In 1893, mid-January, Hermann Goering was born in Germany. So too, mid-January 1893, was Sigrid Schultz born, in Chicago. Just a few days apart.
Goering, his fist raised in frustration, “Schultz, I’ve always suspected it… You’ll never learn to show proper respect for state authorities. I suppose that is one of the characteristics of people from that crime-ridden city of Chicago.”
Sigrid, under five feet tall, had used the occasion of a party at the legendary Hotel Aldon in Berlin, honoring Goering and his shy bride, actress Emma Sonnemann, to verbally confront that flamboyant morphine addicted founder of the Gestapo. He had been trapping nosy unwanted foreign journalists by passing(planting) them military secrets, then, following up with arrests and public espionage trials.
A month before, in April 1935, a suspicious character had left a large sealed envelope with Sigrid’s mother, at their home. Upon her arrival home Sigrid proceeded to burn the envelope and it’s contents, she knew she was being set-up, by Reichsmarschall (Marshal of the Realm)Goering.
In 1938 Sigrid sent her mother and her dog away from Berlin. She bought them a little house on Elm Street in Westport Conn. Sigrid stayed on in Germany to cover events building up to the world war. Sigrid included broadcast journalism to her repertoire when she covered the conference at Munich that same year.
Her report: click this
Sigrid’s story ends in 1980, on Elm Street downtown, in Westport. But where does it begin? For the purposes of this blog report should we begin her story as she graduates from the Sorbonne in 1914 with a degree in International Law? Maybe it could begin with her family trapped in Germany during WW1 as enemy aliens? Or, could we begin it with Hitler telling Sigrid, “You cannot understand the Nazi movement, because you think with your head and not with your heart.”?
No, we begin her story in Chicago, 1893, the site of the World’s Fair, better known as the World’s Colombian Exposition. Sigrid’s father, Herman Schultz, a famous artist, had been commissioned to paint the portrait of the Mayor of that city, coinciding with the celebrations. It was the first world’s fair with national pavilions, forty six nations participating. A truly international spectacle, the fair inspired Frank Baum’s vision for Emerald City in his novel Land of Oz. Nikola Tesla had won the contract for Westinghouse to illuminate the fairgrounds. The fair broke attendance records with 27 million visitors celebrating the 400th anniversary of Christopher Columbus’ arrival in the new world.
It was the gilded age for American industry. The Schultz Family were multi-lingual; speaking French, German and American English. In 1900 her father was called back to Europe to paint a portrait for the King and Queen of Wurttemburg Germany (William the 2nd). At eight years old Sigrid was already armed with those skills that would serve her so well to expose the true nature of Nazi ambition and treachery, language skills. To be continued…