Thursday, March 17, 2016

Schulenberg's Page: New York, Part LI

Loes Hamel, my friend from Paris.
Text and Illustrations by ©Bob Schulenberg

New York, 1965. The Dutch ship, the Nieuw Amsterdam (christened in 1937) arrived in New York with my friends, Loes Hamel, with whom I'd spent so much time in Paris and Ramses Shaffy, Loes' great friend with whom I'd stayed several times in his beautiful house on a canal in Amsterdam.
Ramses was famous for his cabaret, Shaffy Chantant, his songwriting and his recordings. He was born in Neuilly-sur-Seine but until he was six, lived in Cannes with his mother, a Polish countess; when she became ill, he was sent to live in Amsterdam and later in life he met his birth father, a diplomat.

Leaving music as he grew older, he focused on acting and starred as Don Quixote in "Man of La Mancha."
American jazz singer Blossom Dearie recorded his song, "Sammy," and called him one of "the most gifted musician/songwriters in the music world!" She adored him.
While New York-bound aboard the Nieuw Amsterdam, they staged a Shaffy Chantant evening!
Loes had stopped modeling for Pierre Cardin, was performing with Ramses, and had left her husband, Jules.
She was now the girlfriend of Jan Cremer, a young Dutch writer who'd gotten a lot of attention for his book, I, Jan Cremer.

Now Jan had invaded New York to conquer the US!
His book was reviewed by Nelson Algren in The New York Times.
Later, it appears Jan conquered Jayne Mansfield, who was evidently in love with him!
At this point he moved on and I lost touch with him.

When the Nieuw Amsterdam set sail for England, my friends, Harry and Daisy Belk Lange and their young son Eric were passengers. We celebrated with an onboard champagne party.
Daisy was from a family that owned a chain of department stores founded in the late 19th century with headquarters in North Carolina.
Harry was German and I'd met them after I'd been drafted upon graduating from UCLA and immediately sent to the then-top secret Army Ballistic Missile Center at Redstone Arsenal in Huntsville, Alabama. Harry, a civilian, was working with Professor Hermann Oberth who had been the teacher of Wernher von Braun, the inventor of the Nazi V-2 Rocket. He was also at Redstone!
Von Braun is seated directly behind Professor Oberth.
There were so many Germans in Huntsville that it was the most uncharacteristic southern city imaginable.

I think that Harry, who'd been in the Hitler Youth, liked me because it was a Schulenburg who, with his best friend von Stauffenberg attempted Operation Valkyrie, a plan to assassinate Hitler by placing a bomb rigged to explode during a high level meeting.
The Wolf's Lair conference room soon after the explosion.
Hitler survived and the plotting generals were executed.
L. to r.: Henning von Tresckow; Friedrich Olbricht; Ludwig Beck; Carl Friedrich Goerdeler; Fritz-Dietlof Graf von der Schulenburg.
In England, Harry became a motion picture art director. And because of his knowledge and experience at Redstone Arsenal, he was one of the designers of Stanley Kubrick's classic film, "2001: a space odyssey"!
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