Sunday, October 14, 2012
Helene Mayer and Arthur "Art" Lane
Art Lane came back home from the war (note his army uniform pants and shoes), and stopped by Hans Halberstadt's club in the Marina District in San Francisco. Helene Mayer, like Halberstadt, was also from Offenbach am Main, had settled in the Bay Area after Hitler had taken over and was a regular visitor to Halberstadt's place. Art maintains that Halberstadt, an officer who survived four years of trench warfare, had passed on his fighting instincts and skills to the young Mayer. Incidentally, on the wall top center is some type of Wilhelminian portrait: Halberstadt felt that his fencing space was a vestige of Imperial Germany and was nostalgic for the nation that had awarded him the Iron Cross. In Halberstadt's mind, the old era of Bismarck and the Kaiser had nothing to with the Germany that had tossed him into Dachau. For reasons never fully explained, Helene Mayer, who by the standards of the Nuremberg Laws was Jewish, fenced for the Nazis in the Berlin, 1936 Olympics and returned to the U.S. After the war, Mayer went back to Germany and died there in 1952. Halberstadt preferred to stay in San Francisco where died in 1965. Halberstadt taught fencing and ran a fencing supply business that evolved into American Fencers Supply. Although Halberstadt lived under considerably reduced, one could even say impoverished, circumstances compared to his pre-war life, Halberstadt decided that he could maintain his fencing lifestyle by staying single, living in his club, and making use of the plum tree in the back. Art Lane eventually retired from fencing in 2008 and lived in Berkeley until he died in 2015.