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Facts and Events
What a character Paul Max Wilhelm Schröder must have been. Born on the 27th of July, 1861 in Berlin, Germany, his childhood seems to have been difficult and painful. He was born into a family with 11 children, but at most 5 of these survived childhood, leaving Paul Max Wilhelm the only son in the family. Soon after the death of his younger brother, Max Richard Georg, 5 days after birth, his mother appears to have passed away. His widower father, Carl Ludwig Schröder, passed away on 9 July 1874, aged 65 or 66, when Paul Max Wilhelm was only 12 years old. We don't know what happened after that. Perhaps his eldest sister, Auguste Marie, aged 21 at that time, would have taken care of young Paul Max Wilhelm. Or perhaps the children were taken care of by relatives. We don't know what happened, but that his childhood was filled with loss and difficulty is clear.
When we encounter him again on 28 May 1891 when, at the age of 29, he marries Johanna Cornelia Wijnberge in Amsterdam, the birth place of Johanna Cornelia. But they don't stay in Amsterdam for long. Within 15 months they are in London, where he is a 31 year old manager of a billiard room in London, England and where, on 7 August, 1892, Johanna Cornelia gives birth to twins, a boy and girl, in their residence on 32 Oxford Street, just around the corner from Tottenham Court Underground Station in Marylebone, London, England.
It appears that they left London soon after the birth of the twins, as their names do not appear in the 1892 census. It appears plausible that they left London in late 1892 for Vlissingen (Flushing), Zeeland, the Netherlands, where he works at the bar (kastelein) in the Municipal Bathhouse and lives at Grondgebied M 13 in 1898. In 1903, he moves to the Badhuisstraat 135 and opens his own coffee house on the Noordzeeboulevard 35. Then, in 1909, he builds and opens the Strandhotel on the Boulevard Evertse 6 and moves there with his family. In the years to come, the Strandhotel is to become one of the leading hotels in Vlissingen, as the attached pictures and newspaper clippings confirm. Listen here to a 1918 recording of the song Uncle Sammy by the German-American composer wikipedia:Abe Holzmann that was the opening song of the last summer concert of 1910 in the Strandhotel.
I have also seen pictures of Paul and his family in a car in the 1910's, indicating Paul's financial success as a hotel owner, or indicating that he somehow came into money in another way.
Paul is still alive when his son Herman marries in 1917, but passes away on the 19th of April, 1919 in Vlissingen at the age of 57 as a result of an infection caused by a shard of glass that cut his leg in the process of cleaning up the glass damage following a severe storm. This, according to my grandmother, who was born six months after her grandfather passed away.
But what an interesting life he must have had: a German emigrant, who lived in London before settling in the Netherlands to found a leading hotel in one of Holland's main seaside resorts at the time. He probably didn't realize that the hotel he founded would continue to be run, first by his wife, and then by his daugher until the start of the second world war. In fact, the hotel continued to exist and function as a hotel until 1995, when it was destroyed in a fire. A modern apartment block now stands at the same site. Not bad for a German boy who lost more than half his siblings and both his parents by the age of 12.
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