As I mentioned before, my father, Adolf Mechner, died on March 6, 1897, 8 days before I was born, on March 14th, 1897. When my father died he was 38 years old, was therefore born in the year 1859 or 1860. I never could find out the name of the town where he was born. Most of his family lived in Bielitz which was in Galicia, near the border of Silesia and my father was probably born in Silesia (See 2X on the map). My mother was born on November 6, 1872, in Czernowitz, was 20 or 21 years old when she got married, and my father was then about 32 years old. I have a picture of both of them, taken on the day they were married.

What I know about my father is, of course, what I have been told by my mother, my uncles and aunts. The name of my father’s father was Wilhelm. The name of his mother I don’t know. He had 2 brothers, Samuel and Josef, and 2 sisters. One was Ernestine, but she usually was called Tinka. The name of the other sister I don’t know. I knew Tinka since she once visited us as a young, very pretty girl, in Czernowitz.

I have one letter in my father’s own handwriting, which he wrote in the year 1885, and typewritten copies of 4 more letters. They were all written to Henriette long before she married my father’s brother Josef and long before my father married my mother. The one original letter is quite interesting on account of the beautiful handwriting. Another letter is very interesting because it was written in the form of a poem in so called 4 footed trochees without rhymes. To explain it in a simple way, it sounds like: Tá, ta tá, ta tá ta, tá ta;tá, ta tá ta, tá ta tá ta. He explains why he wrote it this way, namely that he was a member of a literary club and that he had the task within the next few days to recite freely the long, romantic epic, ”The Trumpeter of Säkkingen” by the famous German poet Scheffel, written in 4 footed trochees. He explains further that he has been reading every evening this “sing-song” and so much familiarized himself with that rhythm that he now wanted all the time to produce these lines. It is a delightful way in which he wrote this letter, but difficult or rather impossible to translate it since it would lose all its charm. By the way, “The Trumpeter of Sákkingen” was later made into an opera by Victor Nessler.

My father was, before he married my mother, the manager of a furniture factory and sawmill, which belonged to a baron Grödel. Later he and his brother Josef bought the two enterprises and they became associates. Uncle Josef’s wife was Henriette. Her maiden name was Schnabel and she was a cousin of the famous pianist Arthur Schnabel. Josef and Henriette had 4 children: Egon, Olga, Martha and Toni. Egon and Martha lived later in Vienna. Egon was in a very prominent position as a director and later as president of a large coal company in Vienna. We had very close and friendly contact with them, went often with them on excursions, ski trips, etc. Once their mother Henriette visited us together with cousin Olga and Aunt Henrietta told us very interesting things about my father. Her daughter Toni was born deaf and dumb, but was later married to a nice man. My brother Carl knew them well, since he often visited them in Bielitz, where they lived.

The furniture factory and the sawmill were in Wygoda, near Dolina in the eastern part of the Province of Galicia, about 5 hours by train, preceding page 5) north of Czernowitz (See map3X). The furniture which was made in the factory was designed by my father, who had a special talent for drawing. I remember that we had a large sized book with wonderful drawings which he had made, which we used to admire as children. These were mostly beautiful ornaments, very complicated ones, executed in a very fine and precise way. My mother was also very talented and had her own book with drawings. Both books were lost during the first World War when we had to leave everything behind and went as refugees to Vienna. We had the furniture, which my father had designed, in Czernowitz and one photo, which I have, shows some of them, among others a rocking chair made from curved wood. All the furniture was made of very fine wood and in a beautiful style, among them a high bookcase, the upper section with doors of opalescent glass with ornaments and the initials A on the left side and M on the right side. The bookcase was filled with works of the German classics, also the complete works of Shakespeare with illustrations, translated by Schlegel and Tieck into German. We also had an encyclopedia, called Meyer’s Conversations Lexicon, 14 heavy books, over which I used to sit later on for hours, which are the main source of things I know. There was also a very large clock with a pendulum, designed by my father, more or less in the style of the Schwarzwälder clocks, hanging above a sofa, and below the clock a very long wooden shelf, on which beautiful china and ornamental plates were standing, and below the shelf an oriental carpet, covering the wall behind the sofa.

My father had also a talent for music, and had a beautiful voice and sang, accompanied by my mother on the piano. She was a fine pianist. Whoever spoke about my father, spoke in the highest words about his character and his talents. There is no doubt that his talent was inherited by my sister Else, who became a great artist, and to a certain degree, also by me, then further by my children Francis and Johanna, and now by their children. As to the talent for music, I think that my mother played probably the more important role.

She was, as I already mentioned, a fine pianist and we three children were also very musical. My sister Else played in younger years beautifully on the piano and my brother Carl on the violin. He had a beautiful voice and was later on for many years an operetta tenor engaged on many theaters in Austria and Germany. I myself had only sporadically a musical education and therefore play the piano with a certain degree of difficulties especially classical music, but when it comes to lighter music like operettas, I can play almost anything by ear, with my own accompaniment. Music plays an important role in my life, especially classical music and opera. This talent has also been inherited by my children and grandchildren. Francis has had an especially fine musical education and plays on the piano beautifully.

I was born on March l4, 1897 in Czernewitz, Bukowina. When I was born, my mother was, as I had said before, already a widow, because my father had died 8 days before. Since I was born after my father’s death, I was given his name “Adolf”. Later I changed it to “Adolph”. But I was generally called “Bubi” and that remained my name almost all my life. Only very late and after my marriage I was called Adolph, but my brother Carl and his family still call me Bubi.

My father had an accident. He was at that time 38 years old. It was at a railway station in winter, where furniture was loaded, that he stepped on an ice-covered rail and fell, hitting his head against the rail. He did not tell my mother anything that had happened to him. Ho only complained of headaches and he stayed at home for two days. My mother was pregnant at that time with me, and ho probably did not want to upset her. There were two children already, my sister Else, born in 1893, and my brother Carl, born in 1895. My father’s headaches increased and he still did not tell my mother anything about the accident. Finally, he became confused, and when an uncle of mine, Dr. Isidor Drancz, arrived from Czernewitz by train to examine him, he was not able to make a definite diagnosis. Ho probably suspected a brain tumor, he had asked my mother, whether he had an accident, but she did not know anything about it and answered in the negative. My father could not answer questions anymore at that time. My uncle went back home and came soon afterwards with a surgeon. I remember the name, Dr. Kwiatkowski, a very good surgeon in Czernowitz, and he also asked whether there was any accident, and since my mother didn’t know anything, nothing could be done. My father became comatose and finally died on March 6th, 1897. I don’t know exactly how long he was ill. I think about two months. I am not sure. When there was the funeral, a postman came with a registered letter at the moment, when the coffin was brought out of the house, and my mother was supposed to sign the receipt, but she asked my uncle, the doctor, to sign it for her. And there was now a letter from an insurance company from Vienna. My father had written to that insurance company about the accident, and now it was clear, that he must have had a fractured skull. It was probably only a small crack and a hematoma (accumulation of blood) inside the skull, a so-called subdural hematoma, which caused enormous pressure on the brain by increasing in size. Now they knew that he had had an accident.

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