Midy Rhomberg

An important period in the by now 100 year history of the Hotel Madrisa was the appearance of the Tyrolean Midy Karl, who was in charge of goods and a year later, became known as Midy Rhomberg, head manageress of the hotel. Friendly, petite and strong-minded, a calming influence and moving force all at once, anything that happened in the family, the business and the village was influenced by Midi.

The Madrisa manageress was a strong woman, who knew how to hang on during setbacks. Together with her husband, they withstood Hitler’s "1000 Mark ban" and the war years, its forced deportations, border security, children evacuations and lastly, the occupation. Just as they started to bring the hotel back into shape, Bertram Rhomberg died (1947) and in the following year their youngest son, the four year old Bertram as well.

These tragedies not being enough, the Hotel Madrisa’s “Posthüsli” with its grocery store burned down in 1949 and in January of 1951 the devastating Täscher avalanche thundered down into the main dining room. During this whole time the two older children, Robert and Hans Karl, still schoolboys, were too young to help their mother out much.

Midy Rhomberg held to her husband’s work ethics in the business. She came up with the necessary strength to invest in her career and in the hotel’s future. In 1949 she built the first T-bar in Gargellen and three years later was a founding member of the cable car company  Gargellen Seilbahn GmbH, engaged a hotel orchestra and had started a sports store. Step for step, Midi renovated and enlarged the hotel and with this the hotel’s prestige. In 1959 she built  the new “Posthüsli” with a grocery store chain from Spar, a sports store, and also the tourist and ski school offices.

The Posthüsli was run by Ludwig Vallaster, the post master. Ludwig was a phenomenon. A mountain farmer’s son from St. Gallenkirch that had along with his difficult daily chores, taught himself not less than six foreign languages and on top of this, occupied himself with Latin and Rätoromanisch, which in earlier times was the language of the Montafon people. Ludwig was the alp master and mountain guide and during the winter months, ski teacher in Gargellen as well.

In 1939 he became the post master, shortly before the outbreak of the war. He barely began his job at the Gargellen Posthüsli when, thank his polyglot manageress, the job transformed itself into an international information office. Then Ludwig had to go to war. No question that wherever he found himself, he was mostly needed as an interpreter.

After Ludwig’s safe return from the war’s confusions and once again at the office, he then started his profession as writer of the local history in his beloved Gargellen. In 1953 Richard Beitl the poet from Schruns and professor of folklore in Berlin founded the "Montafoner Arbeitskreis" that consequently published hundreds of Ludwig’s very instructive and entertaining written works. They are all collected and assorted according to topic in the archive of the Montafon Valley community museum. Likewise his family registers, in which 15,000 families with approximately 60,000 people from 241 Montafon lineages, are listed and used as the foundation for around 250 family trees and 800 ancestral charts.

The Montafon Regional Book, or “Heimatbuch” released in 1974, contains not less than 39 historic local observations from his pen.

Ludwig Vallaster was awarded with the silver Austrian Medal for Merit; and also with a Olympic medallion, which he received for his interpreting services during the Olympic Winter Games in 1964 in Innsbruck, where he worked at the "Olympic Post Office".

Midy Rhomberg, the prudent hotel manageress with so little free time, who often worked after midnight on her correspondences and started her day at 6:30 in the morning, always had friendly smile and cheerful wave to departing guests. Midy loved books, reading, and in general, the engagement of literature. She was happy when writers were her guests and became totally and wholeheartedly friends with them.