History Podcasts

Emil Eichhorn

Emil Eichhorn

Emil Eichhorn was born in Chemnitz-Röhrsdorf on 9th October, 1863. Eichhorn became active in politics and became a member of the Social Democratic Party (SDP). He also wrote for socialist newspapers.

In 1893 Eichhorn became a full-time party official of the SDP. On the outbreak of the First World War, the SDP leader, Friedrich Ebert, ordered members in the Reichstag to support the war effort. Karl Liebknecht was the only member of the Reichstag who voted against Germany's participation in the war.

In April 1917 left-wing members of the Social Democratic Party formed the Independent Socialist Party. Members included Eichhorn, Kurt Eisner, Karl Kautsky, Rudolf Breitscheild, Julius Leber, Ernst Thälmann, Emil Eichhorn and Rudolf Hilferding.

In August 1918 Eichhorn became director of the Berlin office of ROSTA, the Soviet News Agency, as head of its Russian section. On 9th November, 1918, he was appointed head of the Police Department. As Rosa Levine pointed out: "A member of the Independent Socialist Party and a close friend of the late August Bebel, he enjoyed great popularity among revolutionary workers of all shades for his personal integrity and genuine devotion to the working class. His position was regarded as a bulwark against counter-revolutionary conspiracy and was a thorn in the flesh of the reactionary forces."

On 4th January, 1919, Friedrich Ebert, Germany's new chancellor, ordered the removal of Eichhorn, as head of the Police Department. Chris Harman, the author of The Lost Revolution (1982), has argued: "The Berlin workers greeted the news that Eichhorn had been dismissed with a huge wave of anger. They felt he was being dismissed for siding with them against the attacks of right wing officers and employers. Eichhorn responded by refusing to vacate police headquarters. He insisted that he had been appointed by the Berlin working class and could only be removed by them. He would accept a decision of the Berlin Executive of the Workers' and Soldiers' Councils, but no other."

Members of the Independent Socialist Party and the German Communist Party jointly called for a protest demonstration. They were joined by members of the Social Democratic Party who were outraged by the decision of their government to remove a trusted socialist. Eichhorn remained at his post under the protection of armed workers who took up quarters in the building. A leaflet was distributed which spelt out what was at stake: "The Ebert-Scheidemann government intends, not only to get rid of the last representative of the revolutionary Berlin workers, but to establish a regime of coercion against the revolutionary workers. The blow which is aimed at the Berlin police chief will affect the whole German proletariat and the revolution."

One of the organisers of the protests, Paul Levi, argued: "The members of the leadership were unanimous: a government of the proletariat would not last more than a fortnight... It was necessary to avoid all slogans that might lead to the overthrow of the government at this point. Our slogan had to be precise in the following sense: lifting of the dismissal of Eichhorn, disarming of the counter-revolutionary troops, arming of the proletariat. None of these slogans implied an overthrow of the government."

Friedrich Ebert, Germany's new chancellor, called in the German Army and the Freikorps to bring an end to the rebellion. By 13th January, 1919 the rebellion had been crushed and most of its leaders were arrested. This included Rosa Luxemburg, Karl Liebknecht and Wilhelm Pieck on 16th January. Paul Frölich, the author of Rosa Luxemburg: Her Life and Work (1940) has explained what happened next: "A short while after Liebknecht had been taken away, Rosa Luxemburg was led out of the hotel by a First Lieutenant Vogel. Awaiting her before the door was Runge, who had received an order from First Lieutenants Vogel and Pflugk-Hartung to strike her to the ground. With two blows of his rifle-butt he smashed her skull. Her almost lifeless body was flung into a waiting car, and several officers jumped in. One of them struck Rosa on the head with a revolver-butt, and First Lieutenant Vogel finished her off with a shot in the head. The corpse was then driven to the Tiergarten and, on Vogel's orders, thrown from the Liechtenstein Bridge into the Landwehr Canal, where it was not washed up until 31 May 1919."

Eichhorn later commented: "The Berlin proletariat was sacrificed to the carefully calculated and artfully executed provocation of the government of the day. The government sought the opportunity to deal the revolution its death blow... Although to some extent armed, the proletariat was in no way equipped for serious fighting; it fell into the trap of the pacification negotiations and allowed its strength, time and revolutionary fervour to be destroyed. In the meantime, the government, having at its disposal all the resources of the state, could prepare for its final subjugation."

After the suppression of the Spartacus Uprising, Eichhorn went into hiding. In 1920 he joined the German Communist Party but remained a supporter of the theories of Rosa Luxemburg and this brought him into conflict with Vladimir Lenin and Leon Trotsky. In 1921 Paul Levi resigned as chairman of the KPD over policy differences. Later that year, Lenin and Trotsky, demanded that he should be expelled from the party. Eichhorn resigned along with Levi.

Emil Eichhorn died in Berlin on 26th July, 1925.

A member of the Independent Socialist Party and a close friend of the late August Bebel, he (Emil Eichhorn) enjoyed great popularity among revolutionary workers of all shades for his personal integrity and genuine devotion to the working class. His position was regarded as a bulwark against counter-revolutionary conspiracy and was a thorn in the flesh of the reactionary forces.

The Berlin workers greeted the news that Eichhorn had been dismissed with a huge wave of anger. He would accept a decision of the Berlin Executive of the Workers' and Soldiers' Councils, but no other.

Emil Gottfried Hermann von Eichhorn, 1848-1918

Hermann von Eichhorn was a German general who had the misfortune to become the most senior German killed during the First World War. He was born in Breslau in 1848 into an aristocratic Prussian family. He joined the Prussian Foot Guards in 1866 and fought in that year's Austro-Prussian war and the Franco-Prussian War of 1870-71.

Over the next forty years he rose through the ranks, reaching major general in 1883, lieutenant general in 1901, general of infantry in 1905 and colonel general in 1913. In 1904 he was appointed to command the XVIII Army Corps at Frankfurt. In 1912 he became inspector general of the VII Army Inspectorate and by 1914 he was the officer nominated to command the Fifth Army if war broke out.

At the start of the First World War, Eichhorn was out of action after suffering a serious injury while horse riding. He was unable to return to action until 26 January 1915, missing the critical early campaigns of the war. He took part in the battle of Soissons, and was then posted to the eastern front to command a new Tenth Army.

Eichhorn was almost immediately thrown into a major battle. His tenth army formed the left wing of the German army for the second battle of the Masurian Lakes (7-21 February 1915). Its role was to swing around behind the Russian Tenth Army, trapping it against the German Eighth Army of Otto von Below. Eichhorn&rsquos attack began on 8 February. By 12 February his army had advanced fifty miles, had turned to its right and was advancing behind the Russians. Only a determined Russian rearguard action prevented the total success of the German plan. Even so, the Russians suffered 200,000 casualties and lost their entire XX corps.

Although the focus of attention on the eastern front soon moved south, especially after the battle of Gorlice-Tarnow (2-10 May 1915), fighting continued on the Baltic front. In August 1915 Eichhorn captured the Russian fortress at Kovno, winning the Pour le Mérite. In September he captured Vilna, and then held it against Russian counterattacks in March-April 1916, winning the Oakleaves to his Pour le Mérite.

On 30 July 1916 Eichhorn&rsquos command was expanded to include the Eighth Army, creating Army Group Eichhorn and giving him command of all German troops in Courland and Lithuania. His army group launched a successful offensive in October 1917, taking Riga and capturing the Baltic islands of Ösel, Moon and Dagö. In December he was rewarded with a promotion to field marshal.

The Bolshevik revolution ended the serious fighting on the eastern front. It also led to a series of independence movements in parts of the Russian Empire. Late in 1917 the Ukrainian Rada (Parliament) declared independence. Germany recognised the new state on 30 December, while the Bolsheviks sent in troops in an attempt to regain control. On 9 February Germany and Austria signed a separate peace treaty with the Ukraine, and sent in troops to defend their new &ldquoally&rdquo. At the same time they invaded western Russia to force the Bolsheviks to make peace.

On 4 March Eichhorn was appointed to command the German occupation forces in western Russian and the Ukraine (a new Army Group Eichhorn). His main job was to extract as much grain as possible from the Ukraine to break the British blockade. He used a combination of bribery and violence to achieve this aim, aided by his able chief of staff General Wilhelm Groener. One of his victims was the Ukrainian &ldquorada&rdquo, soon dissolved by Eichhorn, who replaced it with a new Hetman, General Pavlo Skoropadsky. His methods made him increasingly unpopular in the Ukraine, and on 30 July he was murdered by a left wing social revolutionary who hoped to force the Bolsheviks to abandon their limited cooperation with the Germans. He was buried next to Alfred von Schlieffen in the Invaliedenfriedhof in Berlin.

Emil Eichhorn - History

Workers Vanguard No. 1060

A Correction to Our Militant Labour Pamphlet

The Police and the 1918-19 German Revolution

With the military defeat of Kaiser Wilhelm II&rsquos forces in November 1918, which ended World War I, the German capitalist order was deeply shaken. A revolutionary wave swept the country, triggered by a mutiny of sailors in Kiel, who sent emissaries around Germany rousing the working masses and calling on them to set up workers councils. The German proletariat drew inspiration from the example of the Russian October Revolution a year earlier, in which the working class, led by Lenin&rsquos Bolshevik party, took power, sweeping away the tsarist autocracy and the capitalist class.

The Kaiser&rsquos forced abdication, which was engineered by Prince Max of Baden to head off revolution, resulted in the reins of the government being entrusted to the Social Democratic Party (SPD), whose leaders had proved themselves outright class traitors through their ardent support of the German side in the imperialist war. With the outbreak of the November Revolution, society was precariously balanced between the nascent workers councils and the capitalist government headed by the Social Democrats. This situation of dual power posed sharply the issue of which class would rule: the workers or the bourgeoisie.

The SPD was given invaluable aid in its counterrevolutionary efforts by the Independent Social Democratic Party (USPD), which joined the SPD government the day after it took over. Dominated by centrists like Karl Kautsky who longed to reunite with the mother party, the USPD was the main political obstacle to proletarian revolution. In the absence of an authoritative communist party, it had the allegiance of tens of thousands of militant workers.

For courageously opposing the war, Spartacist leaders Karl Liebknecht, Rosa Luxemburg, Clara Zetkin, Leo Jogiches and Franz Mehring spent substantial time in the Kaiser&rsquos prisons. Although fiercely combating the SPD&rsquos wartime orgy of social patriotism, they lingered inside the Social Democracy. The Spartacists exited the SPD in 1917, only when they along with the centrists were pushed out. And even then the Spartacists embedded themselves in the USPD, not leaving to form the Communist Party (KPD) until the very end of December 1918.

Despite the great authority of Liebknecht and Luxemburg as revolutionary leaders, the KPD was unknown to the working masses when street fighting broke out a few days after its founding. The party had a total of at most a few thousand members, who were centered in Berlin with small, virtually autonomous groups scattered across the country. A revolutionary leadership is forged, tested and honed through intervention in struggle. Lacking such experience, the young KPD was faced with the daunting task of cohering an organization while simultaneously navigating a revolutionary situation. (For historical background and documents, see John Riddell, ed., The German Revolution and the Debate on Soviet Power [Anchor Foundation, 1986].)

After the SPD took the helm of the government, Emil Eichhorn, a member of the left wing of the USPD, became the Berlin chief of police, acting on the false view that this arm of the bourgeois state could be transformed into a revolutionary instrument. On 4 January 1919, the Prussian Ministry of the Interior dismissed Eichhorn in a deliberate provocation. A January 5 edition of the KPD paper, Die Rote Fahne, called for a protest for the following day against Eichhorn&rsquos sacking. The statement was also signed by the USPD and the Revolutionary Shop Stewards (RSS), a group of radical trade unionists based in the factories that was politically associated with the USPD.

The response was overwhelming. Hundreds of thousands of angry workers, many armed, flooded the center of Berlin, burning for action. But no one took command. That evening, representatives of the USPD, RSS and KPD, intoxicated by the outpouring and counting on support from some troop regiments and sailors, issued a proclamation. It announced that the SPD government of Friedrich Ebert and Philipp Scheidemann was deposed and that power was provisionally in the hands of a &ldquoRevolutionary Committee&rdquo (RC) consisting of representatives of all three groups, among them Liebknecht.

The next morning, the workers again stormed into the streets, expecting to be led into battle. But again there was no leadership. The anticipated troops did not materialize to bolster their ranks. The masses embarked on spontaneous street fighting and armed occupations, including of the offices of Vorwärts , newspaper of the despised SPD.

In reality, the USPD&mdashwhich had only quit the government after the SPD launched a bloody assault on the leftist sailors of the People&rsquos Naval Division on December 24&mdashhad no intention of overthrowing the regime of its recent collaborators. Pathetically, the majority of the RC voted to negotiate with the same SPD government they had announced they were overthrowing two days earlier! The KPD rightly denounced this move, finally announcing its withdrawal from the RC on January 10.

But the government had been given precious time to organize a counteroffensive. SPD leader Gustav Noske was appointed commander-in-chief in the Berlin area. Declaring that &ldquoone of us must be the bloodhound,&rdquo Noske helped to prepare the Freikorps, fascistic volunteer battalions recruited by right-wing officers and financed by industrialists. The Freikorps, as well as a few regiments in the disintegrating army that remained loyal to the government, swept through the streets, smashing the insurgent workers and killing many of the best worker militants.

It didn&rsquot end there. A particular target was the KPD leadership. With a state of siege having been declared, Noske posted proclamations slandering the Spartacists as looters&mdashto be shot on sight. Vorwärts explicitly fingered Liebknecht and Luxemburg. On January 15, the Freikorps, acting at the behest of the SPD, murdered them. The assassination of Leo Jogiches followed several weeks later. By eliminating the best leaders of the KPD, the SPD delivered a crippling blow to the revolutionary workers movement in Germany. It also dashed immediate hopes, not least in the fragile Soviet workers state, of extending the Russian Revolution internationally.

In the 1994 Spartacist pamphlet Militant Labour&rsquos Touching Faith in the Capitalist State , we wrongly stated:

&ldquoEichhorn was not a bourgeois cop, and neither were the core of his forces. In a situation of revolutionary turmoil, Eichhorn and his militia sought to replace the existing bourgeois police force and regarded themselves as accountable to the workers councils and the left, not to the capitalist government.&rdquo

It may have been the delusion of Eichhorn (and the workers) that he could simply &ldquoreplace the existing bourgeois police force,&rdquo but we do not share this view. It contradicts the entire thrust of our pamphlet, which refutes the falsehood purveyed by reformist socialists then and now (among them successors of the Militant tendency&mdashPeter Taaffe&rsquos Committee for a Workers&rsquo International and Ted Grant&rsquos Workers International League) that cops are &ldquoworkers in uniform.&rdquo The socialist pretenders sometimes cite the Eichhorn affair to emphasize their point.

The reality proves the very opposite. Many of the Kaiser&rsquos police dropped their weapons and fled when Eichhorn took over, but the majority returned to work after Eichhorn appealed to them to do so. He did recruit a couple thousand &ldquosocialist&rdquo cops in late December to a new security guard (the Sicherheitswehr ) assigned to patrol the streets alongside the old police. But the Sicherheitswehr abandoned Eichhorn in the midst of the tumultuous battles over his dismissal, having been bribed with promises of monetary reward and fearing the prospect of a face-off with pro-government army troops (see Hsi-huey Liang, The Berlin Police Force in the Weimar Republic [University of California, 1970]).

The history of Eichhorn&rsquos police highlights Leon Trotsky&rsquos assessment in What Next? (1932) that &ldquothe worker who becomes a policeman in the service of the capitalist state, is a bourgeois cop, not a worker.&rdquo Trotsky continued: &ldquoEvery policeman knows that though governments may change, the police remain,&rdquo which perfectly describes the 1918-19 events in Berlin.

Last December, the ICL&rsquos International Executive Committee voted to correct the error in the pamphlet, noting:

&ldquoThe Spartacists&rsquo break with the Social Democracy had been partial, notably on the question of the state, as shown by their continued defense of Eichhorn as police president. We would not have called for Eichhorn&rsquos reinstatement. We would have defended the workers in the fleeting uprising in January 1919 against the SPD drive to crush the workers and soldiers councils and disarm the proletariat, while fighting to win the workers to the understanding that the capitalist state is an instrument of bourgeois repression that must be smashed.&rdquo

On 4 January 1919, the KPD&rsquos Die Rote Fahne wrote: &ldquoThe police force was trying to be a revolutionary police force, rather than actively or passively serving the counterrevolution,&rdquo thus reinforcing in the working class the widespread misconception that Eichhorn and his cops could be the guarantors of the revolution. This is wrong. What should have been said was that in a capitalist government run by the SPD at the behest of counterrevolution, the police force had to serve counterrevolution.

The German Spartacists had the duty to defend the masses who took to the streets to protest Eichhorn&rsquos ouster. At the same time, the outpouring indicated that the workers regarded a USPD police chief as a gain of the Revolution. If one could simply take over the existing organs of the bourgeois state, then there is no reason for the workers to forge their own insurrectionary force, a workers militia, to sweep away that state.

This fatal illusion helped determine the course of events in January 1919. The workers, many of whom were armed, were not organized to struggle for power. Once this became evident, even the military units most sympathetic to the Revolution, such as the People&rsquos Naval Division, vacillated. The door was opened for the counterrevolution to go on the offensive.

As V.I. Lenin explained in The State and Revolution (1917), the state is &ldquoan organ of class rule, an organ for the oppression of one class by another.&rdquo Polemicizing against Kautsky in that work, he wrote: &ldquoIf the state is the product of the irreconcilability of class antagonisms. the liberation of the oppressed class is impossible not only without a violent revolution, but also without the destruction of the apparatus of state power which was created by the ruling class.&rdquo Although the Spartacists were well acquainted with Lenin&rsquos book, they had not yet sloughed off all the old social-democratic baggage when they came face-to-face with revolution.

Eichhorn&rsquos &ldquosocialist&rdquo police force had zero connection to socialism because the working class had not seized power, instituted a workers government and smashed the capitalist state. Under capitalism, police cannot be &ldquoreformed&rdquo nor can citizens &ldquopolice&rdquo them to make them act in the interests of the exploited and oppressed. Along with the courts and the prisons, the cops have a job to do&mdashto protect and defend private property and the capitalist system itself.

For Revolutionary Leadership

Although the January workers insurrection is dubbed the &ldquoSpartakist Uprising,&rdquo the KPD neither anticipated nor led it. Rather, the new party was swept up in the mass revolt. Liebknecht in particular got caught up in the dithering USPD-controlled Revolutionary Committee. One version of events has it that when he returned from the meeting where the proclamation &ldquodeposing&rdquo the government was signed, Luxemburg reproached him: &ldquoKarl, is that our program?&rdquo

Over the years, socialists had deeply adapted to the strictures of the state under the Kaiser. For example, a law passed in 1853 required all political meetings to have in attendance a police agent, who could terminate the meeting at will. The socialists accommodated to it, changing their language and their work to suit the law. While any organization would have to take into account the law, part of the necessary response was to create an underground organization, which the SPD and its direct predecessors failed to do.

In contrast, the Bolsheviks had developed their faction of the Russian Social Democratic Labor Party separately from the reformist Mensheviks. By 1917, the Bolsheviks had through years of struggle forged a programmatically and organizationally cohesive cadre, as well as their own underground apparatus. Within a few weeks of the outbreak of the war, Lenin had resolved to split with the social-democratic Second International and to fight for a new, revolutionary international.

The Spartacists fought against the war on an internationalist basis, but their failure to appreciate the yawning gulf between revolution and opportunism meant they remained within the Social Democracy. As Lenin later put it in &ldquoA Letter to German Communists&rdquo (August 1921): &ldquoWhen the crisis broke out, however, the German workers lacked a genuine revolutionary party, owing to the fact that the split was brought about too late, and owing to the burden of the accursed tradition of &lsquounity&rsquo with capital&rsquos corrupt (the Scheidemanns, Legiens, Davids and Co.) and spineless (the Kautskys, Hilferdings and Co.) gang of lackeys.&rdquo

From the first days of the November Revolution, the SPD vilified &ldquoSpartacus,&rdquo picturing them in Vorwärts as rapists and arsonists and Luxemburg as a wild, bloodthirsty beast. But despite the tightening of the noose, Luxemburg, Liebknecht and Jogiches remained in Berlin. Still holding that the necessary organization and consciousness would spring from the masses themselves and failing to appreciate the indispensability of leadership, they did not get out of the line of fire when they had the chance. This was very different from Lenin, who retreated to Finland when counterrevolutionary forces temporarily gained the ascendancy in Russia in July 1917.

Germany in 1918-19 cried out for a steeled revolutionary party like the Bolsheviks, one based on the absolute independence of the working class from the capitalist state. When the workers rise up in revolutionary struggle against capitalist rule, they must have their own bodies of self-defense and their own organs of rule, under the leadership of communists. In the heat of events, the KPD leadership was moving closer to this Leninist understanding, but too late. The bloody tragedy in January 1919 underscores the danger of placing confidence in the possibility of taking hold of the bourgeois state to advance working-class interests, illusions that can prove fatal to revolution.

The article &ldquoThe Police and the 1918-19 German Revolution&rdquo ( WV No. 1060, 23 January) identified the Committee for a Workers&rsquo International (CWI) and the Workers International League (WIL) as successors of the British Militant tendency. In fact, following the 1992 split in the Militant tendency, the minority formed the International Marxist Tendency, of which the WIL is the U.S. section. The majority retained CWI as the name of its international. (From WV No. 1062, 20 February 2015.)

In the article &ldquoThe Police and the 1918-19 German Revolution&rdquo ( WV No. 1060, 23 January), we said: &ldquoOn 4 January 1919, the KPD&rsquos Die Rote Fahne wrote: &lsquoThe police force was trying to be a revolutionary police force, rather than actively or passively serving the counterrevolution,&rsquo thus reinforcing in the working class the widespread misconception that Eichhorn and his cops could be the guarantors of the revolution.&rdquo In fact, the issue of Die Rote Fahne quoted was dated 5 January 1919. (From WV No. 1071, 10 July 2015.)

The Treaty of Versailles

The discussions about the treaty between Britain, France and the USA began in January 1919. Germany was not invited to contribute to these discussions.

Under clause 231, the ‘War Guilt Clause’, Germany had to accept complete responsibility for the war. Germany lost 13% of its land and 12% of its population to the Allies. This land made up 48% of Germany’s iron production and a large proportion of its coal productions limiting its economic power.

The German Army was limited to 100,000 soldiers, and the navy was limited to 15,000 sailors. As financial compensation for the war, the Allies also demanded large amounts of money known as ‘reparations’.

The Treaty of Versailles was very unpopular in Germany and was viewed as extremely harsh. Faced with the revolutionary atmosphere at home, and shortages from the conditions of war, the German government reluctantly agreed to accept the terms with two exceptions. They did not accept admitting total responsibility for starting the war, and they did not accept that the former Kaiser should be put on trial.

The Allies rejected this proposal, and demanded that Germany accept all terms unconditionally or face returning to war.

The German government had no choice. Representatives of the new parties in power, the SPD and the Centre Party, Hermann Müller and Johannes Bell, signed the treaty on the 28 June 1919.

Many Germans were outraged by the Treaty of Versailles. They regarded it as a ‘diktat’ – dictated peace. Müller and Bell were branded the ‘November Criminals’ by the right-wing and nationalist parties that opposed treaty.

Shelter Island Profile: Mary Lou Eichhorn | Keeping a beloved institution thriving

Mary Lou Eichhorn at Cornucopia. (Credit: Ambrose Clancy)

It’s not quite a hidden jewel — there’s a sign out front — but it is a Shelter Island jewel many pass by without noticing.

Tucked back from West Neck Road next to and to the rear of Eagle Deli, a gravel driveway opens out to a spacious parking place for an Island institution, the Cornucopia Gift Shop. The dictionary describes the word as “an abundant supply of good things,” which sums up Mary Lou Eichhorn’s delightful shop, which she has owned and operated for 40 years in three different locations.

On a recent visit, chatting with Ms. Eichhorn, the door opened and Amy Cococcia entered. “You know what I want,” she smiled at the owner, heading straight to the front of the shop to a display of handcrafted candies. Picking out a package of Oreo-like cookies covered in white chocolate, she said, “They’re addictive, usually gone by the time I get to the car.” (The same, it can be reported, for the caramel/sea salt confections.)

She and Ms. Eichhorn spoke for a while, which is another feature of Cornucopia — a place to pass the time of day that, wherever your gaze lands, you discover beautiful things. The gift shop has everything from fine glassware engraved with the map of the Island to every kind of souvenir, jewelry, picture frames and albums, candles, wallets, purses, music boxes, games, puzzles, fine writing paper, greeting cards and — it’s no exaggeration — much more, including an extensive baby and children’s department.

Almost everything is handmade, including sewn and embroidered tea towels and potholders, all created by local artisans. And there’s free delivery on Shelter Island.

“I couldn’t survive without local artists,” Ms. Eichhorn said, and many of the latter would return the sentiment.


Her solid business sense and personal perseverance got Cornucopia through the worst months of the pandemic, and is now ready for a normal summer of visitors, she said.

In March of 2020, when all non-essential business were ordered to close, Ms. Eichhorn didn’t panic.

She began making calls to inform officials that she has been a notary since 1980, and customers were calling for her services. In addition, she began stocking hand-crafted masks made by her daughter, Joy — she’s sold more than 600 — and hand sanitizers. She was soon allowed to open Cornucopia and stayed open seven days a week.

Still, she noted, “Bills were hard to pay. I couldn’t have made it without my customers helping out with lunches — treats to say ‘thanks’ for staying open — and a customer with the gift of money to help pay the rent.”

Another customer, who works for the Small Business Administration, helped secure a $1,000 grant.

Several lives lived

Her working career didn’t start in retail. One of four sisters, she grew up in College Point, Queens and went to high school there. She married a few years after graduation in 1957, had two children, Tim and Joy, over the next three years, and moved with her family to Albertson in Nassau County where she then began work in real estate.

The real estate profession, as later becoming a shop owner, simply “fell into my lap,” she said. She and her husband Alexander bought their first home from a man who told them he was going to retire and asked if she’d be interested in filling his spot in the business.

“I said, ‘I know nothing,’ and he said, ‘It’s easy. You go to school, you get your license and that’s it.’ I told him my husband would never really let me work, and he said, ‘That will be fine, because you can take the children with you.’”

“We had a station wagon,” she added, “and they’d sit in the back and play games while I showed houses. So it was absolutely perfect.”

Ms. Eichhorn has never had to look for a job, and she’s always loved whatever work she did. “I always say the good Lord gave me the opportunities and I took them,” she said.

But Alexander was not so lucky. Within the next few years, he contracted Hodgkin’s lymphoma, perhaps the result of Korean war wounds that “had filled his chest with shrapnel,” Ms. Eichhorn said. At one point he was given six months to live. Alexander made it 10 years.

Although there were many extensive hospitalizations during those years, the “death sentence” was lifted. He died in 1975, when Ms. Eichhorn was 38, after 18 years of happy marriage.

A year and a half later, selling real estate in New Hyde Park, she sold a house to a widower with grown children. After the sale was final, he asked her if she’d like to go out to dinner. When she asked what made him think she was single — she was wearing a wedding ring — “He said, ‘My daughter and son think we’re in the same position. You just don’t want to take your ring off.’”

“And I said, ‘Your daughter and son are right. So we went out to dinner, had a few more dates and the rest is history.”

She married Jordan Eichhorn, her second husband, in 1978. He had two adult children, a son and daughter, four and six years older than Ms. Eichhorn’s. His children took over the house she had sold him and he moved in with her after they were married.

One year later, Jordan had a heart attack. Working in the printing business in lower Manhattan, he was advised to take some time before returning to his job. The couple thought they’d vacation on the Island, where Jordan had visited when his children both went to Camp Quinipet.

“When we stepped off the ferry, I said to him, ‘We’re meant to live here.’ He thought I was crazy.”

Staying at the Pridwin, on a rainy day, she wanted to look at real estate. It wasn’t long before they bought a house, and when the doctor advised Jordan against going back to work, they moved here year-round in January 1980.

And wondered what to do next.

They were in Mike Zavatto’s deli, where the Eagle Deli is now, when Ms. Eichhorn noticed that the two rooms in back, “really nice spaces,” were empty. She asked Mike why. His answer was, “Why don’t you put a shop there, Mary Lou?”

She thought of a gift shop right away. They went out the next day and had business cards made up. They visited gift shows and managed to get good advice. They opened the one-room gift shop that May. In October the small, thriving business needed more space and an archway was added into the second room.

Four and a half years later, retired city detective Matt Bonora bought the house next to the Tuck Shop and offered Ms. Eichhorn five rooms on the ground floor. She could see a wonderful arrangement. She and Jordan moved there with the shop and remained 10 years. When Matt became ill and wanted to sell the house, Ms. Eichhorn was heartbroken.

But almost immediately, she was offered her current location — a former tack shop for equestrians — beside the Eagle Deli, where she had begun so many years earlier.

“So the way opened up for us, and here I am and here I’ll stay,” she said.

She and Jordan had done some real estate work here on the Island, but she had no desire to continue after his death in 2002. She loves Cornucopia. Looking at Ms. Eichhorn’s life from the outside, it would be easy to see her as unlucky, especially after the death of her son Tim, 10 years ago.

But that’s not the way she sees it. Her view is quite the opposite. She feels blessed with two happy marriages, work that she loves, and family, including Jordan’s children, Lorraine and Andrew.

Tim and Jordan are buried here in the Presbyterian Church Cemetery. “I have eight grandchildren and eight great-granddaughters, from 3 to 22, and they’re so important to me,” she said. Many Islanders met Arianna, one of those great-granddaughters, who spent her first six months in a playpen in the shop while her mother was recovering from childbirth.

“I have such gratitude to all who cared so much to give a helping hand,” Ms. Eichhorn said. “I’ve truly been blessed to be here with Cornucopia and to be needed. This is a happy business. When people come in, they’re happy, they’re buying a gift for someone they love or celebrating something nice.”

Ambrose Clancy has been the editor of the Shelter Island Reporter since 2012. He’s worked as a staff reporter for The North Shore Sun, the Southampton Press and was associate editor of the Riverhead News-Review and an editor at Long Island Business News.

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Eichhorn Achievements & Celebrities

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Biography [ edit | edit source ]

Eichhorn was born in Breslau in the Province of Silesia. A veteran of the Austro-Prussian War Ώ] and the Franco-Prussian War, he had risen through the ranks of the Prussian Army, being appointed chief of the staff of the VI Army Corps at Breslau in 1897, Ώ] commanding the 9th Division from 1901 to 1904 and the XVIII Army Corps from 1904 to 1912. ΐ] In 1912 he took command of the 7th Army Inspection, the peacetime headquarters for the Imperial German XVI, XVIII, and XXI Army Corps. Α]

At the outbreak of World War I, Eichhorn was incapacitated in consequence of an accident, but was able to play a part in the Battle of Soissons. Ώ] He became the commanding general of the 10th Army on January 21, 1915, which he would command until March 5, 1918. Β] This Army engaged in the great battle of the Masurian Lakes in February 1915. In August, he took Kovno and afterwards the fortresses of Grodno and Olita, and continued his advance into Russia. Ώ] He received the Pour le Mérite on August 18, 1915 and the oakleaves to the Pour le Mérite on September 28, 1915. Γ] On July 30, 1916, while remaining in command of the 10th Army, Eichhorn became supreme commander of Army Group Eichhorn (Heeresgruppe Eichhorn) based around 10th Army, which he would command until March 31, 1918. Δ] On December 18, 1917 Eichhorn was promoted to Generalfeldmarschall. On April 3, 1918, Field Marshal von Eichhorn became supreme commander of Army Group Kiev (Heeresgruppe Kiew) and simultaneously military governor of Ukraine. Ε]

He was assassinated in Kiev on July 30, 1918 by Boris Mikhailovich Donskoy of Left Socialist-Revolutionaries. He is buried at the Invaliden Friedhof in Berlin.

Emil Nolde

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Emil Nolde, original name Emil Hansen, (born Aug. 7, 1867, Nolde, near Bocholt, Ger.—died April 15, 1956, Seebüll, near Niebüll, W.Ger.), German Expressionist painter, printmaker, and watercolourist known for his violent religious works and his foreboding landscapes.

Born of a peasant family, the youthful Nolde made his living as a wood-carver. He was able to study art formally only when some of his early works were reproduced and sold as postcards. In Paris Nolde began to paint works that bear a superficial affinity to Impressionistic painting. In 1906 he was invited to join Die Brücke, an association of Dresden-based Expressionist artists who admired his “storm of colour.” But Nolde, a solitary and intuitive painter, dissociated himself from that tightly knit group after a year and a half.

Fervently religious and racked by a sense of sin, Nolde created such works as Dance Around the Golden Calf (1910) and In the Port of Alexandria from the series depicting The Legend of St. Maria Aegyptica (1912), in which the erotic frenzy of the figures and the demonic, masklike faces are rendered with deliberately crude draftsmanship and dissonant colours. In the Doubting Thomas from the nine-part polyptych The Life of Christ (1911–12), the relief of Nolde’s own religious doubts may be seen in the quiet awe of St. Thomas as he is confronted with Jesus’ wounds. During 1913 and 1914 Nolde was a member of an ethnological expedition that reached the East Indies. There he was impressed with the power of unsophisticated belief, as is evident in his lithograph Dancer (1913).

Back in Europe, Nolde led an increasingly reclusive life on the Baltic coast of Germany. His almost mystical affinity for the brooding terrain led to such works as his Marsh Landscape (1916), in which the low horizon, dominated by dark clouds, creates a majestic sense of space. Landscapes done after 1916 were generally of a cooler tonality than his early works. But his masterful realizations of flowers retain the brilliant colours of his earlier works. He was a prolific graphic artist especially noted for the stark black-and-white effect that he employed in crudely incised woodcuts.

Nolde was an early advocate of Germany’s National Socialist Party, but, when the Nazis came to power, they declared his work “decadent” and forbade him to paint. After World War II he resumed painting but often merely reworked older themes. His last self-portrait (1947) retains his vigorous brushwork but reveals the disillusioned withdrawal of the artist in his 80th year.

This article was most recently revised and updated by Virginia Gorlinski, Associate Editor.

Six Years Later, Families Seek Closure In B-N Deaths

Life was hard for Haileigh Eichhorn in the month before she died.

The 26-year-old Bloomington woman was caught stealing soap, lip balm, and mascara from a Kroger. A week later police found her huffing compressed air in a Walmart bathroom. Nine days later, police stopped her after someone spotted her huffing outside a funeral home.

Eichhorn told police she was homeless, had no money, and that her life sucked.

“She was going through a bad time in her life,” said her mother, Penni Eichhorn.

Haileigh was last seen alive Sunday, April 28, 2013. Nine days later, her body was found by a farmer in rural Stanford, about 15 miles west of Bloomington. Authorities said she was assaulted.

Her killer has never been found. It’s one of very few unsolved homicides in recent history in Bloomington-Normal.

“It’s horrible. Every day I cry. Every day I miss her so much. And it’s just like everybody’s forgotten about her,” Penni told WGLT.

Authorities have released few details about Eichhorn’s death in the past six years. McLean County Coroner Kathy Yoder and Bloomington Police declined to even say how she died. Penni says she was told her daughter was raped and strangled.

Penni wants to know who killed her and why. She also wants to know if it was connected to the death of Sebert Crose, 35, of Normal, whose body was found in Evergreen Lake on the same day in 2013 that Eichhorn went missing. Penni said her daughter’s friends told her the two knew each other. Eichhorn’s family told WGLT that Eichhorn and Crose knew each other as well.

Authorities downplayed any likelihood of a connection between the two.

“Without diving into any details, if that were something credible, our detectives would look into it obviously,” said BPD spokesperson John Fermon. “If it’s something people are talking about—that there’s a connection—you can bet our detectives would look into that.”

Eichhorn and Crose both struggled with drug abuse.

Eichhorn grew up in Atlanta, Ill., and attended Olympia schools. She started doing ecstasy at age 13 and eventually got into meth, Penni said. She was unemployed when she died, with no money.

But there was light too. She liked girly things like makeup, Penni said, and she loved her yorkie, Lily.

“We were pretty close, even though she was going through all that stuff,” Penni said.

When she went missing, Penni knew something was wrong.

“I really had a bad feeling because she never didn’t talk to me. She wouldn’t ignore my calls,” she said.

On May 7, 2013, authorities knocked on Penni’s door while she slept.

“They came in and told me they thought they’d found her. And when I told them about a tattoo she had, they were sure they found her,” Penni said.

Penni said she hasn’t heard much from Bloomington Police in the last four years about her daughter’s case. Last year on the fifth anniversary, BPD asked the public to share any leads, tips, or information they might have, specifically about the days and hours leading up to Eichhorn’s death.

“It’s still an active investigation,” said Fermon, the BPD spokesperson. “If anybody has information, we’ll definitely follow up on it. So it’s not something we’re just putting aside. If we get any new information, any at all, it’ll still be investigated.”

Even if it’s something small, Fermon wants people to call BPD.

“You may not think that’s anything. But that may help bring closure to the family,” he said.

‘Getting His Life Together’

If Eichhorn’s life was fraying in the days before she died, Sebert “Junior” Crose’s family says he was trying to get back on track.

He was a professional painter and had started his own business, SC Painting, and bought his own truck. The father of four loved cookouts, the outdoors and fishing—and the Green Bay Packers.

But he struggled with drugs and alcohol. Five months before he died, he was charged with felony drug possession after Normal Police allegedly found a baggie of cocaine with him during a traffic stop.

“People labeled him as a drug user,” said Ashley Doage of Normal, his niece. “He had his ups and downs with drugs, but he wasn’t a complete user like that. He was getting his life together.”

“And then everything just went downhill,” Doage said, “and he went missing.”

Crose was last seen Monday, April 15, 2013. That afternoon and evening, he bought beer twice from a Normal grocery store. He deposited a $1,125 work check and withdrew over $160 in cash from an ATM. Around 10:30 p.m. he was spotted on security cameras at a Bloomington convenience store at Locust and Clinton streets. A police report says he bought cigarettes and a “crack pipe.”

“It was difficult to see from the video footage whether a passenger was in (Crose’s) truck or not,” a Normal Police detective wrote in a report. “Sebert does not appear to be in distress inside the store.”

He was reported missing four days later. His niece Ashley, sister Diane Schultz of Bloomington, and other family and friends drove all over central Illinois looking for signs of him.

“I always thought somehow, some shape or form, that I’d be able to talk to him again,” Schultz said.

Then on April 28 – or 13 days after he went missing – a fisherman discovered Crose’s body submerged in Evergreen Lake in Hudson, at the Comlara Park west boat launch. But after several searches, dive teams couldn’t find his truck in the lake.

Then-Coroner Beth Kimmerling determined that he accidentally drowned. Her pathologist’s autopsy found no other signs of trauma. Crose had cocaine in his system and a blood-alcohol level of 0.106, and his liver showed evidence of chronic excess alcohol ingestion, his autopsy report said.

On May 5 – a week after his body was found – the Hudson Fire Department found the truck in the lake, also near the west boat launch. Both doors were closed, unlocked, and the windows were rolled up. The gear selector was left in reverse. The theory was that Crose and his truck somehow went into the lake, he tried to swim back to shore and didn’t make it, and the truck’s doors closed as it drifted away.

Crose’s death certificate says he died from “drowning in a submerged vehicle.” His sister, Diane Schultz, signed off on that decision in 2013.

Today, she and niece Ashley Doage don’t believe it. They suspect foul play.

“Nobody will ever convince me that he passed because he intentionally did drugs or he drove himself into that lake,” Schultz told WGLT. “I still have no closure. Because I know my brother. My brother did not go to that lake to kill himself.”

The McLean County sheriff’s department and Normal Police explored several leads suggesting foul play before Crose’s death was determined to be an accident, according to police reports obtained by WGLT. NPD investigated the missing person’s case the sheriff joined when the body was found.

One of Crose’s family members showed a detective an email that was forwarded to her, alleging Crose was killed by a distraught husband after being caught with the man’s wife in Minier, police reports show. But that email also said Crose’s body was dumped in a creek near El Paso and his truck was dismantled at a chop shop in reality, both were found in the lake.

Police also searched the Normal home where Crose and his former fiancé lived, reports show. They noted several parts of the house had been recently repainted – one way to cover up blood spatter. But an evidence technician checked for biological evidence of blood and didn’t find anything. Police also got the fiancé’s permission to search two computers from the home.

“There was a lot of investigative staff time spent on looking into things that ended up being non-factual,” added Normal Police Chief Rick Bleichner.

Ultimately, authorities say the evidence pointed toward an accident.

“It can be hard for a family to accept a death and the circumstances surrounding a death,” said McLean County Sheriff Jon Sandage, who was elected in 2014.

Schultz and Doage say they don’t understand why Crose’s death certificate says “drowning in a submerged vehicle” if he wasn’t actually found in the vehicle. They also claim Crose’s father, who died in 2015, told them Haileigh Eichhorn had visited the family’s home with Crose at least once.

“We didn’t look into any such connection. We had no reason to,” Sandage said.

Doage said she thinks police didn’t investigate Crose’s case fully because of her uncle’s criminal record and history of substance abuse.

“Here in McLean County, that’s how it is. If you have a record of drug use, or this is what you got in trouble for … when that happens, they’ll make you as a statistic, and that’s not right,” Doage said.

Crose’s case is considered closed. Eichhorn’s is still very much open.

“I just want people to know she’s missed every single day,” Penni Eichhorn said. “And every single day I think about her, and so does her brother. I just want something done so I can get some kind of closure. There’s got to be somebody that knows something, but they just aren’t talking.”

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