Orpheus no Mado Encyclopaedia - Essays

What happened to the von Beringer?

An essay about Alensmeier's secret past

The slaughter of the wealthy Bavarian family of the von Beringer, and the relationships between the surviving members of that family and the Alensmeiers is the core of the mystery behind the first part of Orpheus no Mado. Understanding clearly what happened is surely not easy when reading the manga following a monthly release, so we will collect and put in order the pieces of information given to us during the various chapters.

1) Heinz Frenzdorf, Headmaster of the Saint Sebastian Musical Institute, was the father of Eleonore Frenzdorf. Their family was poor; Mr. Frenzdorf worked as a pianist in a tavern to earn his living. He was the one who taught Eleonore philosophy and music. When Eleonore was 16, she met the earl Theodor von Beringer, a wealthy young man who was one of the favourite of Ludwig II, king of Bavaria, along with prince Paul Thurn und Taxis. Ludwig II opposed this marriage because of Eleonore's poorness; so prince Paul Thurn und Taxis formally adopted her. Eleonore Frenzdorf became princess Eleonore Thurn und Taxis and married earl von Beringer. In exchange for the adoption, Mr. Frenzdorf was given the direction of the Saint Sebastian. Eleonore and Theodor had a son, Ernest, born in 1869. (We learn all this from Frenzdorf's speech in chapter 7).

2) Theodor von Beringer knew that Alfred von Alensmeier (Julius' father) was a spy for Russia and probably knew that Alensmeier kept in his vault at the Reich Bank of Frankfurt a part of the secret patrimony of the Tsar Nicolaj II; so he decided to reveal this information to the Department of War. But Alensmeier forestalled him and denounced him as a spy; then, with Colonel Maximilian Schwarzkoppen (unaware of the truth), he proceeded to kill Theodor von Alensmeier, his wife Eleonore and their servants. (From Annelotte in chapter 7).

3) Ernest eventfully escaped death and was sheltered by his grandfather Heinz Frenzdorf with the son of the von Beringer's butler, Jacob Shüne Badingen. The massacre happened in 1874, Ernest and Jacob where both 5. Given that Eleonore was aged 25 when she was murdered, this leads us to place Eleonore's birth in 1849. In 1869 she was 20; considering the time for the pregnancy, she probably married Theodor von Beringer in 1868, aged 19, after three years of engagement.

4) Colonel Maximilian Schwarzkoppen is a real historical figure, involved in the Dreyfus affair. In the manga he is a friend of Alfred von Beringer and had an extra conjugal relationship with Alfred's first wife. Annelotte is their illegitimate daughter. Schwarzkoppen had another child with a French (probably; the police detective suggests it in chapter 7) woman, Joachim, who was then Annelotte's stepbrother.

5) Agreeing with Alensmeier's false charges, everybody believed that Theodor von Beringer was a spy and that he was killed by Bismark's agents because of his opposition towards the annexation of Bavaria to the Prussian Empire in 1871. The Von Egenolfs, Arlaune's family, now inhabit the Von Beringer House in Munich. Their garden is full with mimosas. (Chapter 5).

6) Ernest von Beringer was therefore called Hermann Virkrich and was taught piano by his grandfather. In his turn, he began to give piano lessons to Maria Barbara and Annelotte von Alensmeier when they were respectively 14 and 7. Then he met Renate through the window of Orpheus and for her sake he decided to stay in Regensburg, working at the Saint Sebastian, renouncing to a promising career as a pianist. In July 1904, Maria Barbara receives a letter from the Military Investigation Department with more information about Jacob: in 1884 he got arrested for theft by the Bavarian police, but was discharged after a certain Mr. Kurtz (Frenzdorf in disguise) pledged himself for him. Jacob then moved to Regensburg where he worked as a coachman until, in 1897, the Alensmeiers employed him. (From chapter 4). At that time he was 28 and Annelotte was 15 (born in 1882). Alensmeier's first wife was still alive but she must have died shortly after that, because Annelotte was still 15 when her mother told her the truth about her birth and then died (from chapter 7).

7) Mr. Frenzdorf grew up Hermann and Jacob in the desire of vengeance towards the Alensemeier, but his plan failed. Hermann Virkrich tried twice to kill Julius, but something restrained him; he succeeded in killing Mrs. Alensmeier but when he noticed she was his beloved Kriemhild he decided to die with her. Jacob, adoring Annelotte, did always protect her. Headmaster Frenzdorf managed to kill Joachim and to injure Maria Barbara, but Jacob prevented him from hurting Annelotte. As for Annelotte, she poisoned her father and Maria Barbara, killed Gertrud and set fire to Renate's library, in order to keep the secret of the vault in Reich Bank.

8) The fact that a part of the Tsar's secret patrimony is kept in her father's vault is the main link between Julius and Russia, besides her love for Klaus. It is a secret for which many people have died, and Rasputin tries to plot against Yusupov knowing this information (chapter 13). The supposed Anastasia Romanoff claims that the Tsar her father hid his patrimony in many banks, in England and Germany, and the newspapers report that the name of German keeper of the vault begins with "A". Moreover we learn that the police detective was raised by the von Beringers, being closely related to them, and was probably in love with Eleonore von Beringer. (Chapter 18).

9) In conclusion, the slaughter of the von Beringer in the distant 1874 is the final reason for Julius' death in 1923. In the last chapter (18), Jacob kills Julius to avenge Annelotte, and throws the vault's key in the river, burying the Alensmeiers' secret deep in the waters.

We have thus seen how much the relation between the von Beringers and the Alensmeiers influences the overall plot of Orpheus no Mado, laying behind the deaths of Herr von Alensmeier, Annelotte, Renate, Virkrich, Gertrud, Frenzdorf, and finally to Julius' one. Ikeda sensei planned it in order to connect Julius with Russia, Tsar Nikolai II, the Dreyfus affair and Bavarian annexation to Germany, thus interweaving Julius' story deeply with European history of late XIX century. What is amazing, however, is that this entired entangled plot is strangely lacking of emotional resounding. The love and the passion that always distinguish Ikeda sensei's work are missing in the von Beringer affair. Here we have only brainy reasoning and no heart, and it shows.

<back to essays>

♣ Text by Cecilia. Layout by Francesca. Please respect our work, do not steal. If you can't help using part of these texts, please ask for permission first and give credits. Thanks!

Valid XHTML 1.0 Strict Valid CSS!