Zita Hera Engler

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Zita Hera Engler (Laufer)

Birthplace: Vienna, Austria
Death: April 02, 2000 (87)
Panama City, Panama, Panama, Panama
Immediate Family:

Daughter of Richard Laufer and Hedwig (Hedvika) Laufer
Wife of Gustav Andreas Engler Waldner
Mother of Private and Private
Sister of Gerda Frank

Managed by: Gina Engler
Last Updated:
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Immediate Family

About Zita Hera Engler

  • Zita was born in Vienna in 1912 and lived there until 1936.
  • She graduated from high school in 1924. Thereafter, she studied two professions in Vienna: Photography at the Graphische Lehr-Und Versuchsanstalt; and Dress Design at the Wiener Frauen Akademie
  • From 1931-1936, Zita worked alongside her sister, Gerda, who owned a boutique in Vienna, as the Dress Designer.
  • From 1936-1938, Gerda and Zita moved their fashion business to Bratislava due to antisemitism.
  • From 1938-1939, Zita was hiding in Bratislava.
  • Her fiance of 10 years, Gustav, encouraged her in January 1939 to wait for him in London, until he could find steady work and get married. At the time, he was lucky to be working as a doctor on a Swedish steamship, having also escaped Vienna.
  • March 2, 1939 was the date Zita arrived in London. Her father and a relative were able to organize to get necessary papers and she left with the equivalent of $7 USD hidden in her suitcase. At that time it was difficult to get money out of the bank or out of the country.
  • Zita never saw her father and sister, as well as most of her relatives again. Gerda was deported with her husband to concentration camps, and her father died while hiding from lack of medical care. Her mother had cancer and died in 1937, shortly before her departure from Bratislava.
  • Safe in London, Zita lived with a friend and at the Czech Refugee Trust Fund hospital, mostly sheltered in bomb shelters once Blitz-Krieg gained force in England
  • Her fiancé finally found a steady job in Panama and Zita left on September 8, 1940 from Liverpool to Kingston, Jamaica, and then on to Panama. She left on the Elders and Fyffes Fruit ship on one of its last voyages before being commissioned for the war effort.
  • Upon arriving to Panama on October 10, 1940, Gus and Zita married and moved to Almirante, where they remained until Gus's death in 1965.
  • As a widow, Zita lived in Panama City, closer to her children, and in touch with friends and the few relatives she found out survived. There were more that she couldn't trace. Her descendants are actively looking for surviving relatives and to learn more about the family.
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Zita Hera Engler's Timeline

December 13, 1912
Vienna, Austria
Age 11
Age 18
Age 26
April 2, 2000
Age 87
Panama City, Panama, Panama, Panama