The Dartmouth Murders
Half and Susanne
Half Zantop was born April 24, 1938, in Eckernforde, Germany, the fourth child of a printer and a homemaker. His name came from the German for "to help."
To escape World War II, the family moved to Spain when Half was one. Three years later, in 1942, the Zantops returned to Germany. Then they went back to Spain in 1948.
Geology fascinated Half. As a young man, he returned to Germany to earn a bachelor's degree in geology from Freiburg University. Then he traveled to the United States for advanced degrees.
At Stanford University, while pursuing a doctorate, he met another German student, the vivacious and petite Susanne Korsukewitz, who had graduated from Berlin's Free University with a bachelor's degree in political science and was working toward her master's. They began dating.
Susanne was born August 12, 1945, in Kissingen, Germany. The eldest of three children of a factory manager and a homemaker, she loved badminton, cats, and piano playing. She also enjoyed reading and especially liked history books. A Boston Globe article quoted her brother, Dr. Thomas Korsukewitz, a physician living in Germany, as saying, "She was always the best or the second-best in class, but mostly the best."
Perhaps Half and Susanne were drawn together not only because they shared common origins but also because they shared the trauma of being Germans who grew up in the shadow of the Holocaust. In a Union Leader piece Marchocki quotes McCollum as saying, "growing up as a young girl in Germany, [Susanne] didn't learn of the Nazi movement and the Holocaust until she was about 12 or 13 years old and that 'it was absolutely overwhelming to her that their country and their people'" had committed such horrors.
Half received his geology Ph.D. in 1969, got a job as a field geologist, and traveled to South America on his first major assignment. Susanne accompanied him and the couple wed in 1970. They traveled frequently, following his job assignments to South America, Europe, and Africa. Susanne gave birth to two daughters, Veronika and Marianna.