the tragedies of Lewin's last years was his inability to rescue his mother, who had remained in
Berlin after Lewin left Germany. After Hitler invaded Poland in September 1939, Lewin tried to bring his mother to the United States, but was unable to obtain a visa for her. Recha Lewin was sent to a concentration camp somewhere in Poland in 1943, where she died in 1944. Several of Lewin's friends believed that his personal sorrows contributed to his untimely death. He turned his private pain, however, into compassion for other victims of prejudice and discrimination, and he never lost his faith in a better future for all people.
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