My mother, Rose

In my book (promo video here), I describe in significant detail my mother, Rose, the difficulties she endured in her life, how she tried to overcome them, and how what happened to her ultimately ended up affecting me. She was, in her own right, a remarkable woman. But like me, there were things that she experienced in childhood, largely at the hands of Nazis and their Austrian supporters, that affected the rest of her life.

Unlike my father, she kept a detailed record of her life, in pictures and documents. After she passed away in 1997 (I was her caregiver since early 1994), I compiled these pictures into several tribute booklets, which were handed out to attendees of her funeral, who were unable to see her in the last few years of her life.

Here, then, is a multimedia tribute to her, from her earliest days, to indications of what she endured in Vienna, and the rest of her life.

The beginnings of the Cramer family:
Bernard and Sara marry in 1918, and celebrate the birth of their first child a year later

Left: Bernard and Sara’s wedding, 1918; Right: Birth of Rose’s brother, Adolf, in 1919 (she would be born 3 years later)

1928: Rose at 6 years old, with brother Adolf:


Rose at age 12

September 5, 1934:

From left: Older brother Adolf, mother Sara, Rose, Aunt Eva, father Bernard.

Rose graduates from junior business college at age 16

This was Rose’s final report card from the business high school she attended in Vienna, Austria, issued on July 2, 1938, shortly after her 16th birthday (May 31, 1922).  It shows that she passed all of her classes with a rating of “sehr gut,” which in English means “very good”; in America, this would translate into a perfect-A report card.  The note to the right says that she “successfully finished the classes with Excellence.”  She was very proud of this:

By the fall of 1938, the Nazis were no longer allowing Jewish children to attend schools in Austria, so Rose took whatever odd jobs she could, to help her family.

November 9-10, 1938: Kristallnacht (the Night of Broken Glass)

Anti-Semitic hate had been percolating in Austria for a long time, but it took the Nazi takeover in March 1938 to bring it to a full boil. And on November 9-10, it boiled over – in Vienna, and throughout Germany and Austria, in an orgy of violence and terror now known as “Kristallnacht.”

An introductory video, for those who are unfamiliar with it:


And here is a video interview with Vienna “Kristallnacht” eyewitness Hedi Pope:


11 weeks after Kristallnacht, Rose’s parents obtain a Nazi-approved exit visa for her to leave Austria, and go to America

Her parents apparently sensed (or learned) what was coming next: the Nazis were going to stop all Jewish children from being able to leave Austria.  Thus began their struggle to obtain from the Nazis an exit visa for her and her older brother, Adolf. I don’t think she ever learned all they had to go through to get it, but they were successful.

Below is her visa, stamped by the Nazis on January 30, 1939. It is my understanding that she left Austria days later – and that that was the last time she saw her family and loved ones alive.

On the right page is the Nazis’ description of her:

Occupation: Student
Place of Birth: Vienna
Date of Birth: May 31, 1922
Place of living: Vienna
Size or Body form: Normal
Face: Oval
Eyes: Blue
Hair: Blond
Special Marks: None

An interesting historical note: The Nazis insisted that all photos of Jews be taken with their heads on an angle, so they could see their ears.  The reason was that while people’s looks may change over time, their ears do not – they are as distinctive as one’s fingerprints.  So, even if one was able to obtain some form of face-altering surgery to disguise one’s identity, apparently such surgery was not possible, at that time, on one’s ears.

Rose’s arrival in America – and her continuation of her already-completed high school career

Upon arriving in America, she apparently decided it was time to get a makeover of sorts… and here was the result:

Rose attempted to use her business high school diploma to begin college after arriving in America.  The authorities, however, told her that before she could attend college, she’d have to obtain a high school diploma in America.  So, she spent the next two years at John Marshall High School in Chicago, from which she was awarded her diploma on January 31, 1941:


The last correspondence Rose received from her parents – May 1940

Rose’s mother, Sara, sent this picture to her in April 1940.  She wrote on the back, “My Dear Rose: I congratulate you on your 18th birthday – and wish you a lot of luck.  Hope to see you soon again.  From your loving mother, Sara.” 

After this, all of Rose’s letters to her parents were returned as “Undeliverable – Return to Sender.”

Rose’s June 26, 1940 postcard to her father is returned as undeliverable

As seen on the postmark, Rose mailed this post card to her father on June 26, 1940:

The red text on an angle through the address reads, “Return to Sender.”

Here is what she wrote:


Dear Pa:

Joyfully we heard from Ma, that she received mail from you.  We are doing good, we are healthy and well.  Some time ago we sent a letter to you, which you apparently didn’t receive.  I heard that the Rumanian contingent (quota) will be opened.  Hopefully this is true.  Adolf got a good job in a hotel as a house-upholsterer, and I still go to school.  With the uncles in New York I stay in correspondence and perhaps Uncle Al will visit this summer.  Adolf sent $10 to you and I hope you received it.

Please answer immediately, how you are doing etc., are you working?  How are your parents in Rumania doing?  Have you heard from them?

Many kind regards and kisses from Rosi.


Rose never heard from her parents again.


For anyone reading this who is unfamiliar with what happened in Austria between 1938 and the early 1940s, and during the Holocaust in general, here is a good video primer – in rare color footage:


Enjoying her new life in Chicago, 1943

Of all the great Chicago restaurant-nightclubs, the Chez Paree was reportedly in the top tier of quality and elegance (photo-file here).  This photo of Rose, her uncle Jacob and her brother, Adolf was taken in April 1943 at the Chez Paree (note the emblem on the chair back at the bottom):

This photo is notable for one reason: Like others who lived through the Great Depression, Uncle Jacob was very frugal; he never spent much money on himself in any way.  He lived very simply; he was an auto muffler repairman throughout his career.  The only thing he spent money on was his clothes, and going out dancing on the weekends.  So to see a picture of him with his niece and nephew at one of the swankiest clubs in Chicago, frequented by Louis Armstrong, Frank Sinatra and other giants of the day, is quite remarkable.

Rose at 25

These are some excerpt pages from the pictorial tribute booklet I compiled in preparation for her funeral (described near the bottom of this page). They depict her life in America at about this time.

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June 1962: Rose marries Frank Sutz

As I describe in my book, and on this page (to a very little extent), this was a marriage that should never have happened, and could only result in disaster.   It was a pure marriage of convenience – so Rose could finally have a child, and Frank could acquire a wife to raise his two sons from a previous marriage, at that time ages 7 and 8.


April 1964: Rose has her baby – Me



My father’s notes at the bottom of the pictures, discussing how, when he’s at work and tells me to give him a hug, I hug the phone – and how the vacuum cleaner is my “car”:


To learn more about what happened to this little boy, see this page; the book will cover what happened, in detail.


1977: My Bar Mitzvah


1982: My vacation with Mom

This was taken on the deck of her condominium building in Ft. Lauderdale:


Mom’s work with Hadassah

From as far back as I can remember, Mom worked to help support Israel and related causes. In the latter part of her life, this work was almost exclusively focused on Hadassah, the women’s group that raises money for and supports health and educational initiatives.

This first item is an address she gave on her observations of the resurgence of anti-Semitism. Until 2006, my only direct exposure to this acidic phenomenon for a short time during my tenure at a suburban Chicago high school. That year, however, certain events transpired that made me aware of how prevalent anti-Semitism was in the West, and how certain major “mainstream” information organizations were dedicated to spreading it. Since then, I have been diligently working to use my various creative and media skills to fight back, mostly behind the scenes. This work will become public in the coming years, as I unveil a new project I designed to expose the most prominent Western anti-Semitic perpetrators.

Mom Hadassah letter January 1990

This document details Mom’s recollections of Kristallnacht (Night Of Broken Glass, above).

Mom 17Nov88 speech re Israel

This recognition, from Hadassah’s national board of her tenure as the Ft. Lauderdale chapter president for four years, was one of Mom’s prized possessions:



Excerpts from the pictorial tribute I constructed and distributed at Mom’s funeral, April 27, 1997

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October 1996: Rose begins chemotherapy

At my urging, Mom agreed to try to fight the cancer that had begun to spread through her bones, with chemotherapy.  Had I known then what I know now, I never would have urged her to do this.

I took this picture of her on the pool deck of her condo building, the morning of her first chemo session.

The cancer-fighting dynamic duo:


Autographed picture of Mom’s last favorite TV star, Wendie Malick

While acting as Mom’s in-home caregiver from 1994-97, I introduced her to one of my favorite TV shows, “Dream On,” a zany comedy that starred Brian Benben and Wendie Malick, who played a New York psychologist. Mom fell in love with Wendie. After Mom was diagnosed with terminal cancer in late 1996, I wrote this letter to HBO to ask if they could arrange for me to get an autographed picture by Ms. Malick. Beneath that is the personally autographed picture that arrived a few weeks later. Mom was delighted, and kept this picture atop her dresser.


Shortly before the end, February 1997:

This was our morning routine: I’d make her breakfast, help her into her wheelchair, then move her over to her desk, in front of the open window that let in the ocean air and sunshine, and the flowers that she loved having there.  Due to the chemo her hair had fallen out by now so she wore her “turban” as she called it.

Mom passed away suddenly as a result of a heart attack during her first blood transfusion, April 22, 2007. 

Needless to say, that was the single hardest day of my life.  Nine weeks earlier (Feb. 14, 2007), my father passed away, but he was 2,500 miles away, in Phoenix, AZ – and we had not spoken much since we had a falling out a year earlier.  So that was fairly distant to me.

This was up-close and personal.  No one I was very close to had ever died.  And I had never seen a dead body until I saw my mother’s in the hospital room, illuminated by a single candle.

As I later learned, a death in the family can serve as an impetus to bring people together – or to rip open festering wounds and resentments (whether legitimate or not), and set the stage for final conflicts.

As I describe in my book, in the days and weeks after her passing, I received a lot of warm wishes from friends and family who knew of how hard I worked to ensure Rose’s final years were comfortable.  But her brother and my oldest brother apparently decided that that would be a good time for them to go to war against me, uncorking all the pent-up disdain they had for me.  I disowned both as a result of that little stunt.