"He said nothing to his other siblings?"
The Wittgenstein children, 1890
Public DomainThe Wittgenstein children, 1890

     The Wittgenstein family started to unravel shortly after the events in this book. Karl Wittgenstein's pressure on the boys to make their mark in the business world contributed to a rebellious and self-destructive strain in them all. Hans Wittgenstein was considered a musical genius by no less a person than Gustav Mahler's teacher. He left for America in 1900 and was reported missing from a boat in Chesapeake Bay in 1902. Although never proven, it is generally accepted that he committed suicide. In 1904, in a restaurant in Berlin, Rudi emptied a vial of potassium cyanide into a glass of milk and drank it, dying within minutes. In the last days of World War I, Kurt, serving on the Italian front, shot himself rather than surrender to the Italians. Paul became a concert pianist, holding his first recital in 1913. He lost his right arm in World War I and spent a year in the hell of a Siberian prisoner of war camp. Upon his return he commissioned works for the left hand from composers such as Maurice Ravel, Richard Strauss, and Sergei Prokofiev and became an international concert pianist. Ludwig contemplated suicide throughout his life but never followed through. He gave away his considerable inherited fortune, taking teaching jobs, ending up in Cambridge where he established himself as one of the premier philosophers of the 20th century. Of the girls, Helene married, had a family and, although suffered from severe neurotic tension, seemed have had a (relatively) normal life; Margarethe married an American whom she divorced in 1923. She emigrated to America in 1940 but returned to Austria after the war; Hermine, as we have seen, continued to live in Vienna.