Austria-Czech meeting; Herzlia, Israel - 31st March 2006 #austria-czech

Celia Male <celiamale@...>
 

Last week I wrote about our Austria-Czech SIG dinner in Vienna on the 21st
October 2006. I never got around to writing about our wonderful lunch in
Herzlia in March, so here goes. The contrast between the venues in Herzlia and
Vienna could not have been greater, but both were equally friendly - everyone
was just as delighted to meet everyone else and the setting and weather were of
course superb. We all met at Sigger Hans Weigl's home in Herzlia. His grand
piano in the "gemutlich" sitting room, lined with interesting books, was where
I laid out all the name=badges and CV lists we had contributed.

We met early, >from 10am onwards, and were greeted by our host Hans Weigl and
"caterers" Henry Sinai and Edna Rotem [nee Breitenfeld] scuttling around and
preparing our meal. Everything was laid out in the garden. It was a beautiful
day and we all sat at tables around the large, spreading mulberry tree.

We had a great turn out - abt 25 and many were members of the Austria-Czech
SIG. Again most of us had never met each other, so it was the usual pleasant
surprise to meet people we only ever email to!

Randy Schoenberg had arrived >from LA to hear concerts of his grandfathers'
works - so this was an added bonus for him. He officiated as master of
ceremonies as we all stood up and gave a very brief resume of our lives and
genealogical interests. Time was strictly monitored so we did not ramble on.
All this was done during our starters - and then, when everyone thought lunch
was over, came the piece to resistance - Edna had cooked a huge pot of Goulash
Suppe. All this was followed by coffee.

Here are names of our Siggers you will know: Maud Beer; Tomer Brunner;
Esther and Jerome Delson; Eva Florsheim; David Glasner and his mother Ellen;
Paul King; Celia Male; Uri and Nurith Meretz; Randol Schoenberg; Ari Sheffler;
Henry Sinai and last, but not least, our host Hans Weigl.

Others present included Marti, a great-granddaughter of Leopold HOROVITZ, the
Habsburg court painter; Edna, the cousin of our Sigger Joe Breitenfeld; Karl
Schwarz, a relative of David SCHWARZ, the aviation pioneer with his friend,
Serena - both took five years to reach Palestine >from Bratislava via Ferramonte
concentration camp in Italy [1940-1945] and the boat journey on Pentcho [see
book by John Birman ["Odyssey"]; Gabriel Lani, who works with Ada Holtzman at
the Czech Communities organisation; Michael, a member of the JERUSALEM family
related to both Peter Lowe and myself; Anita Tarsi of Beit Terezin; Sefi
Shaked, a cousin of Sigger Lilian Schorr in Argentina.

We were really sorry that Omri Arnon was unable to come because of business
commitments. Tsvi Sinai and Ruth could not come at the last minute but I
visited them the following week and told them all about our meeting.

There were some amazing stories to tell too - Hans Weigl had "found" Edna
Breitenfeld for us as he remembered her father; by doing so he reunited
branches of the dispersed Breitenfeld family. Ellen Glasner had last seen Hans
Weigl on the boat to Palestine - they recognised each other immediately and
both were as youthful as ever. Celia had found Marti via an illustrated guest
book {Armin Horovitz drawings} and Marti had then become hooked on genealogy of
the Horovitz clan >from Kosice and Vienna. Sefi had linked up with Lilian Schorr
and had made significant genealogical breakthroughs. I could go on and on.

There was an age gap of 60 years or more between our oldest and youngest
participant, illustrating just how fascinating Jewish genealogy is to both the
young and the old. I am sure that our Viennese Siggers enjoyed their Schnitzel
and Tafelspitz, but nothing beats an al fresco meal under a spreading mulberry
tree. No-one present on that day will ever forget it. Thank you Hans Weigl for
being such a gracious and generous host. And thank you Henry and Edna for all
your hard work. Herzlia as well as Lundenburg/Breclav and Moravian hospitality
ruled supreme.

Celia Male [U.K.]

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