My name is Allan Warton. I am the son of Rose Schwarzhaupt and the oldest nephew of Hanni (Anne), Max and Ruth Schwarzhaupt. Unfortunately, I can’t be with you today as I was, July, 2010. However, I’d like to provide you with a little bit of family history as it relates to this event.
When I was a child and probably until my early 60’s, I was always curious about what happened to my grandparents, Hella and Albert Schwarzhaupt. I also wanted to understand why my mother had struggled to live her life. There were hints along the way but no dialogue. You see, there was no conversation about what took place with my family in Germany. In fact, it was forbidden to ask any questions.
It wasn’t until approximately year 2009 that my aunt, Ruth Schwarzhaupt, revealed the content of letters she received from my grandmother while she and my grandfather were imprisoned at Camp Gurs and subsequently, Camp Recebedou. It was only then that I got to know anything about my grandparents, my mother’s history and that of her siblings. Subsequently, through the efforts of my Aunt Ruth, Hans-Hermann Seiffert and Petra Quintini I learned much more than I ever thought I would know. It was a surely a gift and also heartbreaking.
My grandparents were forced to do the unthinkable. They had a sense of what was to come. Somehow, they managed to get their children out of Germany. My mother, Rose and Aunt Hanni were sent to the United States in 1935. Uncle Max and Aunt Ruth were sent to Switzerland in 1939. My grandparent’s foresight and love saved their children from a horrible fate.
It is still remarkable to me that somehow my grandmother showed her amazing courage and took a huge risk to send letters and postcards out to her children from Camp Gurs and Camp Recebedou. The letters were loving, caring and when she thought necessary, she advised her children to be good and do as they were told. She always made sure her children knew that she was very proud of them and they needed to pay attention to their studies. She also was able to get letters out to the Rabbi at the school attended by Uncle Max and Aunt Ruth. She told him of horrible conditions. Her thoughts were always for her children’s welfare despite the horrible conditions that she and my grandfather had to endure.
The letters my grandmother wrote to the school that Aunt Ruth and Uncle Max attended, acknowledged that my grandfather had died. Mr. Seiffert learned in the course of writing a book about my family, that as a result of my grandfather’s detention, a leg amputation, the lack of medical resources and the lack of essential medicine, caused my grandfather’s premature death on April 17, 1941.
It has also been reported that my grandmother died in a gas chamber around August 1942 in Auschwitz. It is assumed that when she arrived at Auschwitz, her condition after spending time in 2 camps in 2 years was such that she was not selected for work duty. I have to admit that for someone who never knew his grandmother I can now say without reservation that she will always be my hero.
Lastly, I am now aware that all of the children were terribly impacted by horrible events. However, as it relates specifically to my mother and her difficulties in life, it is clear to me now, that as the oldest child, of four (4) children she heard and saw things that left her scarred for life. Despite all of this she made sure that I knew she loved me and that I needed to be a good person. Sounds a little like my grandmother, doesn’t it? I hope I have made her proud.
Allan Warton (son of Rose Schwarzhaupt)