Judy Kay-Wolff

TIME MARCHES ON…

This morning Bobby and I were discussing the most challenging moments in our respective bridge lives and believe it or not, we settled on the same incident.

At 7:00 a.m. on the morning of July 20th, 1984 I received an ungodly early call from my close friend, Joan Weinrott, horrified about the kidnapping of Edith Rosenkranz at the Nationals at the Washington- Sheraton Hotel in D.C., — which news she had either seen on television or heard on radio.   Norman and I were in a state of frenzy as we were very close friends with Edith and George as Norman was George’s Merrill Lynch Stock Broker and close social friends … and it was the first we had heard of it 

Because Norman’s partner’s wife, Betty Kaplan, was ill with cancer, Norman and Edgar passed by the Washington tournament so this was shocking news from afar.  The last time Norman missed a tournament was after the assassination of JFK.   He immediately returned to his home ML office for a few days — then returned to Bal Harbour.  

Norman immediately called the hotel and asked to speak to George.   The stern solemn voice on the other end of the phone asked his name.  When he replied, he held his hand over the receiver (apparently questioning George) and then replied ‘THIS IS THE FBI.”   We were told you will receive a return call from George when he knew more.   Norman and I were absolutely petrified until a day later –when George asked Eddie Wold to telephone us that Edith was released unharmed and was now safely back at  the hotel.

Coincidentally, Edith’s disappearance unbeknownst to him, affected Bobby as well as Norman and myself (plus the whole bridge entourage).    It was the evening session of the Spingold Team event and George just happened to be kibitzing Bobby and Bob Hamman and had no idea his beloved was on her way to the downstairs inside parking lot where she was abducted.  The Washington Police and FBI  were contacted immediately and did an unfathomable job tracking the ransom money of one million dollars, the car, the kidnappers and of course Edith who was returned safely.  I remember the following day, George and Edith were gracious, calm and relieved enough to visit each and every bridge tournament site to rousing cheers of happy people whom they thanked for their prayers and concern.

It is now over twenty-five years ago since the incident and though in their late eighties or early nineties, the Rosenkranzes are still with us.   I will always consider Edith’s disappearance  the saddest, most frightening and happiest two consecutive days of my life.


9 Comments

JSDecember 4th, 2011 at 1:22 am

Judy:

I remember it well. It was a horrible incident and one the bridge world will never forget. Here’s to happy endings!

Judy Kay-WolffDecember 4th, 2011 at 1:36 am

I have received a couple of questions from newbies — asking who are the Rosenkranzes?

They were a lovely bridge playing couple from Mexico City (living now in the States). George, a scientist, founder of a pill called Syntex was president of the company of the same name. It was common knowledge he was a wealhy man and therefore Edith appeared to be a likely target. Luckily it happened in our nation’s capitol where there is no shortage of police and security resources and two days later she was returned safe and sound.

Judy

Robb GordonDecember 4th, 2011 at 3:11 am

This was also the “Moses Ma” Nationals, where these two young guys from Cambridge were having spectacular success despite an obvious lack of bridge prowess. They were caught cheating with the help, as I remember, of videotaping.

Judy Kay-WolffDecember 4th, 2011 at 3:37 am

Robb:

I remember the name “Moses Ma” and the association with cheating but I
did not recall it was the same time as the horrendous incident with Edith.

What always amazed me was she never seemed to change after her very frightening ordeal and did not like being pampered. She was ever poised and charming. I remember having dinner with both of them and George had to rush off early to talk to a new partner about their card. Edith was going back to the room, but Norman insisted over her protests to allow him to acccompany her. She never seemed to reflect any outward after-effects of her Washington experience. A true Grande Dame!

JaneDecember 4th, 2011 at 2:34 pm

After reading your blog, I did a google search on the incident. I knew about it vaguely, but wanted to know more. I was happy to read that the kidnappers were convicted of the crime and lost an appeal as well. I was not able to find what their sentence was however. I know they went to prison, just was curious for how long and if they are still in jail. It is terrific that Edith was not harmed, and quite fortunate. If the men involved were actually mentally ill, as one of them claimed at their trial, this outcome could have been far worse. It is a tribute to Edith that she handled it so well and did not let this horrible event scar her.

Bobby WolffDecember 4th, 2011 at 3:30 pm

Hi Jane,

In retrospect and in response to your followup summary, the mastermind behind the kidnapping was a relatively young, good bridge player from Texas, Glenn Wright, who earlier had formed a very effective partnership with a brilliant graduate of Rice institute and now one of our best players and has been for some time, Eddie Wold.

Glenn was a gentle sort, a marvelous musician as well as a bridge player, and possibly because of that, Edith survived unharmed. Glenn did serve up to 20 years in a Federal Prison, was then let out on parole, but then when recently I asked Eddie how he was, I was told that he recently had died in his early 60’s.

A very strange tragedy which almost belongs in Robert Ripley’s famous stories about, “Believe it or not?”

As a final epilogue on the capture, when the FBI, according to Glenn’s instructions complied with furnishing the Million dollars the bills were marked there were police helicopters hovering above and all avenues to the meeting place were completely blocked off, in other words the job was thoroughly done by our renowned FBI team which then was rated the #2 team in the world behind the Israeli Massud.

‘He who laughs last, laughs best” applies, but not without many horrifying moments to contemplate.

One moment I will always remember is the standing up and vigorously applauding by almost everyone in the huge bridge rooms when Edith’s rescue was reported. She happens to be one of the best loved bridge characters in our world and if one had the good fortune to know her, would soon understand why, as she is still a remarkably erudite individual and a beautiful lady.

Georgiana GatesDecember 5th, 2011 at 12:41 am

I’m from Houston, and I’ve known Glenn Wright and Eddie Wold since their earliest playing days. I believe that Eddie unwittingly gave Glenn some information about the Rosenkranzes’ habits – he must have felt really bad about that.

Glenn was very talented in both music and bridge, but had a self-destructive streak. He was a smoker, refused to quit, and died of pulmonary disease.

Judy Kay-WolffDecember 5th, 2011 at 1:07 am

Thanks, Georgiana! That certainly helps to understand the mystery behind the deed.

Judy

RyanDecember 5th, 2011 at 11:55 pm

Here’s the NY Times article on the cheating scandal:
http://www.nytimes.com/1984/07/31/nyregion/five-bridge-players-taken-out-of-play-cheating-suspected.html?pagewanted=all

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