World War I Changes Everything (1914–1923)
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After World War I started on 28 July 1914, the “Manifesto of the Ninety-Three” was published, a proclamation defending the German military actions, signed by 93 leading scientists, writers, and artists, among them Röntgen. He later regretted his signature. During the war, Röntgen and his wife could not travel abroad. Moreover, Bertha’s health deteriorated. Röntgen kept his position at the University where the number of students declined to a minimum because of their conscription into the army. On the occasion of his 70th birthday, his bust was made by the sculptor Von Hildebrand . Bertha died in 1919. Röntgen’s last years were lonely. He got comfort from Marcella Boveri, the wife of his best friend Theodor who died in 1915, and her daughter Margret . After World War I, Röntgen had to hand over his assets to the government, but the money he received in return lost its value because of the devaluation of the German currency. Röntgen lost his complete fortune and had to live very sparsely. Thanks to invitations from his friend Wölfflin , he went again on holiday to his beloved Switzerland.