Great Uncle Eduard Höber — Killed on his HoneymoonPosted: March 26, 2012
My grandfather Rudolf Höber loved his older brother Eduard dearly. While Rudolf was a scientist, Eduard (1871-1906) was a humanist and man of letters. He received his D.Phil. in comparative literature , and his dissertation on the German romantic poet Joseph von Eichendorff was published when Eduard was just 23. He made a career as a literary critic writing for the Berliner Tageblatt, one of the largest newspapers not just in Berlin but in all of Germany. While still a young man, Eduard was admired for his wit, intelligence and literary judgment, as well for the generous spirit that characterized his critical writing.
In his mid-30’s, Eduard fell in love with Helene Schwarz, a rising poet in the Berlin literary scene. He was deeply devoted to her, admiring her talent and sense. They were a good looking couple, well-suited to one another, and married on July 1, 1906.
Eduard had another passion besides literature, however: mountaineering. He had considerable experience climbing in the Alps, but this risky activity concerned his his new wife, who feared for his safety. When they married, Helene asked Eduard to give up climbing. Out of affection for her he agreed to do so — after one last climb.
Two months after their marriage, Eduard and Helene travelled to Italy on their honeymoon. Their trip included the rugged peaks of the Dolomite s in northeastern Italy, not far from the Austrian border. There, on the morning of September 3, 1906, Eduard embarked on his promised last climb. Leaving Helene behind, he joined a climbing party to tackle the daunting Tre Cime (in German, Drei Zinnen). In the middle of the climb, Eduard’s rope broke and he fell to his death.
Eduard’s funeral in Berlin was attended by a large mass of people, including artists, writers and most of Berlin’s substantial press corps. Helene was devastated, crushed by her profound loss. A book of her poems published a year later is filled with verses of longing for her lost husband. She did not remarry until years later. My grandfather, Rudolf, never forgot the lost brother he loved so much.