Photo courtesy Sveriges Centralförening för Idrottens Främjande Archive
|Scores from the 1908 Summer Olympics in London|
Elsa didn't challenge Lili Kronberger for the World title in 1909. Instead, she opted to participate in a separate senior women's competition at the same event, in which she finished second to Vienna's Jenny Herz. We can only speculate as to why Elsa made this decision, but it may have had something to do with the fact was Kronberger was competing at her home rink. However, that same winter Elsa won the Championships Of Berlin and the Nordic Games, defeating Zsófia Méray-Horváth and Elna Montgomery in the latter. The following February when the World Championships for women were held in her home city, she again won the silver behind Kronberger and in 1911, she made history in her final competition by becoming Germany's first women's champion in Olmütz.
Retiring from competition, Elsa headed to Switzerland and became a skating instructor in both St. Moritz and Davos. It was there she met her husband Siegfield 'Fritz' Sander, who ran his family's business in Hannover. In 1913, Elsa and Fritz married and three years later, they had their only child, son Günter, during the Great War. They divorced in 1929. Elsa joined the Nazi Party in 1932 and found work as a librarian. When the Olympics were held in Garmisch-Partenkirchen in 1936, she was seated at a table with Adolf Hitler himself.
Elsa Rendschmidt skating with Felix Lochner in St. Moritz in 1912
Records graciously provided by Horst Seferens at the Stiftung Brandenburgische Gedenkstätten in Oranienburg, Germany indicate that Elsa's Jewish ex-husband Fritz was first detained in the Sachsenhausen concentration camp in Oranienburg on April 12, 1941 for being a 'race-mixer'. He never saw Elsa or his son again, dying in the concentration camp's infirmary on August 6, 1941 from an embolism caused by decompensated heart failure as a result of pneumonia. His death is recorded both in the memorial book of the German Federal Archive and "The Book Of The Dead" of the Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp 1936-1945. He was prisoner number "37384".
After the War, Elsa moved to the small German village of Volpriehausen (now incorporated in the city of Uslar) and only spoke about her skating career, even to family, when pushed. She lived out her days in that small resort village before moving into a nursing home in Celle, Niedersachsen, Germany in 1969 and passing away October 9 of that year.
Left: Elsa Rendschmidt. Right: Elsa and Max Rendschmidt. Photo courtesy Sveriges Centralförening för Idrottens Främjande Archive.
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