November 1939


Christmas greetings and Happy New Year from the United States! Let us hope that 2021 will be a much happier year worldwide and life can get back to normal.

In 1939, of course, the world’s nightmare was only just beginning, and though Switzerland was an oasis of peace amidst the turmoil in Europe, no one knew if that would continue to be the case.

I hope you enjoyed the last installment — Grand Duke Dmitri’s letter of 23 September, 1939, written to his sister in the US. In it we see just a hint of what life must have been like in Davos at that time, with sanatoria and hotels closing, men largely absent, and horses in short supply. The Davoser Blätter was on hiatus, so there were no published guest lists in September or October, but when publication resumed on 17 November, the newspaper picked up right where it had left off. The results are rather dramatic, as we will see, with an exodus unrivaled since the outbreak of the 1st World War, but there are plenty of familiar names on the new list, and — surprising as it may seem — there are also a large number of new arrivals.

In all, there were 72 guests (down from 96 at the end of August), representing 21 different countries. Meanwhile, if Davos had, overall, become a town without men, then the opposite was true at Schatzalp, where the balance was skewed in favor of the men (42 to 30). Only two bearers of noble titles remained (both of them barons), but, of course, in Grand Duke Dmitri the sanatorium had gained a royal resident. Professional titles were as abundant as ever, with seven doctors and one professor among the patients — more than ten percent of the total.

Germany, England, and Portugal remained the top three nationalities represented, in the same order as two-and-a-half months before:

  1. Germany 13
  2. England 12
  3. Portugal 10
  4. Ireland 7
  5. Belgium 5
  6. France 5
  7. Switzerland 3
  8. Czechoslovakia 2
  9. Holland 2
  10. Romania 2
  11. Brazil 1
  12. Dutch East Indies 1
  13. Finland 1
  14. Hungary 1
  15. India 1
  16. Iraq 1
  17. Italy 1
  18. Poland 1
  19. Russia 1
  20. Spain 1
  21. Yugoslavia 1

The sole Syrian guest had departed, but the overall number of nationalities had increased from 19 to 21 with the addition of one Brazilian, one Pole, and one Russian.

As always, a fair number of those departing were not patients themselves, but spouses or relatives who had come to spend some time with an ailing loved one. There were 34 departing guests in total, almost half of whom had either left with family members or left family members behind. The departure en masseof the de Carnide family — mother, father, daughter, and private nurse — did not reduce the number of Portuguese guests to a significant degree (and was, indeed, almost negated by the arrival of two newcomers from that land), but the de Carnides’ social prominence, as well as their status as one of the few intact families to reside together at Schatzalp for the duration of the patient’s stay, invests them with a certain historical interest, and so they will be the subject or our latest biographical sketch.

Here is the list of departures:

  1. Mlle Laurice Antaki, Syria
  2. Mme Maria Ernestina Infante da Camara Martins Pereira, Portugal
  3. Mons Spiro Valerianos, Romania
  4. Herr Dr G.Wallach, Germany
  5. Kumar S. Gupta, India
  6. Frl. B. Weiss, Switzerland
  7. Mr P. Cunningham, Ireland
  8. Mr S.L. Chaturvedi, Calcutta, India
  9. Mrs Cecily Drummond, England
  10. Mlle Comtessa Marie Cecil de Carnide and nurse Portugal
  11. Mons le Comte Jose de Carnide, Portugal
  12. Mme le Comtesse Tereza de Carnide, Portugal
  13. Mr Geoffroy Pittar, England
  14. Mlle Jeanne Opsomer, Holland
  15. Mrs G. Solomon, England
  16. Frl. Felicia Bohm, Yugoslavia
  17. Herr Dr. E. Kux, Germany
  18. Ew. Generaloberin Mussiliey, Schweiz
  19. Mr Nathaniel Hone, Ireland
  20. Mme Marquise de Benicarlo, Spain
  21. Mr Amar Kapur, India
  22. Mr Bawa Sunder Singh, India
  23. Mrs Devi Dinga Singh, India
  24. Frau Maria Bundy, Yugoslavia
  25. Mlle L. Achard, Switzerland
  26. Frl. Antonie Müller, Germany
  27. Mr Arthur Rawlins, England
  28. Herr Dr W. Mackh, Germany
  29. Frau Dr G. Mackh, Germany
  30. Mons Joao Mello Osorio, Portugal
  31. Frau Berta Helfer, Germany
  32. Mlle Marie Thérese de Vasconcellos, Portugal
  33. Mr A.S. Singh, India;
  34. Mr C. Chaturvedi, India

As for the arrivals, our old friend Baron Victor d’Hooghvorst is back after attending his son’s wedding, and Grand Duke Dmitri’s name appears on the list for the first time. The Baron, like Dmitri, most likely arrived in September, but the publication’s period of hiatus prevents us from knowing exactly when. Professor Eberman, meanwhile, has reappeared after coming and going since at least July 1938. Here is the list:

  1. Herr Kurt Scherber-Etrich, Germany
  1. S.A.I. Grand Duke Dmitri, Russia
  2. Mons Baron d’Hooghvorst, Belgium
  3. Miss Maria Aylward, Ireland
  4. Mme Socuna Fonseca, Portugal
  5. Herr Prof. Ludwig Eberman, Poland
  6. Mons le Dr. L. Calheiros Krus, Portugal
  7. Herr H. Kehrenberg, Germany
  8. Mrs Lottie Sourasky, England
  9. Frau L. Warsitz, Germany
  10. Mons Celso Condé de Oliveira, Brazil

The first order of business for the Davoser Blätter in its 17 November issue was, not surprisingly, to say a word about its hiatus of nearly three months. The German-language notification was short and practical:

Our readers will notice that the Davoser Blätter, which had ceased publication for some time at the outbreak of the war, has now reappeared in a new dress — what you might call its wartime uniform. The Davoser Blätter (with the Guest Lists) is the official organ of the Davos Tourist Office and provides continuous information on everything in Davos that may interest the visitor. Further information, which the reader does not find in the paper, can be obtained free of charge at any time from the Davos Tourist Office.

The English version was considerably more detailed:

Carrying On:

The last number of the Davos Courier appeared on August 25th. On August 28th, in view of the gathering war clouds, the Swiss Federal Council, the body corresponding to our Cabinet, decided to call out the Frontier Defence Forces, thus securing the frontiers and the Alpine passes against sudden attack. On September 1st the storm burst; Germany and Poland were at war, and the general mobilization of the Swiss Army was carried out on September 2nd and 3rd. From then on every able-bodied man between the ages of 20 and 60 was in uniform; work stopped everywhere, or was carried on by largely reduced staffs only under the greatest difficulties. At Davos the two type-setters and two apprentices left at the printing office succeeded in getting out the local daily regularly, the Courier, perforce, stopped altogether. Now it reappears under war conditions in a smaller form, and will, we hope, continue to appear fortnightly throughout the winter. It is carrying on, and Davos will carry on too.”

The latest census confirmed that the number of visitors and longterm guests had fallen. On 10 November 1938 there had been 2746 guests, and on the same date a year later there were 2323 Of those, 1355 were Swiss. The remaining 968 guests included 547 Germans, 167 Dutch, and 70 British men and women. It is hardly surprising that the large number of Dutch guests was not reflected in the Schatzalp census, given the existence of the Netherlands National Sanatorium. Conversely, the Portuguese community in Davos was largely centered at Schatzalp. And, of course, the ratio of German to English guests was much closer at Schatzalp than in the town overall, reflecting the sanatorium’s reputation as an anti-Nazi establishment.

As for the other hotels and sanatoriums in town, an announcement was made that “the Grand Hotel and Belvedere” would “definitely” be opening for the winter season, as would “the majority of other hotels, including the Palace and the Carlton”. Beyond that, “The Central Sports Hotel, Schweizerhof, Angleterre, Meierhof and Bellavista, being all the year-round houses, are already open, and the same applies to all the boarding houses”. Of the tuberculosis establishments, only Sanatorium Bernina issued a notice of closure (“for the time being”).

Many of these establishments, whether hotels or sanatoriums, were no longer willing to provide their guest lists for publication, the war making such information potentially sensitive. But Schatzalp had nothing to hide! And so, fortunately for us, it was one of the few houses that stuck to the old tradition.

The tourists who did come to Davos that winter could choose from “more than one hundred hotels of all categories, ranging from hotels for the wealthy bourgeoisie to small boarding houses”. They were, moreover, able to enjoy the full range of recreational sports — the public skating rinks and the Schatzalp-Strela ski lift were set to open on schedule at the end of November, followed by the ski schools, the curling rink, the hotel skating rinks, and the Schatzalp sled run at the beginning of December.

This did not mean, however, that nothing at all had changed. Readers were advised that the: “major international competitions, which are a tradition in Davos, have inevitably been canceled”. And: “Every single member of the Davos Ice Hockey Club of the age of 20 and upwards is on military service, but the club will be represented by junior players who are full of talent, which under other circumstances they would never have got the chance of displaying so early. The Spengler Cup Tournament will not be held, but efforts are being made to organize a smaller tournament to take its place in the week between Christmas and New Year”.

Did the Carnide family of Portugal have any interest in hockey or the other winter sports? We don’t know. The only information I was able to find about them came from online genealogical sites, so they remain something of a mystery, but I still think they merit a closer look. For one thing, they were fairly unique among the other Schatzalp residents as a family in which both parents resided with an ailing child for the full duration of her stay, beginning in May 1939.

The father, José Street de Arriaga e Cunha, 2nd Count de Carnide, was in his early fifties at the time, and would die as an octogenarian in 1961. We have no dates for the mother, Maria Teresa Van Zeller de Castro Pereira, Countess de Carnide, or, unfortunately, for the daughter, identified as Mlle Comtessa Marie Cecil de Carnide in the guest list. That Marie Cecil was the afflicted member of the family is confirmed by the fact that she was accompanied to Schatzalp by a private nurse. But here’s the strange thing — though her mother and father both have genealogical listings online, confirming their marriage and the fact that they shared a son, José Manuel Street de Arriaga e Cunha, Marie Cecil is not mentioned at all! Of course, such discrepancies are not uncommon, but one wonders if it indicates that Marie Cecil died young, perhaps succumbing to the disease that had brought her and her parents to Schatzalp. Such grave illness would explain why the latter two were willing to be parted from their teenage son for several months.

What we know about the family overall is that the first count, Guilherme Street de Arriaga Brum da Silveira e Cunha was a successful businessman and an influential presence at the Court of Carlos I (Braganza), who elevated him from viscount to count in 1890. Guilherme died in 1898, twelve years before Portugal became a republic in 1910. Wikipedia informs us that, once that event had occurred, “the nobility was officially disbanded and ennoblement was prohibited under the Portuguese Constitution. Notwithstanding, although the status of nobility has not been recognised in law since 1910, legitimate titles of nobility (those granted by a reigning monarch before the 5th October 1910) have been given legal recognition and protection”, and the family de Carnide undoubtedly retained its high social position, adding luster to the already glittering guest list at Schatzalp.

Sometime between the end of August and the the beginning of November 1939, the entire family departed from the sanatorium, making me wonder if poor Marie Cecil had died, but then, low and behold, they reappear on the Schatzalp guest list of 11 August 1940. What accounts for this sudden reappearance after nearly a year had gone by? The best guest would seem to be a relapse, since the private nurse again accompanied Marie Cecil. I do hope that more information emerges about the family in due course!

Marie Cecil may have been a child, a teenager, or a young adult at the time of her Schatzalp stay, so it’s impossible to guess what kind of things she liked, or what kind of activities she participated in when she was able, but I have no hesitation in suggesting that you, dear reader, order yourself a glass (or bottle) of fine old port and raise a toast to her, her parents, and the entire Portuguese community at Schatzalp, past, present, and future!

Best wishes to all of you in 2021!

Here is the guest list:

  1. Mme Andrée Ferrand, France
  1. Herr Doctor Walter Mackh, Germany
  2. Herr Erwin Geist, Germany
  3. Miss Doris W. Bartlett, England
  4. Mons le Dr Louis Baudrux, Belgium
  5. Mons Guy Lefort, France
  6. Mrs Emilie Francis, England
  7. Mr Bowa Dinga Singh, Lahore, India
  8. Mme C. Valerianos, Romania
  9. Miss C. Howell, England
  10. Herr Dr W. Zechnall, Germany
  11. Mme Mello Osorio, Portugal
  12. Herr Baron F. von Langenn, Germany
  13. Mrs Georgina Rawlins, England
  14. Mlle Marie E. Alvarez, Portugal
  15. Mr Martin McGrath, England
  16. Mlle Hélène Mathieu, France
  17. Mr Oswald Müller-Dubrow, Director, Ireland
  18. Mrs M.E. Müller-Dubrow, Ireland
  19. Frau Nada Paolovic, Yugoslavia
  20. Frl. Vlasta Navratil, Kolin, Czechoslovakia
  21. Herr Andreas Kammer, Hungary
  22. Mr George Foreman, England
  23. Mlle Z. Manolesco, Romania
  24. Mr M. Clenagham, Ireland
  25. Mme Josefa Murteira, Portugal
  26. Mons Joâo Sequeira Cantinho, Portugal
  27. Mr James Clarke, England
  28. Mr Mario Ferreira, Portugal
  29. Miss A.C. Rouse, Ireland
  30. Frau Petronella A. Kleinhoonte, Holland
  31. Frl. Eva-Brita Aminoff, Finland
  32. Mr Vincent Reynolds, Ireland
  33. Mons F. Gosset, France
  34. Mons Antonio Orfila, Spain
  35. Herr Heinrich Wepf, Switzerland
  36. Frl. Emmy Lion, Dutch East Indies
  37. Mons Dr Julio de Vasconcellos, Portugal
  38. Herr Hans Warsitz, Germany
  39. Mr George Bull, England
  40. Mr Hussein Kamil, Baghdad, Iraq
  41. Mons Fernando Madureira, Portugal
  42. Mr K. McFadden, Ireland
  43. Mons F. du Mesnil, France
  44. Mons Antonio Lopes de Fonseca, Portugal
  45. Mr John Kennagh, England
  46. Mlle Rosalia Termini, Italy
  47. Herr Dr. Hans Cornet, Germany
  48. Mlle G. Humbert, Switzerland
  49. Herr Dr. Jonkheer van Haeften, Holland
  50. Frau L. Bierman, Germany
  51. Mrs Ph. Monk, England
  52. Mr. Eric Monk, England
  53. Mons Andre Gilles, Belgium
  54. Mlle Francoise Lhonneux, Belgium
  55. Mme Gabrielle Lhonneux, Belgium
  56. Herr Egon von Brasseur, Germany
  57. Frl. Wilma Röllinger, Germany
  58. Herr Hynek Katz, Böhmen, Czechoslovakia
  59. Herr Max Brandeis, Switzerland
  60. Frl. Irmengard Wiemers, Germany
  61. Herr Kurt Scherber-Etrich, Germany
  62. S.A.I. Grand Duke Dmitri, Russia
  63. Mons Baron d’Hooghvorst, Belgium
  64. Miss Maria Aylward, Ireland
  65. Mme Socuna Fonseca, Portugal
  66. Herr Prof. Ludwig Eberman, Poland
  67. Mons le Dr. L. Calheiros Krus, Portugal
  68. Herr H. Kehrenberg, Germany
  69. Mrs Lottie Sourasky, England
  70. Frau L. Warsitz, Germany
  71. Mons Celso Condé de Oliveira, Brazil
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