Monday, April 9, 2007

Wednesday Apr 9


Presented sister Clara
with a beautiful cradle
for baby.


Matt's Notes

Clara, as we know, was one of Papa's sisters who lived in his neighborhood. She got home from the hospital with her new son, Julius, the previous day. I'm trying to figure out what the cradle Papa bought might have looked like, but no luck so far. (If anyone knows where I might find an image of an early 1920's cradle, please write to the address below.)


A couple of months ago I wrote a post about the efforts people like my grandfather made to challenge the image of Jews as bookish and physically inept. In this post I mentioned the documentary film Watermarks, which tells the story of an all-Jewish Viennese swim team called Hakoah ("The Strength") Vienna that enjoyed tremendous success until its members were forced to flee Austria in 1938. My wife and I saw the movie over the weekend and enjoyed it immensely. It consists mostly of interviews with the surviving members of Hahoah Vienna, all of whom are articulate and full of interesting stories.

In one scene, a woman named Hanni and her sister Judith (a national champion who was stripped of her records for refusing to participate in the 1936 Olympics) get together for their daily poetry reading, and the poem they choose to recite is Heinrich Heine's "Ein Jüngling liebt ein Mädchen (A Young Man Loves a Maiden)." This is an interesting coincidence, since Papa quoted the same poem back on February 4th while he was in the midst of a particularly difficult romantic episode. I knew the poem was well-known (Schumann set it to music in his Dichterliebe song cycle, and the song appears on the Watermarks soundtrack) but seeing other Austrians recite it from memory reinforces how popular it must have been.

The film's subtitles don't make an effort to translate the poem to rhyming verse, but I've transcribed it below, along with the version I quoted on February 4th, just for laughs:


A Boy (Watermarks version)

A boy loves a girl
She has chosen another
That other loves another
and it is this one he has wed.

The girl in anger takes
the next best fellow
who comes her way
The boy takes it badly

It is an old tale
But it always stays fresh
and to whom it actually happens,
it breaks his heart asunder.


A Young Man Loves a Maiden (Papa's Diary Project version, adapted from

A young man loves a maiden
But another she prefers,
The other one loves another,
And ties the knot with her.

From spite, the maiden marries
The first who comes along,
And happens `cross her path;
The youth must rue it long.

It is an old, old story,
Yet still forever new;
And every time it happens,
It breaks the heart in two.


Update 4/11

Reader Carol sent this link to a picture of a cradle from the late 1800's. It might give us some idea of what Papa's gift to Clara looked like:

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