by R.G. Waldeck, with an induction by Ernest L. Latham, Jr,
Las Vegas: Histria Books / Philadelphia: Casemate 2019. Pp. 390.
Map. $49.99. ISBN: 1592110088
Life on the Eve of Disaster
Rosie Goldschmidt Waldeck (1898-1982), had an adventurous life. Born into a prosperous German Jewish family, she was married several times, in the process becoming a Roman Catholic and a German countess later dropping “von Waldeck” for “Waldeck” upon a divorce and acquisition of American citizenship. She ran through flocks of lovers, completed a doctorate in sociology at Heidelberg, and had numerous adventures.
During the interwar-period and on through Second World War and into the early years of the Cold War Waldeck was a journalist and an author of some note.
Waldeck arrived in Bucharest on June 14, 1940, the very day the Germans marched into Paris on the other side of Europe. She settled in settled in the posh Athene Place hotel, where she stayed for some 18 months. Athene Palace is her memoir of her time in Romania, during which the Russo-German alliance of 1939 began to slide toward war. It’s almost an Ian Fleming tale, populated by spies and counter spies, several flavors of fascists, salons and bistros, sophisticated dandies, decadent aristocrats and more. For some time the only American journalist in Romania, writing for Newsweek, Waldeck has a lot of observations about life in a country on the edge of joining the Axis and comments on some of the leading political figures of the day, many of whom she knew personally.
Athene Palace is a rousing tale, and Dr. Latham’s introduction provides a good deal of useful information about Waldeck’s life and adventures, though the lack of illustrations is unfortunate.
Note: Athene Palace is also available in hard cover and several e-editions.
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