Autobiographical Essays

Beate Caspari-Rosen, MD (1910 - 1995)

Lest We Forget
to my children and grandchildren

A few weeks ago I received a letter from the Holocaust Museum in Washington asking for a donation. When I wrote a check, I noticed a short line on which I could write the name of a victim of the Holocaust; there was space for one name only. I wanted to name my cousin Ellen Caspari, the youngest of my cousins, but then I realized that an additional 18 members of my family lost their lives in this murderous attack on the Jews. I therefore decided to write short biographies of each of them so that they would not be forgotten. They are:

My mother's brother Alfred Arnswalder and his wife Trude
My mother's sister Regina Arnswalder and her husband Julius Ostrodzki; their son Hermann Ostrodski and his wife
My father's sister Mariechen Caspari and her three sons Dagobert, Hugo and Jack         
My father's niece Ida and her husband Paul Mindus
My father's nephew Paul Caspari (der lange Paul)
My father's niece Ilse and her husband Abraham Ellen Caspari

Alfred and Trude Arnswalder:
My uncle was a physician in a working class neighborhood in Berlin, not far from where we lived. He and his wife Trude had two children Immanuel (Immo) and Bertel who were about ten years younger then I. For a brief period during Hitler's regime, a few children were allowed to leave Germany in a children's transport; they were taken in by certain foreign countries, mainly Holland, England, and  Palestine. Immo and Bertel, ages 14 and 16 respectively, went to Palestine. Their parents, however, had to stay behind, knowing that they probably would never see their children again. How these parents, when saying goodbye to their children at the station kept up their spirits is beyond my imagination. I was told that nobody cried or broke down. What courage they showed!

My uncle Alfred was my mother's oldest brother and a very honest and conscientious person, but I cannot recall ever seeing him laugh. However, I do remember his reaction when he saw me in my first dress for a formal dance-- at that time all my clothes were made either by a seamstress who came to our house or, as on this occasion, by a tailor. When I modeled it for my  family, Uncle Alfred objected to the short skirt which showed more of my legs than he thought decorous and the dolman of the back where he said the dance partner would touch my skin. His objections were dismissed by my parents and by my maternal grandfather [Louis Arnswalder], who lived with us. My uncle probably was my mother's advisor concerning other matters in my life. On one occasion I overheard a telephone conversation between my mother and uncle; my mother said: "and this time she brought home an American." The year was 1933 and Hitler was already in power, but nobody yet comprehended that he actually would undertake the complete destruction of the Jews.


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