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Tāmaki Paenga Hira Auckland War Memorial Museum will be closed from 10am on Wednesday 12 August in response to our city’s efforts to limit the transmission of the COVID-19 Coronavirus. We look forward to welcoming you back when the city moves back to Level 2 and we are safely able to do so.


Egon’s story: The search continues

Egon’s story: The search continues

Thursday, 11 October 2012

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.

Diary entry 1 September, 1939 (translated).

Diary entry 1 September, 1939 (translated).

Auckland War Memorial Museum - Tāmaki Paenga Hira.

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.

Letter from Ruth Schild: \"Everything is so dreadful\".

Letter from Ruth Schild: "Everything is so dreadful".

Schoenberger, Egon. Papers 1892-1960s. Auckland War Memorial Museum Library. MS-2002-74.

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,

Yours sincerely,

Ruth Schild

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.

  • Post by: Greg Meylan

    Greg Meylan is a Geneva-based freelance writer and editor. He spent six years as a part-time writer and editor for Auckland Museum’s Exhibition team, and was previously a journalist for The Irish Times and Sunday Star Times in New Zealand. His special interests are writing for web and mobile devices.