Thursday, April 03, 2008

Renate Lasker-Harprecht

The name Lasker immediately range a
bell, when I was reading an article about this lady and her husband
in the German magazine 'Brigitte Woman'. But I always think of
someone called 'Lasker-Schueler' whoever that was (internet down,
can't check).

Turns out she is the sister of Anita
Lasker Wallfisch, mother of Rafael Wallfisch, the cellist (who will
shortly give a concert in Berlin celebrating the birth of the state
of Israel; had commented on that before). Renate and Anita were
together doing forced labour in Germany during the war (what with
being Jewish, do I need to spell it out?), and then landing in
Auschwitz and later in Bergen-Belsen – where Anita saved both their
lives playing the cello in the camp orchestra. This is described in
her book which she presented at the Dartington Summer School last
year. I did not go, having heard quite enough of this in my lifetime,
but I hear it was very moving. As it should be.

Having moved to the UK after the war,
Renate Lasker married a German, Klaus Harprecht, somewhat to her
sisters' horror, I suspect, and now lives in the south of France,
where she is a French citizen. He worked with Willy Brandt during
the difficult years of 1973/74.