Meisler (Erblich), Regina

Meisler (Erblich), Regina

Vienna (Austria), Jerusalem

Regina Erblich Meisler was born in Vienna in 1921.  She lived there until 1933 and then in Israel until 1958.  She came to New York and lived there until 1997 when she moved to Detroit.

Regina said that there was a great deal of anti-Semitism in her school. She and her mother left for Israel, leaving her father behind.  She took a boat there but because of a storm in Haifa, all their possessions were lost.

When they arrived, Israel had no water, electricity or roads.  It was very primitive and the Arabs were constantly attacking.  But the Israelis were determined to have a country.

She lived in an apartment with no electricity.  Jerusalem was being developed and the European Jews brought in culture.  In 1937, Regina started to help smuggle in the Jews, but they were held up in Cyprus.  The British were the rulers at that time.

In 1948, the gates opened and Regina continued her smuggling for the next three years, together with a team of two others.  She lived in Jerusalem where there was no food and bombing going on 24 hours a day.  They were limited to one pail of water per day.  Food trickled in by way of the Burma Road.

Her father joined them in 1939.  He was an expert on handwritten scrolls, such as The Dead Sea Scrolls.  He traveled to Iraq to find more scrolls and then opened a factory in Israel, making tefillin.  He died in 1942.

Her brother was a world renowned orthodox cantor and her other brother was an engineer and builder.  Her father was an ordained rabbi, but without a congregation.  Regina’s father sent money to sustain them.

She worked for the British army as a payroll master and then became manager of notes payable. Regina came to the U.S. in 1958 because her son wanted to study aeronautical engineering.

Her uncle (perhaps great-uncle) was Moishe Blau who was asked to become the President of Israel before Chaim Weitzman. He saved Jews and brought them to Israel.  Ruth was French and a Jewish convert, she saved children during the Holocaust by bringing them to Israel.

Interview information:

Interviewer: Robert Feldman
Date: 11/23/04 and 12/28/2004
Length: 33 minutes
Format: Video recording