Alma Rose: Vienna to Auschwitz

By Richard Newman; Karen Kirtley | Go to book overview
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10

The Need to Sacrifice

One doesn't know what to believe, one doesn't know what to wish for. -- Arnold Rosé

Alone again at thirty-two, Alma felt the weight of responsibility for her seventy-seven-year-old father. She was enraged with herself when she began to chafe under responsibilities for her beloved father's last years. Arnold wrote to Alfred that his art was his refuge, yet: "Imagine, I go into the city to look for work." Alma could only watch and pity.

Housekeeping was a physical burden to which Alma was not accustomed. She tried to learn to cook, using the book her mother had written out for her and soliciting recipes for her father's favorite dishes from friends. In addition she tackled a full schedule of studying and practicing the violin repertoire.

" Alma becomes thinner, and her sadness is a worry," Arnold wrote to Alfred in July. Alma reported that Heini wrote daily, insisting that despite his return to Vienna, he wanted nothing to change in their relationship. To Alfred the statement rang as hollow as VéŠa Přîhoda's protestations while his marriage to Alma disintegrated. Arnold too was skeptical, predicting to Alfred that Alma's love affair with Heini would become a "vaporous memory." Soon Heini's letters became less frequent.

EARLY IN the Rosés' stay in England, Karl Doktor, the violist of the Adolf Busch Quartet, who lived with his family in St. John's Wood, offered to help Arnold and Alma reform the Rosé Quartet in England. Doktor's commitment was to Busch, so he was not available for Rosé. His son Paul (who went on to a brilliant career of his own) was suggested as violist for the quartet, but the senior Doktor felt the difference in ages would be a problem. Rosé and Buxbaum both tried to convince Leila, a violinist, to take up the viola, but she declined, although she was tempted to change instruments in mid-career for the sake of her Professor.

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