Alma Rose: Vienna to Auschwitz

By Richard Newman; Karen Kirtley | Go to book overview

Epilogue: Memories of Alma

Who was to know that Alma's voice, through her violin, would continue to be heard in one of the world's great opera houses. In the confusion of age and ill health, Arnold never told the full story of the day Alma's 1757 Guadagnini was delivered to him. The most likely of several accounts was that Marie Anne Tellegen sent it to Arnold through the Red Cross; at least that is what he told his quartet colleague violinist Max Jekel. 1 The story is supported by Leonard Jongkees' testimony that he turned the instrument over to his mentor and medical colleague Dr. J. J. Groen, a member of the quartet Alma led in Utrecht. When it became public knowledge that Alma would not return, Dr. Groen, in turn, delivered the instrument to Marie Anne Tellegen, the executor of Alma's estate. The concertmaster of the Utrecht Symphony Orchestra, J. J. Oellers, pleaded with Groen to find a way to keep the violin in Holland, to help restore the country's plundered artistic estate. But Miss Tellegen insisted on returning the violin to Arnold. After a short time, Arnold sold it to a wealthy hotelier identified merely as Gough, who had taken violin lessons from Arnold in England.

In 1947, the summer after Arnold's death, Felix Eyle went to England to visit his wife's parents, who were none other than Dr. and Mrs. Moriz Tischler. By this time the Tischlers had moved from Ashtead to Wimbledon. During Arnold's exile, Dr. Tischler had become an intimate friend and musical partner. Eyle himself was no stranger to the Rosés: in 1920 and 1921 he and Alma had been fellow students at the Vienna State Academy of Music, and Eyle also studied with Arnold. After he moved to the United States in 1928, Eyle traveled to Vienna regularly, never failing to call at Pyrkergasse.

One Saturday morning in Wimbledon while Eyle was engaged in his daily practicing, the telephone rang, and his mother-in-law answered. It was Stella Fuchs. According to Eyle:

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