Saturday, October 25, 2014

Kurt Barle-A Speculation

Kurt Barle wrote one story for Weird Tales. Published in the February 1935 issue, "Anything Could Happen" was his only story in the field of fantasy and science fiction. If it had been translated from the German, I might have a little more confidence in this speculation. Anyway, here it goes.

Curt (or Kurt) Schwabe-Barlewin was born on May 19, 1892, in Varel, near Oldenburg, Germany. On September 27, 1938, he and his family--wife Frieda and sons Arthur and Paul--sailed from Hamburg, Germany, on board the S.S. President Roosevelt. He gave his occupation as merchant and his race or people as Hebrew. The family arrived in New York on October 9, 1938. While the Schwabe family was en route to the United States, Nazi Germany began its occupation of the Sudetenland. Only a month later, on November 9-10, 1938, came Kristallnacht, the Night of Broken Glass. Curt Schwabe had made previous trips to America in March 1926, September 1930, and June 1937. He had also previously traveled to Argentina and Canada. In 1938, he apparently came to stay.

In the 1940 census, the Schwabe family was enumerated in Watsonville, California. Curt was then the proprietor of a lunchroom. When he filled out his draft card during World War II, he was unemployed and gave an address in Santa Cruz. That city would remain his place of residence for the next couple of decades. Curt Schwabe died on August 13, 1971, in Los Angeles city or county.

The 1940 census is useful for giving, for those enumerated, their place of residence in 1935. Curt Schwabe gave his place of residence in 1935 as Varel, the city of his birth. (In 1934, he was listed in a local directory as a milliner.) In February 1935, "Anything Can Happen" by Kurt Barle was published in Weird Tales. Presumably Curt (or Kurt) Schwabe-Barlewin was then in Germany. If he was the author, perhaps the story was translated. But if he was a well-traveled merchant who had made trips to South and North American, perhaps he knew English well enough to write a story. In any case, that is my speculation and the best that I can do considering there isn't any Kurt Barle in the United States census.

Copyright 2014 Terence E. Hanley

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