In the final paragraph of HWE I said I thought it unlikely that, after the Holocaust, Ernst had any living relatives. I’ve discovered I was wrong twice over. First, Jan Pecka traced a descendant called Henriette Shattuck, whom he heard was living in Rue L’Andrône des Remparts, Boulbon, France. Madam Shattuck said she knew only that she was a descendant of one of Ernst’s brothers, and had no further information about the violinist.
Second, I was contacted in September 2012 by Kinga Bisits (see People) from Australia who wrote as follows:
I believe I am a descendant of Moritz Ernst the brother of Heinrich Wilhelm Ernst (the subject of your book). My great great grandfather was also called Heinrich Wilhelm Ernst. I have many photos of him dressed in opera costumes. His mother my great great great grandmother was Joszefa Kaiser Ernst. My grandmother Countess Erica Zichy nee Yull said that Moritz Ernst was her great grandfather, however other family members dispute that Moritz E is the father of Heinrich (the opera singer). They claim Heinrich the opera singer is the result of an affair between Joszefa Kaiser Ernst and a member of the aristocracy.
Stories that famous musicians are the illegitimate children of aristocrats rather than their official parents are common enough, but in the case of the pianist Sigismond Thalberg the story appears to be correct, and the same may be true in this case.
Two of Kinga’s pictures – of Josephine Ernst-Kayser and Heinrich Wilhelm Ernst (II), the tenor – are shown below. They are Ernst’s sister-in-law and nephew respectively: