Mendell, Titus C. R.
My father Leopold Mendel was a partner in Karl Bondi CO Lineangasse 2A. My mother was Elizabeth Gertrude Mendel (WINTER), a member of the Vaterlaendischen Front and sometimes Summer Stock Actress. We summered on the Attersee, sometimes in Weireg or Attersee. My mothers father deceased 1933 at age 64. His name was Winter possible Leiser)born in Kolomea Old Austria, Her mother was Hermine (Jokl)born in Bisenz, Maeren, Austria. died 1955. I think he was Roman Catholic. She was in Theriesien Stadt, denounced by our gardener. I was going to have him arrested, but after seeing this poor wretch severely disfigured by the war I became merciful and did nothing. My Father Converted to Protestantism at the University and jointed the „Evangelische Reformierte Kirche“, Dorothea Strasse, Wien. We were not religious. Celebrated Christmas, I can not remember attending church. Grandmother Winter I think was religious since many fights occurred because she tried to teach us Hebrew.
We lived Bernbrunngasse 39
We lived Bernbrunngasse 39, 2nd Floor in a very large apartment. The apartment had a large living room with a full sized piano, and a red Leather Sofa with 2 Side Chairs. There was a formal dinning room with a sliding door. There were several Bedrooms and a Play Room.
We had a Cook and Gardener Feodor Zohrer, a friend was my teacher Bertha Papetz. I can't remember other names. My father had friends from the War. He was an officer in the K&K, decorated with the Iron Cross, captured by the Russians and sent to Siberia (Ladiovostok) His return to Vienna was delayed because of the Russian Civil War. I am sure that there were many friends because my father was Honorary Columbien Consul in Vienna. Robert Kohler (Vienna Symphony was a neighbor, a Nazi. I exchanged letters after the war. I visited with my tutor Freulein Papetz when I was in Vienna in 1950 on leave from my post with the USAF in Athens. A Herr Tausend was the salesman at Hertz Mantzig who always waited on us.
We played war
We played war. I had quite an army of Tin Soldiers, Fireman, Police. We played in our backyard, the apartment and on the Rotenberg. We made „Ausflüge“ to the Wiener Wald. During periods of unrest the Police would be welcome by my mother for coffee and cake. I remember them stacking their rifles in our kitchen Mom was at the Hoffburg the night Dr. Schuschnigg resigned. My first experience was when we were taking out of school. I attended the Auhhof Strasse elementary school and Wenzgasse Private School.
During March 11, 12, and 13 Robert was in a tree in his Nazi HJ uniform yelled some epitaphs at me as I played in our Yard. We pulled the shades and remained inside the apartment. Daily calls came telling us of suicides by friends so they would not fail into the hands of the Gestapo. It was a very traumatic time for which I suffered all my life. For years I could not go to sleep without checking the pilot lights. A favorite method of suicide was to put the head into the oven.
We left Vienna 1938
We left Vienna on August 2, 1938 for Turin, Italy. There were a few decent people a Herr Schlosser, a illegal before the „Anschluss“ and a Police Inspector. We were able to leave legally, we had to sign a book never to return to Austria. We went to Columbia and lived in Bogota and Barranquilla where my father designed the first electric light bulb factory in that country, He bought all the machinery and made several trips to the USA to buy materials.
We came to New York 1941
We came to New York in January 1941 and stayed there until March 1941. We then settled in Saginaw where we joined the 1st Congregational Church. Most of our friends there were Jews. Rabbi Tannenbaum was a frequent visitor to our home. My father died when I was in the 11th grade and mother died in 1954. Both were in their mid fifties. For my father the world ended in 1918.
I graduated from High School and went on to serve in the USAF. After service I went to the University of Michigan and became a teacher. I taught 51/2 years in a public school and I was a charter faculty member of the Interlochen Arts Academy. In 1969 I joined the Unemployment and employment state agency where I held posts as manager of Unemployment Insurance Training, Branch Office Evaluations and Procedure Writing and Law Interpretation Sections I retired in 1993. I will be 74 on the 21st of this month.
I was stationed in Athens and was anxious to go to Vienna to see my Uncles and Cousin and Grandmother all had survived Mauthousen, and Theresienstadt.he Abwehr Turme were still there. I visited the house we lived in but the thieving habitants would not allow me to see the apartment. All I met assured me that were not Nazis, no one was in the SS or Gestapo.Had it not been for my grandmother whom I visited everyday during my 15 day leave I would have cut my leave short and returned to Athens I have not bee back since.
1978 I left the Protestant Faith
In 1978 I left the Protestant Faith and and acknowledged my Jewish Roots by joining the Jewish Humanistic Temple an Congregation without God, acknowledging our past, history, achievements and culture. I now live alone in a large complex which reminds me of the Karl Marx Hoff. Belief in God is not possible after what was revealed after the Holocaust. I hope that you teach of these events in all their horrible detail augmented with motion pictures from the files. They should learn what mankind is capable of. And hopefully not repeat things, especially with so many foreign workers. I am not sure the election of Haider and his gang to me bodes a bad omen for the future.