Planck at home


  The house at Wagenheimstraße no. 21 in the Berlin suburb of Grunewald, where the family had moved in 1905. It was totally destroyed in February 1944 during a bombing raid.
  Planck was a true family man who liked "every once in a while to put everything else aside and just be among family". His home was a frequent and popular meeting place for friends and colleagues. Chamber music was played there regularly, with Planck himself at the piano. His fellow musicians included well-known concert soloists like the violinist Joseph Joachim, but also colleagues like Albert Einstein. The choral evenings were particularly well liked. Planck was choir master and his acquaintances and coworkers, including talented students, took up the various singing parts.

In addition to music, long walks and mountain climbing were among Planck's major recreational amusements. Both provided relaxation for him, even well into old age, from the stresses of his academic work. During the term he often set out into the surrounding countryside of Brandenburg. During vacation he went regularly on extended hikes in the Alps. As an eighty year old, he still was climbing peaks of over 3000 meters height.

Planck's ability to maintain his intellectual acuity, physical fitness, and professional productivity to a very old age was not just due to regular exercise but also to his daily routine. His day followed a strict schedule: breakfast was at eight o'clock sharp, after which he worked intensely until noon. That was how he was able to meet his many obligations. But Planck was no ascetic, by any means. He enjoyed the occasional glass of wine, cigar, and game of tarok-but everything was in moderation and within his family setting or among close colleagues and friends.

  "Planck loved merry, relaxed company and his home was the center of such conviviality ... When the invitations happened to be during the summer term, there would be energetic games in the garden afterwards in which Planck participated with downright childish glee and great adeptness. It was almost impossible not to be tagged by him. And how visibly pleased he was when he had caught someone!"
Lise Meitner, 1958

Playing the organ at home, mid-1920s

Max Planck with his second wife Marga née von Hoeßlin, in the Alps about 1940.