BiographyMottel Elieser Menczer was born February 7, 1901 in Gura Humorului, Romania, to Mechel and Sheve (née Körner) Menczer; the family lived in Storozhinets, in the region of Bukovina. He was the youngest of four siblings: a sister, Perl Spiegel, was killed by Nazis in Vienna in 1942, and a sister, Esther, and brother, Simon, emigrated to Israel in the 1930s and lived in Haifa.
After the First World War, Mottel E. Menczer went to Vienna to study at the Wiener Handelsakademie (Vienna Academy of Commerce). Upon completion of his studies, he returned to Storozhinets, where he operated a woolens and dry goods store and was active in Jewish affairs and community life. On August 18, 1935, he and Regina (Reghina) Dermer were married.
In 1940, Storozhinets was occupied by Russian forces, which controlled the region until the spring of 1941, after which the Nazis seized control over the town and forced Jewish families, including Mottel and Regina Menczer, into a ghetto. The Menczers were deported from the Storozhinets ghetto to Transnistria in the fall of 1941, first by railway cattle cars and later by walking, for five weeks, after which they were interned in the Bershad ghetto. Many members of the Storozhinets’ Jewish community, including the Menczers’ close family and friends, died on this journey, or in camps and ghettos in Transnistria, from exhaustion, hunger and illness, and at the hand of the Nazis.
In the spring of 1944, the Nazis retreated and the Menczers left Bershad. Mottel Menczer briefly taught in an elementary school for child evacuees in Rădăuţi before moving to Bucharest. In 1948, the Menczers were temporary residents of Paris and applied to immigrate to Canada. They arrived in Canada in January, 1949 and took up residence in Ottawa, where Mottel Menczer worked as a retail salesman and Regina worked as a bookkeeper. They had one child, Micha Jacob Menczer, born November 8, 1950.
Mottel E. Menczer contributed material on the Holocaust period and concentration camp life to publications like the Ottawa Citizen and the chapter on Berschad in Geschichte der Juden in der Bukowina, edited by Dr. Hugo Gold (https://www.jewishgen.org/yizkor/Bukowinabook/buk2_073.html).
Mottel E. Menczer passed away in his home in Ottawa on December 23, 1959.
NotesBiographical sketch based on draft prepared by Micha Menczer and published in the April, 2004 issue of Zachor. https://www.vhec.org/wp-content/uploads/Zachor_No.2_April_2004.pdf
Perl Spiegel in Yad Vashem database of victims of the Shoah: https://yvng.yadvashem.org/nameDetails.html?language=en&itemId=1816075&ind=1