This photo was among a collection my mother brought home after my grandfather John Rudroff died. No one knew what the building was. When I was little I thought it was someone’s house. As I got older, I realized this building was probably not a private residence for anyone in my family — too massive. The handwriting on the back is hard to read but looks similar to that in letters written to us in later years by my great-aunt Maria Pauliana Forster, who was a nun in a nursing order her entire adult life. The inscription isn’t signed but it’s dated: 14 Nov. 1950.
Recently I was looking at it again in the hallway of a music education building (my 8-year-old and I were waiting for her music lesson to start). Under their particular brand of fluorescent lighting, for the first time I could make out some verrrrrry faint ballpoint pen markings on the surface of the photo. (Yes, on the surface of the photo. Note to preservationists: This was before I was born, OK?)
One part of the building (the part in the front) is marked “Krankenhaus” [hospital]; the other is marked “Alterhaus” [home for the aged]. Now I’m almost certain that this photo was sent by Maria Pauliana. (There is a chance it might have been sent by one of my other great-aunts, Anna, who was also a nun in the same order, but left when she was middle-aged. She might have still been a nun in 1950.)
As to where this hospital/nursing home was located, I’ve still got no idea, but at least now I know what it is.