Day to re­mem­ber sol­diers

Auckland City Harbour News - - NEWS - By JESS ETHERIDGE

AN­ZAC Day is about re­mem­ber­ing fallen sol­diers on ei­ther side of the bat­tle lines for West­mere’s Sam Mey­er­hoff.

His Jewish great-grand­fa­ther Theodor Mey­er­hoff fought for the Ger­mans in World War I but be­came a tar­get dur­ing the sec­ond ‘‘war to end all wars’’.

On Novem­ber 9, 1938 – known as Kristall­nacht or the night of bro­ken glass – Nazi sol­diers ran­sacked prop­erty owned by Jewish cit­i­zens, with many killed and thou­sands taken to con­cen­tra­tion camps.

Theodor Mey­er­hoff owned a can­ning busi­ness and reg­u­larly trav­elled across Ger­many for his work.

On Kristall­nacht he rang his wife be­fore he boarded his train to say he would be home soon. She told him stay on the train un­til the raids were over.

That saved his 13, says.

In the lead-up to World War II, Theodor Mey­er­hoff be­lieved his ser­vice in the Ger­man army would keep him safe. But when the Nazi threat and World War II

life, Sam, loomed he and his wife fled to the United States, leav­ing al­most ev­ery­thing be­hind.

‘‘When you’ve got a per­son like Theodor, I don’t cel­e­brate An­zac just for New Zealand sol­diers. I cel­e­brate for all sol­diers. I re­mem­ber for all cul­tures,’’ Sam says.

Sam was born in the US, grew up in Scot­land and moved to mul­ti­cul­tural Auck­land in 2010.

His mum Miriam baked An­zac cook­ies for him while they lived in Scot­land so he has al­ways known the day’s sig­nif­i­cance, Sam says.

Sam never knew his grand­fa­ther – Theodor Mey­er­hoff’s son – and the family heir­looms can be counted on just one hand.

A photo of Theodor Mey­er­hoff and his Iron Cross from mil­i­tary ser­vice mean a lot to Sam.

‘‘Keep­ing heir­looms means I know him. Lit­tle stuff like that keeps me con­nected.’’

Photo: JESS ETHERIDGE

Sur­vival story: Sam Mey­er­hoff, 13, with a photo of his great­grand­fa­ther Theodor Mey­er­hoff.

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