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April 2011 - Joined GENI - Please Join our "Geni Family Group" - and Help Us Migrate Your Relatives :)
*see Our Family history in ŠTERNBERK Moravia, Czech republic (1850-1969) my birth place OR my Geni project Šternberk (Mährisch-Sternberg), Olomouc, Moravia, Czech republic OR page Jews in Šternberk OR my Videos & Images page
Few details of my early life, events that shaped me and some interests. See also our Šternberk story, all about the Rohel name, our Rohel family page or Names pages with close and distant relatives. Clicking on a thumbnail picture will generally provide a larger image, sometimes with an enlargement box "bottom right". *Picture collage above - may take a while to load with dial-up.My life: I Peter (Petr, Pete the Czech), middle child (youngest in above picture) of eight, was born in ČSA 20 (prev. street names), Šternberk (pop.14,000) near Olomouc), Moravia, communist Czechoslovakia, where I lived 14 years. The town people site is best known for its annual European "Ecce Homo" car races in all
categories, including historical cars *see 2020 book "Fenomén Ecce Homo" (Karel Fiala, atd.) cover page & one of the images, more images . The town also use to host Euro-Motocross races and perhaps that's why, out of the several motorcycles I owned in Toronto, 1 was a CZ-250 motocross. My parents Miroslav Rohel + Adele Heidi Klimesch enjoyed outdoor activities, sports, gardening and Sunday family walks. We were aware of North America, as almost all of our maternal relatives escaped Europe during WW-II, after their Czech & Austrian Factories and assets were Confiscated.
This included Heeg & Friedmann Textile; Leonie (nee Böhm) Friedmann in Vienna owned the Factory, etc. in Šternberk, only signing ownership "under duress for 1 Koruna" to her son-in-law widower Johann Klimesch during her WW-II escape to USA, along with relatives & her siblings, owners of Brüder Böhm hats. All of the Friedmann-Klimesch assets were "stolen" by communists in Šternberk, the: 1) Heeg & Friedmann Factory-Home 2) large Garden 3) Field leased to a Farmer on both sides of Sitka 4) Employee building at Nádražní & U Střelnice total (64,700 m² =16 acres) worth +/- $8 million in 2021 - and in Vienna, Nazis stole their Head office Home.
***see Beneš decrees (wikipedia) "..As a result, almost all ethnic Germans and Hungarians whose ancestors had lived in Czechoslovakia for centuries prior to World War II or those who had settled there during the German occupation of Czechoslovakia lost their Czechoslovakian citizenship and property and were expelled from their homes.." OR www.lawyers.cz "..The decrees stated that the state should pay compensation for the expropriated companies.. ..According to him, the first wave of nationalization from 1945 affected about 3,000 largest companies, which at that time represented about two thirds of the Czechoslovak industrial potential.. Some people then received compensation on the basis of so-called replacement agreements with some Western states. These were Britain, the United States, Switzerland or Canada. In this case, according to Kuklík, the money was raised not only by foreign owners of Czech companies, but also by some Czechoslovak emigrants.." OR Rybná 9, Praha 1: Restitution and Memory in International Human Rights Law by; Patrick Macklem OR Restitution of Jewish property in the Czech Republic, by Jan Kuklik 2008 "..Although it may seem that the issue of Jewish property restitution is a closed historical chapter, in the areas of research, education, and remembrance of the horrors of the Holocaust, it is still a very vivid and relevant matter that deserves our attention.." OR Radio Prague articles Czechs in WW-II: Heroes or cowards?, Liberating Ostrava - Bloodiest WW-II battle on Czech soil, World War II - 60 years on - category I requested, Aug. 2005 Government apologizes for Czech victimization of loyal, anti-Nazi Sudeten Germans after WWII, similar one by Prague Post.
Our mother Adele (nee Klimesch) Rohel visited Canada on 2 occasions and 4 relatives came to visit us; Gertrude, Clarisse, Herbert, Alastair. She would bring back "great toys and gifts" from the West, including a large Eaton's department store catalogue, we all enjoyed viewing. I remember owning a pair of Wrangler jeans, perhaps the only pair in town and wearing them proudly, until there was nothing left of them. As with others of the greatest generation, our parent's were greatly effected by WW-II, but they survived the war, as well as Communism that followed.
August 2, 1969: Date of our "Escape to the West". Only the elder (3 of 7) children leaving by train, knew that our family was escaping and not coming back. Rest of us in the car, were told we are going on a vacation visiting relatives in Vienna. Thus we could not say goodbye to our friends and let the secret out. The possibility of either group not making it across the border was high. My 2 sisters and brother arrived late in Vienna and neither party knew - if the others made it across the border. Later we were told, that the plan was to escape earlier in (Oct. 1968) - but while driving to pick-up their visa, dad had a car accident. My parents had to wait for the court proceedings to complete, before they could try again. I can just imagine the stress by all that "knew the plan - family, relatives, friends". Waiting and waiting and hoping, that the border would not be shut down in the meantime. We made it "just in time", since the border was shut down (1-2) moths after our escape for everyone, except of course "commies".
We stayed with friends of my mother Hubert + Lisl (von Zimmermann) SCHÜCK and their son Georg, in a nice 2-bedroom apartment next to the Parkhotel Schönbrunn. I am sure the family of three expected our family of (9) to only stay for few weeks, just as we did, not knowing it would take us (6) months to receive exit visas. As I was under age for employment in Vienna, I kept busy discovering the city, all the sights, museums and Schönbrunn Castle-Park, across from the apartment. We are grateful to the SCHÜCK family for everything they did for us, especially their hospitality and patience.
My parents, (2) younger siblings and I also visited Salzburg, Lisl's sister Dorothea "Dorli" + Wolfgang von REHLINGEN genealogy and their daughter Sylvia in Berchtesgarden, Germany for (2) weeks. They lived in a Bavarian-style country home, surrounded by mountains. My alarm clock became the deer in the mornings, as they engaged each other with their antlers. Trips to the mountains gave us the opportunity to see mountain goats, take a Königssee lake cruise, see Hitler's eagles nest and Munich. From the outside we saw the Straubing prison - where our dad Miroslav was a political prisoner during WW-II (1943-1945), due to being a member of the resistance group “Obrana Národa”. Previous 2 years (1941-1943) he spent in Wrocław (Breslau), Poland prison. Straubing prison is a civilian prison now - thus we were not allowed to enter. We did visit Dachau Concentration camp, the prison our dad was being marched to, before American planes bombed the Germans and he escaped. I must say, both Vienna and Germany were an eye opener for this 14 year old boy, from a small communist town. We are thankful to family von Rehlingen for their hospitality.
1972: Joining our family in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, I continued my education at Parkdale Collegiate Institute. Three of my friends (James, Ned & Peter) from Pleasantville "hitch-hiked" to Toronto (830 km/516 mi) and we continued hiking to Algonquin Park (302 km/188 mi) north of Toronto, for a 2 week vacation. We rented canoes in the national park and used our outdoor skill to cross several lakes. On 1 island, we awoke to a noise, only to see a "Bear & cubs" eating our food we hung in the tree. After scarring them away, we continued to enjoy the Canadian outdoors and our friendship.
1973+: Our parents bought a house in Etobicoke (suburbs of Toronto) and I continued my education at "Royal York Collegiate Institute" FB-1, FB-2, where I was again able to make long lasting friendships until today. High school was followed by I.T. career, college, more I.T., etc. - and friends of Lithuanian heritage, with whom I socialized, traveled, participated in some of the sports below, etc. Life continued... 2004 after the death of our Dad, I began a new hobby, this web site. 2011 migration started to www.Geni.com - collaborative 1 world tree genealogy site with 146+ million names, becoming a volunteer Curator in 2013. Life continues.....
Comment: Living in Communist Czechoslovakia (14) years, USA (2 1/2), Canada since - exposed me to different political systems. Thanks to Pope John Paul II, president Ronald Reagan *geni relationship path and baroness Margaret Thatcher *geni-path roles in defeating communism - millions of people are freed from tyranny. Genealogy certainly gives us insight into politics, religions, nations and their historical roles. No matter how messy Democracy, freedom, free speech, politicians can sometimes be - appreciate the democratic system - and try to keep it.
Contact: Peter Rohel, 42 Cardigan Rd., Toronto, ON, Canada M8Z-2W2 | Copyright: © 2004-2012