Letters From Yvonne

Introduction of the latest addition to the Wolfy’ Tales:

I mentioned in the beginning of this blog that I am intending to leave these tales for future readers as a description of life during my lifetime, written from my perspective. Recently my dear cousin Monika Barthels uncovered, in the attic of her house in Bremen, Germany, a number of letters written in the 1940 to 1963 time period by our mothers to each other. These represent their perspectives of these troubled times. Monika kindly provided me with several examples (in English) as well as some pictures and an introductory note written by her. I include this as part of my memoirs written from a slightly different point of view as my own. I trust the reader finds these tales informative.

Summary of the letters of Yvonne and Wölf Schaper from the U.S.A.and Mexico to Dorothea Schaper-Barthels in Bremen / Germany, 1949-1963.


Introduction: The Past

(by Monika Barthels)


The letters published here were found only recently in the library of the Schaper-Barthels family in Bremen. Yvonne Schaper wrote them to her sister in law, Dorothea Schaper Barthels, so did sometimes her son Wölf. For understanding the letters part of the family history is presented here, to give an impression of the background of Yvonne’s and Dorothea’s trusting and understanding friendship. Wölf has already described the gruesome details happening to Yvonne and Wölf during World War II. Anni’s, the housekeeper’s remembrances are already written down. The telling of the whole story of a lively big family leaving traces in culture and history is still not finished.

Elsbeth Bieber was the sister of the in Germany now famous Dora Lux (see her biography by Hilde Schramm) and of one of the first woman M.D. practitioners in Germany, Dr. med Annemarie (Mieze) Bieber. Herself a highly intelligent, cultured and warmhearted personality (Dorothea describing her to her husband), she married her great love, the six years younger painter and sculptor Wolfgang Schaper in 1923 who called her “Yvonne”. – And since then as Yvonne she is known in the family till today. First in Bavaria, later in Berlin the young family consisted of Wolfgang and Yvonne, since 1928 their son Wölf and the three boys from Yvonne’s first marriage: Heiner, Peter and Fernand. Wolfgang’s younger sister, Dorothea, also a sculptor, and very close to her brother Wolfgang, spent later a lot of time with him and Yvonne, who also became a close friend to her.

At the end of the turbulent 19twenties Wolfgang, Yvonne and Dorothea, members of a young new German generation after World War I, shared the Berlin and Bavarian life of artists and intellectuals without much money but with intelligence, joy, love of culture in its various forms and discussions about new ideas, philosophy, beliefs (favorites from East Asia) and not least about a better social, more equal life for all mankind. Yvonne was included into the – mostly female – Berlin relatives and friends of Dorothea’s as Dorothea was included into her family with Mieze and Dora, their husbands and children. The closest friends of Dorothea’s and later Yvonne’s were: Dorothea’s sister Eva, married to the lawyer Ernst Noelle and mother of Elisabeth Noelle, who became famous establishing the first pollster research in Germany. Then Irmgard Heckmann-Hoppe, Dorothea’s friend since early childhood, a social worker. Later in post-war-Germany both women’s further life was hard, each losing a beloved child, losing their homes, Irmgard also experiencing the hardship of East German communism before she and her family fled to West Germany. With Eva and Irmgard, Yvonne also exchanged personal letters till the end of her life. More distant friends were Freda Wüsthoff, who became the first woman patent attorney in Germany, the sisters Anita Oberländer, opera singer and later teaching disturbed children in England, and the actress Isa Oberländer, later countess von Bernus; not least Andrea and Vally Wolffenstein, Vally a painter, daughters of the then famous architect Wolffenstein and many more.

In 1930 Wolfgang at the age of 35 died finally from a wound he got in the first world War. Afterwards Yvonne and Wölf stayed in the family home, Berlin Buchenstrasse 4, till 1937 and in Berlin during World War II till 1944. In 1930 Dorothea had married the surgeon Claus Barthels, and in 1937 moved with him to Bremen. But in the early thirties she repeatedly came back to Berlin to work on her sculptures in the Buchenstrasse, living with Yvonne, little Wölf and some of his three older half brothers Heiner, Peter and Fernand. And, as Dorothea described in her letters to her husband, Yvonne and Dorothea also met frequently together a lot of mutual Berlin relatives and friends.

In 1944, after his mother was brought to Theresienstadt by the Gestapo, Wölf came to Bremen where he lived several months with Claus Barthels and the Bremen housekeeper Anni. Claus Barthels, a much sought after surgeon had managed for Wölf a training in the workshop of Mr. Küffmeier, a mechanic, where Wölf could work unobtrusively, motherly cared for by Anni, till he too was taken away by the Gestapo to a camp. May 1945 Yvonne by her son Fernand was brought from Theresienstadt to the little spa Bad Ems where Claus Barthels’s parents lived: Dr. Barthels, a M.D. and his wife Aline, quiet mistress of the house, a reflective intelligent woman with a love for books. During the war the couple, convinced catholics, received each home seeking relative into their house up to a total of 11 people at the end of the war. Yvonne became part of the big family and helped where she could, among others teaching the two little Barthels daughters Monika and Kari as the schools were closed by the occupation armies. Autumn 1945 Claus Barthels brought Dorothea, Yvonne, Monika and Kari in a breathtaking car drive through postwar Germany back to Bremen. The memories of the Bad Ems time led to Yvonne’s writing letters to Aline Barthels at least once a year till Aline’s death in 1961 (Letter 1961.07.13).

About a year later Wölf managed to come back to the Bremen house where he and his mother were united. Living in postwar Germany was hard as it meant looking out for at least a partly damaged house, sometimes only one room heated by an oven, bedrooms cold with a hot brick in the bed to keep you warm and most of all the question if enough food could be obtained. All of this drawing family members together. The two women took care of the belongings, part of it being Yvonne’s furniture, books and Wolfgang’s paintings and sculptures. Yvonne helped Dorothea to collect the parts of the Schaper furniture in Bad Ems to bring it back to Bremen in, at least, a one week’s uncomfortable train drive. Dorothea turned the beautiful Bremen garden into a vegetable farm rising potatoes, beans, corn and other vegetables, even tobacco for her husband who provided meat, sausages and eggs from his grateful farmer patients. Anni prepared the food and made jam and juices from the fruits of the big old garden trees and preserves of beans and other vegetables. – Her kitchen became the meeting place of the younger generation who were ordered to help her among other tasks by drying the washed dishes – which they did with a lot of fun, Wölf taking a great part in it, teaching modern songs like Kreuder’s “The Night Ghost”, being adored by his young cousins (till today). But in the evenings, Kari remembered recently, mother and son were left to themselves in their rooms, as Claus needed quietness and rest with only Dorothea beside him after his exhausting day as a surgeon. Yvonne and Wölf stayed with the Barthels family and Anni, till in 1947 they decided to leave Germany and move to the U.S.A leaving their properties behind. In 1957 when the Barthels family moved to a new house those paintings and furniture of hers, Yvonne wanted, were sent to her to the U.S:A.

Letters from Yvone and Wolf Schape

From now on between the USA and Germany many letters were exchanged, mostly between Yvonne and Dorothea, but also with Eva Schaper-Noelle, Irmgard Hoppe and Aline Barthels, reporting about one’s everyday life, especially the well being and actions of the younger family members, written detached without gossiping, sometimes asking for goods which one could not get in one’s own country. The mutual trusting, the wish to get facts, informations, was going so far, that the writers were not afraid to speak about their own experiences, well being and even could contradict or criticize the other without being afraid of being let down. Spring 1962 Yvonne finally came to Germany, visiting her relatives and the Barthels family in Bremen and Kari and Monika in Göttingen. A few days later, just about leaving Europe she died.

Parts from the Letters:

(Chosen, as I think typical, for Yvonne’s style and interests, for her time and surroundings, and probably interesting facts for the Schaper family,).

December 12th 1949 Yvonne, living in Princeton with the family of Prof.Weyl and caring for Albert Einstein’s sister, wrote:

Liebe Dorothea

Zu dem richtigen, ausführlichen Brief, den ich Dir eigentlich schreiben wollte, komme ich vor dem Feste doch nicht, es schlägt einfach über mir zusammen. Damit Du aber doch etwas von mir hörst, kommen wenigstens ein paar Worte. zunächst das Obligate. Ich bin heute sofort nach Erhalt deines Briefes in das einzige Geschäft hier, wo es die Nylon Strickwolle gibt, gegangen, konnte aber leider nur die rote kriegen, die blaue kommt erst in ein paar Wochen wieder……

…….Deine Briefe haben mich riesig gefreut, besonders, daß Du wieder künstlerisch arbeitest, weniger, dass Du noch immer Schmerzen hast. Traurig bin ich für Eva, sie ist ja die reinste Niobe mit all den kranken Kindern u. Dieter’s Schicksal ! Was für ein Lebensabend nach dem strahlenden Beginn ! Von (Irmgard) Hoppe’s hatte ich keine Ahnung, G.s.D. dass sie draussen sind…….

…….Nächste Woche kommt Wölf auf 14 Tage, ich freue mich mächtig. Um Weihnachten herum soll Mieze Großmutter werden, Hansl soll eine Baby kriegen. So werden wir wohl in diesem Jahre nur zu Neujahr hinfahren. Fd. (Fernand) ist ja in Genf, hat eine wunderbare Reise durch Italien, Salzburg und Wien hinter sich. Corinne (seine Tochter) mit ihren 2 ¾ Jahren spricht englisch und französisch ! Schade, dass sie so weit ab ist ! –

Dear Dorothea


I don’t think I will have time before Christmas for the real intensive letter I wanted to write to you, everything just closes over me. Here are some words, so that you will hear at least something from me. First the obligatory: today right after I got your letter I went into the only shop here to get the nylon nitting wool, but sorry to say got only the red one the blue one will only come in a few weeks…..

……. I enjoyed your letters very much, especially that you are working artistically again, less that you still have pain. Sad I am for Eva, she is really Niobe with all the sick children and Dieter’s (her son) fate! …..

What an old age after the glamorous start ! I had no idea about (Irmgard) Hoppes. Thank heaven that they are outside (the DDR). ……

……. Next week Wölf is coming for two weeks, I am so happy. Around Christmas Mieze will be grandmother as Hansl expects a baby. So probably we will go there only for New Year. Fd. is in Genf, has made a wonderful trip through Italy, Salzburg and Vienna. Corinne with her 2 ½ years speaks English and French ! A pity that she is so far away ! –

December 29th 1949 Wölf wrote from his Purdue university in Lafayette a nice thank you letter to his aunt Dorothea for all the christmas presents, reporting about his life in the U.S.A., that his main interest was naturally flying, and that he wanted to go on studying and getting a doctor’s degree. Further that he had learned taking pictures and finally asking about the wellbeing of uncle Claus, Monika and Kari sending them all his good wishes.

January 6th 1950 Yvonne wrote that she and Wölf had a great time with Hansl on Sylvester in New York and thanked for the “Weihnachtsstolle”. Then she reported about the exchange of goods (times being still bad)  like coffee and tobacco from the U.S.A (for which Dorothea sent her money) and in later letters asking for things from Germany not easily got in the US.

Further that Weyls were going back to Zurich in the springtime as he would be emerited.

….. Wir hatten – man muss schon beinahe sagen: trotz allem – ein sehr schönes Weihnachtsfest, wahrscheinlich ja wohl das letzte in diesem Hause.       Wölf wird ja auch im Juni fertig und wir hoffen, dass das Schicksal uns dann ein Zusammenleben vergönnt, aber wo? So sollte es also das letzte Mal in dem schönen Hause sehr nett werden, und ich denke, das ist gelungen. Ausser Heiner und Wölf waren Weyl’s Ältester mit seiner Familie da – Weyl’s Frau nicht, die kommt erst am 11./I. auf 2 ½ Monate – so dass wir zu 8 im Hause waren ! Es war sehr vergnügt, die Kinder sorgten für die richtige Weihnachtsstimmung und jeder war reichlich bedacht! Sylvester feierten wir 3 dann mit Hansl und ihrer Familie + Mieze und Ruth zusammen, auch das war sehr nett, trotz all der grosssen Fragezeichen. Dann hatte ich noch ein Wochenende hier mit meinen beiden Jüngsten zusammen, bis ich Wölf nach N.York zu seinem Zuge und Heiner am Tage darauf zu seinem Schiff „Liberté“ bringen musste. Das Alleinzurückbleiben ist ja immer noch nicht einfach, und man gewöhnt sich nicht daran. Mit Heiner ist es immer so besonders nett, er ist der Intelligenteste von meinen vieren und dabei so ruhig und überlegen, dass man über alles mit ihm reden kann, er hat für alles Verständnis. Und dabei sieht er noch immer aus wie ein Junge. Es macht auch viel Spass mit ihm durch N.Y. zu gehen oder im Land herum zu fahren, er ist so aufgeschlossen für alles! Es geht ihm materiell recht gut, so dass wir verabredet haben, dass wenn wir hier Bürger sein werden, was ja im Laufe 51 geschehen wird, wir herüberkommen werden. Vorausgesetzt, dass die Gewitterwolke an uns vorbei zieht. Dies ist ja unsere allergrößte und nächste Sorge.

……. We had – one must almost say: in spite of all – a very nice Christmas time, perhaps the last in this house….. Wölf also will finish in June and we hope that fate will allow us a living together – but where? So it had to be the last nice time in this beautiful house, and I think it succeed. Apart from Heiner and Wölf there were Weyl’s eldest with his family – not Weyl’s wife, she will come not until Jnuary 11th for 2 ½ months – so that we were 8 in the house ! The children took care of the right christmas atmosphere and everyone got plentiful! Sylvester then we 3 celebrated with Hansl and her family + Mieze and Ruth together, this also was very nice, in spite of all the big question marks. Then I had another weekend here together with my two youngest till I had to bring Wölf to N.York to his train and the next day Heiner to his ship “liberté”. the being alone is naturally still not easy, and one does not get used to it. With Heiner it is always especially nice, he is the most intelligent of my four and at the same time so quiet and superior, that one can talk with him about everything, he understands all. And still he is looking like a boy. It is much fun too, walking with him through N.Y. or traveling through the country. Financially he is rather good, so that we decided, that when we should be citizens here, what should happen in 51, we will come over. Provided that the thunder cloud will pass us. This is our greatest and next problem.

in Dorothea’s writing: answered d. 9.II.51 after Coffee-Parcel


Liebe Dorothea


Vielen Dank für Deine beiden Briefe, den zum 23. und den zum 3.II. und Dank für die Glückwünsche auch an deine Haus- und Familienmitglieder ! Ich antworte so schnell, um Dir zu sagen, wie sehr ich mich über Deinen Bericht über Fernand’s Besuch gefreut habe, umsomehr da es ja den Anschein hat, als hättet Ihr Euch besser verstanden als damals in Ems. Ich wundere mich ja doch ein bisschen, dass da nicht mehr Einfühlung in seinen Zustand vorhanden war, denn dass jemand, der eben mit eigenen Augen Lager wie Buchenwald und Dachau (dessen Schauerlichkeit man gar zu gern „Propaganda“ nennen möchte, aber es gibt doch zuviel Augenzeugen) und der seine Mutter gerade direkt aus einem Zustande herausgeholt hat, der mir selber heute wie ein unsagbarer Traum erscheint, – der aber damals wirklich genug war, – nicht in einem erfreulichen Gemütszsutande (um mich milde auszudrücken) sein konnte, versteht sich doch von selbst.

Und ich weiss doch, wie er sich in Ems bemüht hat, das zu verdrängen. Er hat doch schliesslich allerhand für die Emser getan, und wenn es auch um meinetwillen geschah, es geschah doch eben. Wie es eigentlich steht, beweist doch die Tatsache seines – auch mir – unerwarteten Besuches bei Euch.

Er selbst ist zwar sehr unbürgerlich, aber ich kann mir nicht denken, dass er Ablehnung gegen Eure „bürgerliche Geborgenheit“ empfand, denn ich weiss, dass er eine Seite hat, die das alles sehr geniesst, die nur nicht darin verweilen kann. Er ist eben eine komplizierte Natur voller Widersprüche. Ich bin erstaunt, dass Du sagst, er käme im Sommer mit seiner Familie zusammen. Es würde mir Spaß machen, wenn Du seine – übrigens bildschöne – Frau und die süsse sehr aparte kleine Corinne kennen lerntest. Warum sie Dir leid tun, habe ich nicht ganz verstanden. Wegen der häufigen Trennungen? Die halten die Liebe frisch, das schadet garnicht so sehr, glaube ich. – Jedenfalls bin ich sehr gespannt auf seinen Bericht. Über Berlin schrieb er sehr erschütternd, ich bin ganz krank daran. –

Augenblicklich ist Wölf hier, Zwischensemesterferien. Gerade am 3. abends muss er wieder weg. aber es ist sehr schön. – Du rechnest schon so sicher mit unserem Kommen, ich sehe das noch nicht so genau! Abgesehen davon, dass augenblicklich Pläne zu machen auf so weite Sicht, mir geradezu tollkühn erscheint, hängt es noch von soviel anderen Dingen ab: 1.) müssen wir Bürger geworden sein, was sich nach Juni, wo der Termin erreicht ist, immer noch ein paar Monate hinziehen kann, 2.) muss genug Geld vorhanden sein, was ein ganz großes Fragezeichen ist !

Aus Ems hatte ich einen direkten Brief, was mich sehr freute, ich werde nächstens antworten. Grüsse die arme Irmgard (Heckmann-Hoppe, Dorotheas beste Freundin). Hoffentlich geht es inzwischen besser. Tante Kayser ist fabelhaft. (Ehefrau Margarete des seinerzeit berühmten Berliner Architekten Heinrich Kayser, der u.a. die Buchenstraße 4 für seinen Freund Fritz Schaper baute. Ich habe noch mit ihr korrespondiert). Lebt die Toni noch bei ihr? (M. Kayser’s  unverheiratete Gesellschafterin, aus Bremen stammend, wohnte später zufällig bei ihren Verwandten in der Ronzeelenstr. nicht weit weg von uns).

Sei sehr sehr herzlich gegrüsst

von Deiner Yvonne




Dear Dorothea

Many thanks for both your letters, the one for the 23rd and the one for the 3rd February and thanks for the congratulations to your house- and family members ! I am answering you so rapidly to tell you how much I enjoyed your report about Fernand’s visit, the more so as it seemed that you had a better understanding than at the time in Ems. But I am wondering a bit, that then there was no more emphasising with his condition, as someone who had just seen with his own eyes camps like Buchenwald and Dachau (whose dreadfulness people would like to call “propaganda”, but there are too many eywitnesses) and who had just his mother brought from a situation – which today seems to myself like an unspeakable dream, – but which at its time war real enough, – that he could not be in an enjoyable state of mind (to express myself mildly), this must be understandable.

And I know how he tried to repress all this in Ems. After all he had done a lot for the Ems people, and if it happened for me, it did happen. How it is really is proven by the fact of his – for me also – unexpected visit to you.

He himself is not bourgeois, but I cannot imagine that he disapproves of your “bourgeois security”, because I know that one side of him enjoys all this very much, but cannot stay therein. He is a complicated nature full of contradictions. I am surprised that you said that he will meet his family in summer. I would enjoy it if you would meet his – by the way gorgeous – wife and the sweet rather aparte little Corinne. Why you are sorry for them I could not really understand. Because of the frequent separations? They keep the love fresh, this does not harm so very much, I believe. – In each case I am very curious about his report. About Berlin he wrote much distressed, I am sick about it. –

At the moment Wölf is here, holidays in between semesters. Just the evening 3rd he must go away, but it is very nice. – You to be sure are expecting our visit, but I don’t yet see it precisely ! Apart from making plans in such a far distance at the moment seems to me daring, it depends on so many other things: 1.) we must be citizens first, which, after the day in June can still drag on several months, 2.) there must be enough money which is a big question mark !

From Ems I had a direct letter, which made me very happy, I will answer before long. Greetings to poor Irmgard. I hope it will be better meantime. Aunt Kayser ist fantastic. (Wife of the famous Berlin architect Heinrich Kayser, who built among others the Buchenstrasse 4 for his friend Fritz Schaper. I still exchanged letters with her). Is the Toni still living with her? (M. Kayser’s unmarried companion, coming from Bremen, lived later with her relatives in Bremen Ronzeelenstr. near us).

Very very heartiest greetings

From your Yvonne

in Dorothea’s writing:             14.III. answered


Liebe Dorothea


Ich sollte Dir schon längst geschrieben haben, aber es geht mir infolge eines Ischias oder Nervensache am rechten Becken, die ich mir durch einen blöden Fall zugezogen habe, so wenig gut, dass ich mich nicht entschliessen konnte, besonders weil das Sitzen das Allerunangenehmste ist. aber Du musst ja schliesslich doch mal wieder was hören, nimm es aber nicht so ernst, wenn meine Stimmung etwas durch den Brief hindurch klingt.

Zunächst Deine Fragen: ein Kaffeepaket i.e. das letzte kostete rund $ 6.50 (Zeichen = Dollar?), der Kaffee rund 5.40 (er wird von Woche zu Woche teurer), das Porto 1.12. Ich hoffe, Du hast es inzwischen bekommen. Auf dem Konto habe ich noch etwa $ (?) 205.- ! Weisse Nylon „Wolle“ zum Stricken gibt es, gib genau an, wieviel Du brauchst, lieber etwas zu viel als zu wenig. Lohnt es, noch Rasierklingen zu schicken und solche Sachen? – Wir haben jetzt – die letzten Wochen, die Ellen Weyl hier ist – ein ziemlich lebhaftes Haus. In etwa 14 Tagen reist sie, im Mai folgt ihr Weyl, inzwischen ist eine Menge zu tun. Hoffentlich werde ich wieder richtig beweglich. Ich freue mich doch auf ein eigenes Heim – wenn ich zu einem komme. Ich werde es nicht so schön und elegant haben wie hier, aber ich werde eben doch mein eigener Herr sein. Aber ich zweifele manchmal, ob ich je noch einmal dazu komme. Ich hätte auch gern eine etwas geistigere Arbeit. Es ist natürlich bei E. immer schwerer für mich geworden, da meine Patientin immer – man kann schon sagen: idiotischer wird. Das macht alles so hoffnungslos und man hat das Gefühl, alles, was man tut, hat doch keinen Zweck! – Na, bis Juni muss ich durchhalten. – Ich sah in dieser Woche zwei gute Filme: den „bicycle thief“ („Fahrraddiebe“, berühmter neorealistischer Film von Vittorio de Sicca 1948), den ich hervorragend fand, aber natürlich sehr tragisch und deprimierend in dem hoffnungslosen Kampf gegen die Ungerechtigkeit des Lebens. Ihr habt ihn sicher dort auch (italienisch). Und „Harvey“ einen englischen Film. Humorvoll aufgezogen, aber sehr nachdenklich. Er macht sich über Psychiater und Psychoanalysen etwas lustig. (Im deutschen: „Mein Freund Harvey“ = Gemälde eines übergroßen weissen Hasen „Harvey“, mit dem sein liebenswerter Eigentümer alles bespricht, bevor er handelt).

– Meine drei Ältesten hatten ein Treffen in Paris, das muss sehr nett gewesen sein! Ehe Fernand in den Orient geht wohin er seine Frau mitnimmt. Corinne bleibt für 8 Wochen in einem Kinderheim bei Montreux. Fein, hoffentlich haben sie es schön und kommen alle gesund und munter wieder zusammen. Heiner macht seine zweite Hochzeitsreise mit seiner Frau (sie sind Ostern 10 Jahre verheiratet) an die Loire-Schlösser per Auto – er hat so einen kleinen Austin oder Peugeot oder so ähnl. – Wölf wird Ostern für eine Woche hier sein. –

Grüsse in Ems, nehmt Alle – auch die Emser vorsorglich (kaum lesbar!), da ich nicht weiss, ob ich bald wieder schreiben kann, schon jetzt die herzlichsten Ostergrüsse


Eurer Yvonne


Dear Dorothea

I ought to have written you long ago, but I am feeling not so good because of an Ischias or some nerve thing at the right pelvis, I got it from a silly fall, so that I could not decide, not least because the sitting is the worst, but you must hear something from me, do not take it so serious if my mood sounds a bit through the letter.

First your questions: a coffee parcel, e.g. the last costed around $ 6.50 (sign in the letter = dollar?), the coffee around $ 5.40 (it is from week to week expensive). the postage 1.12. I hope you got it meanwhile. n the account I have about $ (?) 205.- ! White nylon “wool” for knitting exists, tell exactly how much you need, better too much than to little. Is it still worthwhile to send razor blades and similar things? – We have now – the last weeks Ellen Weyl is here – a rather lively house. In about 14 days she will travel, in May Weyl will follow, meanwhile much is to do.

I hope I will be again really agile. I am looking so forward for an own home – if I get one. It will not be as beautiful and elegant like here, but shall be my own master. But I doubt sometimes if I shall ever get ist. Also I would like some intellectual work. At. E.’s naturally it became more and more difficult for me, as my patient became more and more – one can already say – idiotic. All this makes one hopeless and one has the feeling that whatever one does, all is useless! –

Well, till June I must hold out. – This week I saw two good movies: the “bycicle thief”

(famous because being realistic, made by the director Vittorio de Sicca 1948) which I found excellent, but naturally very tragic and depressing in the hopeless fight against the injustice of life. You will surely have it over there (italian). And “Harvey” an englisch film. Made humorous, but very pensive. It makes some fun about psychiatrists and psychoanalysis (In Germany the film was called “My friend Harvey” who is a big white hare on a painting. With him the owner of the painting discusses everything before acting – wisely).

My three eldest had a meeting in Paris, which must have been very nice! Before Fernand goes to the Orient taking his wife with him. Corinne stays for 8 weeks in a children’s home near Montreux. Nice, hopfully they will have a good time and come back all healthy and cheerful. Heiner is making his second honeymoon with his wife (easter they will be married 10 years) to the Loire castles by car – he has a little Austin or Peugeot or something similar. – Wölf will be here Easter for one week.

Greetings in Ems, include all – also the Ems people to be on the safe side (… not readable), because I do not know if I can soon write again, so now the heartiest Easter greetings


your Yvonne

Greetings to Dorothea’s birthday, excuses that she did not get the needed coffee. Now in Lafayette – report that they rented a little house with four rooms, telling how strange US Midwestern life is for a European – in contrast to the eastern part of the U.S.A. Note the antique writing of Tee (tea) à Thee !


Liebe Dorothea


………….. Es ist komisch, wie verschieden das ist. Lafayette ist offenbar sehr viel weniger raffiniert als der Osten; wahrscheinl.(ich) der ganze Mittelwesten mit Ausnahme der ganz großen Städte wie Chicago oder Indianapolis. Es ist mir z.B. zur Zeit unmöglich, eine Theekanne zu kriegen, weil man hier allgemein den Thee mit den „bags“ zurbereitet, die man einfach in die Tasse hängt u. mit kochendem Wasser begiesst. Das ist nicht schlecht, aber unsere Art, Thee zu machen, ist noch besser! –………….Leider kann ich Dir auch gar keine Neuigkeit in bezug auf einen so notwendigen und einträglichen job melden. Man muss sich in Geduld fassen. Es fehlt mir ja auch nicht an Tätigkeit, aber ich möchte gern mich wieder ganz unabhängig fühlen können !

Schrieb ich Dir, dass Fernand für 3 Monate in Indien und weiter ist? Augenblicklich in Borneo. Ich beneide ihn sehr um das Abenteuer, aber ich wollte doch, er wäre heil und gesund erst wieder zurück. Im Winter soll er in Paris sein bei der General Assembly der U.N. – Ich hatte einen ganz atemlosen Brief aus New Delhi von ihm. Es ist nur schade, dass sein Aufgabe ihn mit so viel Elend zusammenbringt, so dass der Genuss natürlich erheblich beeinträchtigt ist. – Wölf wollte eigentlich selber schreiben, hat aber furchtbar viel zu tun. Da er nun mit zum „staff“ gehört – obwohl er nur teilweise eingestellt ist, – hat er noch allerhand Sitzungen und meetings, so dass in der Woche kaum Freizeit bleibt. –

Also nochmals: herzlichste Glückwünsche von uns beiden und viele liebe Grüsse !   Deine               Yvonne

October 1 1951

Dear Dorothea


………….. It is funny how different it is here. Lafayette seems to be less refined than the East; probably the whole Midwest with the exception of the big cities like Chicago or Indianapolis. At the moment it is impossible for me to get a tea pot, as one here ususally prepares the tea with the “bags”, which are just put into the cup poring boiling water on them. That’s not bad, but our way of making tea is better! –

………………Sorry to say but I cannot give you any news about a so much needed and profitable job. One must have patience. It is not so that I am lacking activities, but I would like to feel independent again !

Did I write to you that Fernand is in India for 3 months and farther? At the moment in Borneo. I envy him about the adventure but I would want he were already back safe and healthy. In winter time he has to be at the Genral Assembly of the U.N.. – I had a breathtaking letter from him from New Delhi. It is only a pity that his task does bring him together with so much poverty, so that the pleasure is naturally much reduced. –

Wölf had intended to write himself, but has an awdul lot to do. As he belongs now to the “staff” – although he is only partly employed – he has a lot of sessions and meetings, so that there is hardly free time during the week. –

Now once again heartiest congratulations from both of us and many loving greetings !




Hier ist also die große Neuigkeit, die ein paar Tage auf meinem Schreibtisch liegen geblieben ist, weil ich nicht zum Schreiben kam. – Es ist ja ein bisschen früh und die Beiden sind noch reichlich jung, aber das ist hier so üblich und man kann nur wünschen, dass alles gut geht. Für mich aber ändern sich ja die Zukunftspläne dadurch auch, es trifft sich gut, dass Hansl mich gerade braucht. Nachher wird man weiter sehn. Im März wird Wölf seine Bürgerpapiere bekommen, damit ist seine Zukunft ja ziemlich aussichtsreich. Bis zum nächsten Frühling müssen sie hier bleiben, mit dem Master‘s degree eröffnen sich dann eine Menge Möglichkeiten. Das Militär wird ihn ja auch in Ruhe lassen, wenn er einen job hat, der richtig ist, was eben sehr wahrscheinlich ist bei seiner Spezialität. –

Und nun zu Deinem Brief ! vielen Dank zunächst für den wunderbaren Klaben (Bremer Weihnachtsstollen, ein brotförmiger Hefeteig mit sehr vielen Rosinen ), der bis gestern gereicht hat ! Er erwartete uns hier als wir aus Phoenicia zurückkamen. Ich habe hier inzwischen ein Paket beinahe fertig für Dich, es soll in den nächsten Tagen abgehen. ……………………..

Vielen Dank auch für die Photo, die mir viel Freude macht. Wie ähnlich Eva Mutti sieht, es gab mir richtig einen Stoss. Monika fand ich sehr verändert, nicht so Dich und die nur etwas ältere aussehende Kari. – …………………………….

January 19, 1952

336 N Salisbury

West. Lafayette, Ind.


Dear Dorothea

Here are now the big news, which has been on my writing desk for some days because I had no time for it. – It is a bit early and both of them are very young, but this is her customary and one can only wish that everything will turn out well. – For my future plans will alter. So it is good, that Hansl needs me at the moment. Afterwards one will see. March Wölf will get his citizen papers, with them his future is rather promising. Till next spring they must stay here, with the Master’s degree there will open many chances. The military will leave him alone when he has a right job, which is very probable with his speciality. –

And now to your letter ! Many thanks first for the wonderful Klaben (a speciality from Bremen: a yeast dough with a lot of raisins only for christmas) which lasted till yesterday. It was waiting for us when we came back from Phoenicia. Meanwhile I nearly made ready a parcel for you, it will be send in the next days. …………….

Also many thanks for the pictures, which I enjoyed very much. How similar Eva is to Mutti (her mother in law: Helene Schaper). Monika I found much changed, not so much you and the only a bit older Kari. –




  1. Peter Schaper  October 10, 2016

    I am offering the reader who does not speak English, an opportunity to get a feeling of the personalities involved in my life, especially during the years following World War II. Cousin Monika wants to translate more letters which will, hopefully, find their way to Wolfy’s Tales. I expect that they might be of interest to future readers who are curious about the Schaper family. My sincere thanks to all who make this possible!


Add a Comment