The fates Mohelnice


My grandfather Edmund Ziegler came to the town of Mohelnice around 1870. Together with his wife (my grandmother) they owned a small distillery in a house on Trebovska street No 4. They also operated a factory manufacturing garments.

I was born in Mohelnice in 1920 and I lived there with my parents and grandparents until early 1930s. At that time about 20 Jewish families used to live in the town. The cantor Fuchs came each Sunday to Mohelnice to teach Jewish children religion. My childhood was quite nice there. I was very good in soccer and I also took part in several swimming competitions. After 1930 we moved to Bratislava, but our relatives stayed in Mohelnice and we visited them each summer.

In 1939 I left Bratislava, because of my Jewish origin. I was lucky and managed to get to Denmark. However, in September 1943 I left with my girlfriend Denmark for Sweden. At night we had to swim to board a fishing boat. When we came close to the Swedish coast we had to swim again. We escape from Denmark, because we learned that Nazis planed to send all Jews from Denmark to concentration camps. The "“Big Jewish Rescue" was organized by the Danish government with a co-operation of the underground movement, church, fishermen and others. Almost all Jews from that country were saved.

For some time I lived in Sweden. I studied in the Upsala University and got married there. I also registered with the Czechoslovak Army Office in Stockholm. In the last year of the war I flew to England and joined the artillery unit. In fall of 1945 I returned to Denmark and later I moved to Canada, where I still live with my family. (2006)

My younger sister Charlotte, who was also born in Mohelnice, left before the WWII the country for Palestine and later joined the medical unit of the Czechoslovak army fighting in the Western front. My uncle (brother of my father) Dr. Othmar Zieger was born in 1896 in Mohelnice. In 1938 he left Czechoslovakia for England, where he joined the army and became lieutenant-colonel by the end of the war.

My father Erwin Ziegler was also born in Mohelnice. He was Jewish and a member of the Social democratic party as well so his chances to survive the Holocaust were low. On December 23rd 1944 he was murdered in Buchenwald. His name is engraved in our family tombstone in the Mohelnice cemetery.
Dr. Edgar Ziegler, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

In the fall 2005 Dr. Edgar Ziegler visited Mohelnice and the foundation for the Respect and Tolerance. Before that he sent to the foundation his family religious items, which he inherited from his father and grandfather - prayer shawls (tallit), small prayer shawl (tallit catan) for child, prayer book, embroidered cover for barches, and tefillins and embroidered teffilin bags with monograms EZ. (His grandfather name was Edmund and his father was Erwin).

...read with great interest and admire you and you colleagues for you effort to foster respect and tolerance..., wrote Mr. Ziegler in his cover letter.

"The history of the Ziegler family shows, how Nazis and later Communists were able to erase information about Jewish history. Now, not too many people know that there was a prayer room right in the Mohelnice town square or there is a beautiful Jewish cemetery in the town of Lostice. Nazis tried to destroy Jewish people and their history. Indifference to Jewish history is continuation of this process. Members of the foundation Respect and Tolerance are bringing information about Jewish life and history back to life."
Moravsky Sever Daily, May 3, 2005

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