Tag Archives: Sigrid Schultz

Roundup: Club 203, Native Plants, Cohl Katz …

Club 203 — the new Westport organization providing social and fun activities for adults with disabilities — launched with a bang Wednesday night.

Over 100 people gathered at MoCA for the kickoff event. DJ Joe’s great playlist got everyone on the dance floor from the moment they arrived.

The dance floor was filled.

Participants came from as far as Middlebury, Connecticut. DJ Joe rocked the night! Everyone was in on the dance floor. MoCA, The Porch at Christie’s, CVS for providing the venue and snacks. We would also like to thank all the volunteers from our community who helped us last night. We could not have done it with out them!

Hanging with the DJ …

Club 203 organizers Stacie Curran, Kathryn Sonne, Joe Anastasi and Sharuna Mahesh thank MoCA, The Porch @ Christie’s and CVS for providing the venue and snacks — as well as the many volunteers who made the night special.

Next up: a Halloween celebration (October 23, Remarkable Theater). For more information, click here.

,,, and hanging out.

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One of the most well-known houses in Westport (the Kowalsky home) sat for years on one of the last large open residential spaces in Westport.

Now the home — officially, 117 Morningside Drive South — has joined the list of notable town teardowns.

A recent photo …

… and an even more recent one. (Photo/Alan Phillips)

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Though all eyes were on the UK yesterday, after the death of Queen Elizabeth II, viewers watching Yahoo! Finance got a double dose of Westport.

Dave Briggs — one of the platform’s anchors — interviewed internationally best-selling author Jane Green, a British native. Both now live here.

Click here for the full interview.

Screenshot of yesterday’s interview.

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Speaking of Her Majesty … on Monday (September 12), the Remarkable Theater honors her life and legacy with a special showing of “The Queen.”

Helen Mirren stars in the 2006 film, which examines Queen Elizabeth II n the aftermath of the death of Princess Diana.

The lot opens at 6:15 p.m. for tailgating. The movie starts at 7;15 p.m. Click here for tickets, and more information.

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Who was Sigrid Schultz, for whom part of the newly designed Elm Street parking lot is named?

She was a pioneering female reporter, social justice activist — and longtime Westporer — who played an important role in exposing the growing Nazi threat during the lead-up to World War II, and beyond.

Last night, the Westport Museum for Culture & History hosted Professor Dr. David Milne of the University of East Anglia. He is writing her biography, and shared fascinating details of her life. The “Dragon Lady” exhibit is open to the public at the museum through the end of the year. (Hat tip: Dave Matlow)

Dr. James Milne, at the Westport Museum for History & Culture. (Photo/Dave Matlow)

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Wondering about all those yellow ribbons downtown?

September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. The ribbons create awareness too: for Circle of Care, a Wilton-based organization that helps families deal with the diagnosis of a child with cancer.

Click here to learn more about Circle of Care. Then click below, for a local video:

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With autumn around the corner, it’s time for Aspetuck Land Trust’s fall native plant sale.

Hard-to-find plants, trees, shrubs and perennials can be ordered online, and picked up September 30 to October 2 at the Caryl & Edna Haskins Preserve off Green Acre Lane. Click here for details.

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Aarti Khosla believes that teachers are the backbone of our society. In these unprecedented times, she says, they need our love more than ever.

Aarti owns Le Rouge Chocolates, on Main Street. So she’s in a position to make it happen. Sweeeeet!

Her “Give a Little Love” chocolate heart campaign works like this: For $8 each, customers can sponsor a heart for one Westport teacher. Aarti hand-delivers the treats to each school.

This is the third year in a row for “Give a Little Love.” Teachers have been very touched by this small gesture, she says.

To donate one or more chocolate hearts online, click here.

“Give a Little Love” with chocolate hearts.

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MoCA’s next show — the premiere of the From The Pen To The Knife exhibition, featuring close to 300 watercolor paintings by Marian Christy, who creates watercolors using only palette knives and puddles of paint — is on view from October 15 to November 27.

An opening reception is set for October 15 (5 to 7 p.m.).

Christy was a Pulitzer Prize-winning Boston Globe journalist, covering fashion and celebrities, for the first chapter of her life.

In the second chapter, she pivoted from “the pen to the knife.” Christy, now 90, had no formal training. She has worked for the last 15 years in her basement at an easel, held firm by used bricks to sustain her forceful palette knife strokes. For more information, click here.

One of Marian Christy’s nearly 300 works, exhibited soon at MoCA Westport.

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Cohl Katz’s clients have included Al Pacino, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Barbara Bush, Bob Dylan, Cal Ripken, Cindy Crawford, Ellen DeGeneres, Hillary Clinton, Hilary Swank, Jerry Seinfeld, John McEnroe, Johnny Depp, Katie Couric, Keith Richards, Leonardo DiCaprio, Martha Stewart, Mary Tyler Moore, Mel Gibson, Mick Jagger, Muhammad Ali, Nicole Kidman, Phil Donohue, Ray Charles, Robert Redford, Robin Williams, Rod Stewart, Rosie O’Donnell, Sting and Tom Cruise,

The hair stylist and makeup artist recently moved back to Westport. She’s offering a back-to-school special for new clients (of all ages): a 50% first-appointment discount. Call 917-848-9596 — and mention “06880”!

Three of Cohl Katz’s clients.

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Several Westport chefs will prepare 4-course tableside meals at Greenwich Wine + Food. The fundraiser for the Jacques Pépin Foundation and Wholesome Wae is set for October 7 (at Abigail Kirsch The Loading Dock, Stamford).

The local contingent includes Jes Bengtson (Terrain Garden Café. Amis Trattoria); Debra Ponzek (Aux Delices), Matt Storch (Match Burger Lobster) and Bill Taibe (The Whelk, Kawa Ni, Don Memo).

The evening includes honors for the Serendipity’s 2022 Most Innovative Chefs. Among them: Will Friedman of Kawa Ni.

Click here for the full schedule, and ticket information.

Bill Taibe and Jes Bengtson will cook at Greenwich Wine + Food.

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The girls are gone from Compo. Now — as seen in today’s “Westport … Naturally” photo — the gulls take over.

(Photo/Tracy Porosoff)

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And finally … as we remember the remarkable life of Queen Elizabeth II, the United States mourns with our British friends.

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(“06880 is entirely reader-supported. Please click here to contribute.)

Photo Challenge #320

Last week’s Photo Challenge’s honored Sigrid Schultz.

As the Chicago Tribune‘s Berlin bureau chief — the first female bureau chief of any major newspaper, anywhere — the pioneering reporter, social justice activist and longtime Westporter played a key role in exposing the growing Nazi threat during the lead-up to the war, and beyond.

A plaque memorializing her was unveiled last year, near her former residence. (Click here for the photo.) Where, the Challenge asked, was that?

The plaque is at Serena & Lily — the lifestyle store in the former Kemper Gunn House. It was moved across Elm Street in 2014, to make way for Bedford Square.

Schultz lived a bit behind the site of the present store, in what is now the Baldwin parking lot. Her home was demolished, to make way for cars.

Dick Lowenstein notes that in 2019 the RTM unanimously named the area “Sigrid Schultz Plaza,” though there is no signage to that effect.

Others who identified the site correctly were Fred Cantor, Linda V. Velez, Wendy Cusick, Wendy Schaefer and Judy Reid.

This week’s Photo Challenge is another plaque. It’s appropriate, because tomorrow is Presidents Day.

If you know where in Westport we honor our first president — and why there’s a Westport tie to him — click “Comments” below.

(Photo/Kathie Motes Bennewitz)

Photo Challenge #319

Who’s thinking of summer?

Dan Vener, Fred Cantor, Andrew Colabella and Carol Brezovec.

They knew that last week’s Photo Challenge — which showed some wooden picket fencing, and the number “1” — was part of the lifeguard chair storage area in the Compo Beach Soundview parking lot. (Click here to see.) 

Only 113 days until the traditional Memorial Day opening, when all 5 guard chairs will be on the sand, manned (and womanned) for action.

This week’s Photo Challenge is easy. It’s obviously a plaque honoring Sigrid Schultz, a true (if previously overlooked) local hero.

The challenge is not just to say where in Westport it’s located. We want the exact location — to the inch (or at least yard).

If you know, click “Comments” below.

(Photo/Amy Schneider)

Sigrid Schultz’s Secret

This week — as the world remembers the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz — alert “06880” readers Morley Boyd, Wendy Crowther and John F. Suggs share a stunning World War II discovery. 

Sigrid Schultz, in a portrait by her father Herman Schultz.

Last week, the Westport Museum of History & Culture opened a compelling exhibit about Sigrid Schultz. “Dragon Lady” honors the pioneering female reporter, social justice activist — and longtime Westporter — who played an important role in exposing the growing Nazi threat during the lead-up to the war, and beyond. 

 Yet no one knew how truly perilous that role actually was for Schultz — until now.

Boyd, Crowther and Suggs have spent several years researching this remarkable, often overlooked hero. In this exclusive story for “06880,” they share a stunning discovery. They write:

Serving as the Chicago Tribune’s Berlin bureau chief from 1926 to 1941, Sigrid Schultz masked her intense loathing for the Nazis in order to cultivate contacts at the highest level of the Third Reich. Among her many accomplishments, Schultz interviewed Adolf Hitler several times. She also fearlessly cast a barb at Hermann Göring for his failed attempt to have her arrested.

She boldly covered the persecution of Jews, was one of the first to report on abuses at the German concentration camps, and was once called “Hitler’s greatest enemy.”

She also had a big secret: She was Jewish.

This fact appears to have been missed by every scholar and historian who has studied her thus far — including her own biographer, and the Westport Museum.

In 1938, as tensions escalated in Germany, Schultz’s mother Hedwig left Berlin, and  bought a house on Westport’s Elm Street.

On the ship’s manifest, Hedwig is identified as “Hebrew.” According to traditional Jewish law, a person’s Jewish status is passed down through the mother.

The passenger manifest, identifying Hedwig Schultz as “Hebrew.” It says “DO” for “Ditto,” referencing the names above.

Back in Germany, as the persecution of Jews became more aggressive, Schultz likely wondered whether her lineage would be discovered and used against her.

In a 1940 letter to her Chicago Tribune publisher, she detailed the growing threats and attempts meant to intimidate her. She noted, “I’ve even been denounced as being Jewish…”

Four months later, after learning of failed assassination attempts on 2 of her best German sources, Schultz fled Germany for the house on Elm Street. Based on her extensive knowledge of Nazi Germany’s inner workings, she was recruited as a high level intelligence operative in the OSS, the precursor to today’s CIA.

When Schultz’s mother died in Westport in December of 1960, it appears that Schultz went to extreme lengths to obscure her Jewish identity.

On Hedwig’s death certificate, Sigrid wrote “unknown” in the space reserved for her maternal grandmother’s maiden name and birthplace.

In fact Schultz was quite close to her mother, having lived with her most of her life. She also personally knew both her maternal grandmother and maternal aunt, and was in possession of historic family documents (including those related to her maternal grandfather, Louis Jaskewitz).

We believe that Schultz would have been quite knowledgeable about her family tree. It’s doubtful she did not know her own grandmother’s maiden name and birthplace.

Schultz did confide in a few people.  One was her good friend, Ruth Steinkraus Cohen. In a November 10, 1986 interview with Sigrid’s biographer, Cohen said:

Schultz also divulged her secret to a young Staples student who interviewed her at her Elm Street home in 1976, as part of an assignment for Joe Lieberman’s English class.

Student Pamela Wriedt-Boyd quietly took notes as Schultz spoke about the importance of maintaining journalistic professionalism –- no matter what.

By way of example, Schultz recounted a chance meeting with Hitler at the Hotel Kaiserhof in Berlin. Schultz had been chatting in the lobby with Göring when Hitler suddenly appeared. After Göring introduced the two, Schultz said that Hitler “bowed down, grabbed my hand, kissed it, then raised his head and with his eyes, tried to stare deeply into mine. That kind of soulful stare had always repulsed me, and I failed to show the appreciation he expected.”

As if to underscore the point of her story, Schultz added, “He didn’t know I was Jewish!”

Pamela received an “A” for her report. She provided us with a notarized statement attesting to the story Schultz told her that day.

While only a few people in Westport knew the truth about Schultz’s Jewish identity, her father’s relatives in Norway were never in the dark. We tracked down Schultz’s nearest living next of kin — a first cousin, twice removed — who lives there. He said:

Schultz was a pro at keeping secrets. There were many reasons her life and livelihood depended on it.

Our research continues. We are developing a more in-depth piece about Schultz that will not only cover this topic but others. Many have never been explored before, including her later life in Westport.

In the meantime, we are finalizing details of a bronze plaque that we intend to affix to a stone pillar on Elm Street near Schultz’s former house. (The home — located in what is now a parking lot — was unceremoniously torn down soon after her death).

The narrative on the plaque will be brief. But it will certainly make mention of the fact that Sigrid Schultz was a courageous Jewish American patriot, whose actions helped defeat one of the greatest evils the world has ever known.