Sunday, February 12, 2017

 Google errs. Please correct misinformation.

The above URL displays an image that is incorrect. The cover for the most recent edition of George Rosen's History of Public Health was pasted onto an advertisement for a History of Miners' Diseases, a book published in 1943, by George Rosen. Please disregard this illustration; it has no bearing on the earlier text.


Tuesday, August 6, 2013

George Rosen, M.D., Ph.D. M.Phl ...: in memoriam, 1910-1977, 17 July

a mere 67 years, actually not even 67 allotted to my father. He was barely 67 when he died in Oxford on his way to a meeting in Edinburgh, where he was to deliver a lecture for the international historians of medicine. He drove north from London, but when he reached Oxford, his pains were so great that he had to stop. There he was put into the hospital and died a day or so later. I was not at his bedside, indeed, the physicians who were trying to save him would not allow his wife, Beate Caspari-Rosen to enter the room, even though she was a physician. Until the day she died she regretted their abrupt separation. I was reminded of this event this summer, in July when I drove  to the perimeter-or more correctly-my husband Harold Olejarz- drove to a stop on the highway at Oxford. I did not have a computer to put up a commemoration of this admirable man; were he not my father, nonetheless I felt that his achievements and his plans were owed their due. Here I merely want to show some pictures, most have have been used already; others exist that have not yet been scanned. (Fathers are always older than their children, but when a child lives beyond the years of a parent's life the world is upended. Of course this applies equally to one's mother).  My father George--actually Joseph on the birth certificate--was born at home in Brooklyn. He was to live in the Bronx, Manhattan, and eventually in Connecticut in North Haven. He taught the history of medicine at Yale and also Public Health, and before leaving for Yale, he taught at the Columbia School of Public Health, now renamed in honor of its principal donor. My father never stopped working: he researched topics and wrote papers; he translated books into English; he edited various journals, including the Journal of the American Association of Public Health and the Journal of the History of Medicine and Allied Sciences. These are but a few of his institutional accomplishments. George Rosen was an artist too; his skill in rendering nature was rational yet beneath the "true/natural" lay a wealth of emotional content. His experiences in WWII were in the images he painted whilst in England during the Blitz and in Versailles, at the American Headquarters. Being a specialist in occupational diseases, he was able to apply his knowledge to the interviews that he held with members of the German High Command who were charged with  carrying out experiments on captured soldiers, the "unfit," including Jews and more. My father never talked about the harrowing information he learned; it was secret government data. But to carry this burden of tragedy with him surely affected him deeply. The odd paradoxical aspect of this facet of my father's life was that he acquired his degree in medicine in Berlin, at the University. It accepted Americans of Jewish background or practicing Jews in their classes despite their plan of the final solution. My father became utterly fluent in German during his student years in Berlin and when he left Germany he took with him his bride, Beate Brigitta Caspari. That was 1935. Thereafter he worked in NYC's Department of Health; later at HIP, fashioning educational programs for physicians and for patients. He was to have
my father, a thoughtful pose, but a sunny disposition

in the army and presenting to the forces

my mother Beate Caspari-Rosen, in the Bronx

my father's water color painted close to the US headquarters in London at St James' Palace

my father attends a meeting of the American Association for the History of Public Health

entertaining his grandchildren in Canterbury Connecticut, where my parents had an unpretentious but lovely summer cottage. The population consisted mainly of framers, many had emigrated from Finnland;  today, dark dismal woods and  boom-town houses when the housing bubble occurred. Gardening and farming is a thing of the past ,as are farm animals, such a chicken whose eggs were still warm when I went to fetch some. How much has been los.t  
two children with Beate, the world-famous breast pathologist, and Susan Joan Rosen (aka Koslow) who received a doctorate in the history of art. Both children, myself and my brother are immensely indebted to our parents from whom we learned so much. Curiosity was always valued highly and with it a world filled with wonder, natural history and the arts. Many were the days we went to dance performances directed by Balanchine and and also museums. where we were exposed to the greats of the days and from the past.
The gifts bestowed on us are legion and have shaped my life for the good. To both of my parents I am especially grateful; without their presence, my life assuredly would have been infinitely poorer. Thanks to my father I was given serious art instruction and my brother as well was regarded with as possessing unique skills.
So I lift my glass to Joseph/George Rosen whose ability to stay the course, his perservance in the face of adversity, whose kindness and sharpness were  critical for each child. Nor should I omit our dachshund ''schatzi" , our levely dacchshund who feel in love with my father and was most attached to him. Too brief was his life, but within it he accomplished so much and helped guided others too find their way too.

bloody path even in a peaceable setting.inexorable

and the earth trembled

blood rained down

and then the earth became what it once had been   

Friday, July 5, 2013

Beate Brigitta Caspari-Rosen, 1910- 5 July, 1995, in memoriam

My dearest mother who was born in Berlin during very troubled times.  Her father was a physician Paul Caspari, her mother, Flora Caspari, a beautiful blond blue-eyed woman who lived for the care of her family. Caught in the ,maelstrom of the Nazi seizure of power, Flora and Paul feared the worst, yet after visiting the United States, returned to Berlin in 1936. He feared that Jews whose ills would be ignored needed care, and even though seriously warned about what might occur returned  to Berlin. He died during an operation in 1936, leaving his wife Flora alone in Berlin. After hesitating for a short time, she fled to the United States where her daughter awaited her. Her daughter was my mother, Atta as she was called by close friends. In 1935, Beate had received her degree in medicine, and became an ophthalmologist. Since she married an American, albeit a Jew too, she was able to become an American citizen, She set off with George Rosen, her husband to the United States. Her life was devoted to her medical practice, to her husband, children Paul Peter and Susan Joan and her mother of course. Flora was  to sicken from colon cancer and breast cancer and died in the summer, when I was about twelve. Few members of my mother's family survived, be it the Caspari or Arnswalder side. (The Arnswalder family as I learned recently went to Isrrael. But this is painting a rosy picture. In fact only two children were sent to Palestine which was not yet divided into two parts, a largely Jewish state, Israel, and a Palestinian state. The children lived though horrors and poverty and wars; now today the younger members of this branch have become learned and active and accepting their full identity. Of course the parents who sent their children to Israel knew that they would never see them again. The Nazis killed them in their vile program of purification.

My mother followed her husband of course to New Haven where he became a professor of Public Health and in the Department of the history of science. His death in England in 1977, was shocking George was barely 67. For years after his death my mother missed him and grieved. They had both been looking forward to his retirement, a retirement that my father saw as giving him more time to carrry on his writing, to travel and to paint. My mother hoped that their life together would give them more time to relax  and enjoy the "oyster of the world." But that was not to be. Yes, my mother did find various opportunities to engage her intellectual capacities, but in time and due to heart disease she was increasingly removed from the active person who she was, a woman who was always curious about what was happening in her world, in the world. She enjoyed life and now that I am approaching her later years myself, I recognize how extraordinary she was in surmounting difficulties due to declining health. She was remarkable. A person to emulate, an idividual with winning laugh and smile, whose mind and heart worked together.
I was recalling her the other day, not even thinking about this anniversary, and wishing that she was still alive and that I could converse with her, tell her what I was doing and also explain some of the difficulties I faced. Her advice was sage; I do wish that I had heard her when she spoke to me so many years ago. But the young do not listen carefully to their elders.
Tomorrwo I set forth to Belgium , to Antwerp, to the city where I learned that she had died in the presence of a childhood friend from Berlin. One moment she was there , the next her soul had fled. To Aranka and Dorothy Kaplan I owe more than this terse statement allows. It was just because they were present that her joy caused her heart to beat to fast and brought her life to a close. Love and joy  it was that snipped her thread.

Some pictures of my mother Beate Caspari and then Beate Caspari-Rosen

molten matter that is in the throes of creation

Thursday, May 9, 2013

is this the point of no return? am I there yet or soon to arrive?

the damaged heart; how many times until it finally gives way, and flesh falls away revealing the skeletal structure and from there it is fire and cinder, vapor and a few bone fragments, Aftwards, no heaven, no hell, no purgatory, nowhere erewhon, bla
ck before my eyes, but eyes can not see they are no more. shades wandering aimlessly unable to talk but only an occasional squeak. What a view of mortality. Now only, this instant, gone, irretrievable and the  beads of life sparkle and then the next bead, dimmer yet until finally darkness, no motion, no swirling and wandering , no walking sound, sight, taste, smell, touch no longer exist for that little scintillating little glint and then a mere particle that sinks to the ground or rises in a droplet forever passing through the cycle of nature, earth's nature until the universe explodes and then there is no more perhaps never again or possibling reconfigured. a particle, so small it cannot be seen but it has ways on its unscripted path