Rita + Ralph Crane

Rita’s father RALPH CRANE fled the Third Reich “and found a home in New York, where he worked for the TIME / LIFE Magazine many years” (very successful, with many title-screen compositions). So Germany had lost many wonderful people in those awful racist times – and with him we have lost also his daughter, who now also has a camera as an everyday companion. I will never forget the history of her family once told to me, when they escaped from Hitler ‘s Germany to Switzerland: Crossing the border, the camera of them were teared by a German soldier. The protest of the mother reached somehow, that the soldier threw the apparatus to them on the other side of the border (standing on territory of Switzerland). Great! Nowadays the Crane descendants live in Mendocino – a land that has been sung with trivial lyrics in the 50s in German popular songs: Yes, to live in Mendocino is better than to stay in Germany …

Wandering through Rita Crane’s photo gallery I often encounter those rocks, rocks like lost by a giant (or GOD, who likes that); and then in my heart Paul Simon starts to sing (at youtube): Loves me like a ROCK
jam session by Paul Simon: (SHE loves me…) / the Dixie Hummingbirds: (HE, JESUS, loves me…) – and Stevie Wonder: “if I was a president…”


for to translate the German part into English I’ve added an html-code:
translate German to English

Ritas Vater RALPH CRANE floh aus dem “Dritten Reich” und fand eine Heimat in New York, wo er viele Jahre für das TIME / LIFE Magazin arbeitete (sehr erfolgreich, mit vielen Titelbild-Kompositionen); da hatte Deutschland einen wunderbaren Menschen verloren – und mit ihm müssen wir auch auf seine Tochter verzichten, die mittlerweile auch einen Fotoapparat zum alltäglichen Begleiter bei sich hat. Unvergessen ist mir, was sie aus der Geschichte ihrer Familie mir einst berichtete: bei der Flucht aus dem Hitler-Deutschland in die Schweiz wurden ihnen der Fotoapparat von einem deutschen Soldaten entrissen. Das Geschimpfe der Mutter erreichte irgendwie, dass der Soldat ihnen den Apparat wütend nachwarf. Na prima! Heutzutage leben Cranes Nachfahren in Mendocino – ein Landstrich, der mit trivialem Schmalz in den 50er Jahren in deutschen Schlagern besungen wurde; ja, statt in Deutschland lebt man besser in Mendocino …

About frizztext

writer, photographer, guitarist

13 responses to “Rita + Ralph Crane

  1. Pingback: Fathers – 53 « Flickr Comments

  2. Dear Dietmar,
    Very kind of you to mention my family in your blog. It’s true that when my father left Europe – in Spring of 1941 during a very dangerous time – from the train station in Geneva via occupied France, Spain, and the neutral port of Lisbon, the German soldier at the Swiss border checkpoint took his camera from him. My brave Swiss mother reminded the soldier courageously that they were still in Switzerland and he must return her husband’s property to him. And he did. I love that story about my mother.

    Ralph Crane’s talent bloomed in America. He worked for many publications including the New York Times newspaper, via a photo agency, and contributed to LIFE magazine for 36 years, first as a freelancer and later as a staff photographer. I am working to document his career which took him to places all over the world.

    When LIFE magazine stopped its publication in 1972, my parents repatriated to Europe – to my mother’s home town of Geneva. From there my father freelanced for the International Herald Tribune, Smithsonian, and many other publications, covering the meetings of the U.N. in Geneva, and continuing to travel, mostly in Europe. He also enjoyed being photo editor of Leer Jet Magazine, and was excited that he flew around the world on a Leer jet. He always enjoyed adventures!

    I’m the only family member to still live in California, from where I like to keep my father’s name alive. He taught me to see in a special way and I am very grateful.

    Thanks again for your tribute to him. Looking forward to seeing your other posts!


  3. dear RITA,
    thank you so much for supporting my first step towards your father’s biography
    with your correct details. Of course his daughter is only able to write exactly about what has happened in those decades.
    The result of my efforts sometimes is more fantasy than reality.
    Nevertheless I try to do my very best, to feature those great characters, who are the roots of our modern goals, the never ending inspiration for passion, messages, for what is important for life and what is not important.
    Maybe you have time to take a look at
    an homage to Vittorio Pandolfi, – and a little story about my personal roots of shooting photos …


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