Esperanza's accident

Esperanza has an accident in 1948. We have 3 different versions of it. She died in September 1951. In her letter to Henry in December 1948 she says June 23, 1948 was the day she began to die. Gabriel sends Henry a letter in July at the request of Esperanza telling him she cannot write.

1948_7_18 - Gabriel Figueroa to Henry Schnautz
1948_12_20 - Esperanza to Henry Schnautz

Henry Schnautz told me and others that Esperanza died from a mountain climbing accident. I never heard him say suicide. In a letter to Croves after her death, that we do not have, he apparently asked about her being sick. Croves does not tell him that it was suicide. Henry seems to have read some Traven biographies, he mentions them at one place, so he would surely have read many years later that her death was a suicide.

He wrote a letter in 1992 that said - "Returning from a climb in Mex. Her horse stumbled. She fell over his head and injured her back on the rocks."


Gabriel Figueroa and his family in the book "Todo Mexico" also say it was in Mexico, on Popocatepetl, in the company of her husband Roberto. Because of the way the interview was made, the information is fragmented.

Gabriel's wife Antonieta said Esperanza hurt her leg on Popo, pressed the sciatic nerve.

Gabriels statement seems to be saying she had an auto accident - lost control of the jeep - although its not clear.

"Esperanza era una excursionista. Toda su vida fue de grandes alturas. Los domingos, Roberto y ella se iban al Popo. En una salida, Esperanza se accidentó porque se cayó el comando o jeep en el que iban con algunos amigos médicos. Ella se lastimó la espina."

"Esperanza was a hiker. Her whole life was at high altitudes. On Sunday, Roberto and she went to Popo. In a turn, Esperanza had an accident because she lost command of the jeep with some friends who were doctors. She injured her spine."

The daughter Tolita says, "Se volteó el camión en donde iba Esperanza con Roberto..."

"The truck was turned where Esperanza went with Roberto."

Perhaps someone else can make a better translation.

Hal Croves thought the accident happened in Switzerland, in the company of Henry Schnautz, while skiing, or maybe climbing. Henry Schnautz was not in Europe with Esperanza. She flew to New York in November 1947, went to Europe, then came back to New York in January 1948.

"Late 1947 and early 1948 she visited New York and Europe, especially Switzerland, France, Czecho-Slovakia and Italy...You thought that you were the main reason why she went to Switzerland. This was not so. Of course she met you there. As I understand she went skiing there and climbed a few mountains, most likely in your company. It seems that she had a bad fall on her skis - she had never before tried skis - or she fell very badly on one of her mountain trips. Apparently a nerve cord or a sinew was caught between two vertebras...She did not realize what it was until in June 1948 she broke down." (see letter 1951)