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