Mar 14, 2010

My father my teacher

Dr. Bedrich (Enrique) Schwarzkopf (1923-2010)
(picture taken wearing my doctorate cap)

My father "Fritzi", as my grandmother used to call him, was born in 1923 in Iglau, Czechoslovakia to a non observant well to do Jewish family .
In 1939 my grandparents took my aunt and father to Ecuador (only place they could go to at the time). They where the only ones of the whole family not finishing in Teresienstad and the ovens of Auschwitz.
Fritz changed his name to Enrique and finished high school at the Maldonado High School in Quito (finishing as the valedictorian). At the age of 18 he "escaped"from Ecuador and joined the Czech Brigade (armored corps) of the British Army and saw action in Europe (using his Czech name Bedrich and not the unpopular Fritz).
After the war he started studying chemistry in Prague and when the Soviets took over the country he flew again to Ecuador where he continued his studies (Universidad Central). In 1950 he needed a good typist for his doctoral thesis and so found this "gorgeous"medical student (a refugee from Rumania) who was willing to type. He was surprised and got engaged to marry conditionally. When Gerda told him that no conditions accepted and it had to happen before he defends his thesis, he surrendered to her. He finished his doctorate after his wedding and again was valedictorian.
That started a great relation that lasted 60 years.
Both my parents started and managed together a "shirt"factory in Quito working from 06:30 in the morning till the evening (he worked until one week before his death). Fabrica Aso as it was called became also a central part of my childhood. A place where I was taught the ethics of hard work.

They where partners in life, in work , best friends and my loving parents.

During those years they gave my brother and me (later to all the 6 grandchildren) all what they could. I got the best education that a person can dream and all of it was them, together. They helped and never asked for anything in return.
They became the center of life for both my brother's and my families (grandchildren).

1 comment:

sylvia Wachsner said...

What a beautiful tribute to your parents, you are right your dad won't be forgotten.

Sylvia Wachsner