This blog is part 17 of the story of 24-year-old Jew Egon Schoenberger and his flight from the Nazi Holocaust of World War II to New Zealand. Egon’s story has been adapted by Museum writers Greg Meylan and Kirsten MacFarlane, using archive material submitted to Auckland Museum by Egon’s New Zealand family. There will be 24 posts in total.
Egon arrives in Port Moresby. Europe is days away from war.
In 1945, when the war had finished and Egon had not heard from his mother and sister for three years, his uncle Eugen recieved a letter from Rio de Janeiro asking after them.
Dear Mr. Schoenberger,
I don’t know if you remember me because it has been about 7 years that I saw you for the last time in Mainz. Before my marriage, my maiden name used to be Ruth Mayer and your niece Doris and I were very good friends.
Some time ago I read your ad in the AUFBAU, inquiring after the whereabouts of Doris and her mother, and that’s why I am taking the liberty today to write to you.
In case you should get any news about Doris and her mother, would you be kind enough to let me know, because I also want to get in touch with her again and try to help them, if this is in my power. Let’s hope that they are safe somewhere.
I also got definite news now that my father died in Theresienstadt already in 1942 or 1943. Everything is so dreadful and we, who were fortunate enough to escape, have to be thankful for that every day.
My brother Martin with his wife and son are living in Rio too and he sends his best regards to you. I got married in 1941 to a friend of my brother and we are living quietly and happily together, working hard but enjoying a peaceful life as a whole.
I do hope that you and your wife are well. Please write to me as soon as you hear something, won’t you ?
Thanking you in anticipation, and with very best regards, I remain,
Previous blog: The search for Doris and Johanna
Next blog: The letters of Dr Bacharach
Throughout this series of 24 blog posts we’d love to hear from you. If you have any questions, would like to learn more about any aspects of Egon’s story or share your thoughts please use the comment box. We’ll do our very best to respond and answer your questions. And thank you to everyone who has commented so far.