Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : May 15th 2014 Contents holocaust whom Hans reconnected with in
the early 50s."
"Hans has served his adopted country
with distinction, in tourism as chair of the
Tourist Board, as Chamber of Commerce
president and as longest-serving Rotarian.
"It was through his efforts that extended
shop opening hours became a reality in
T&T. He was also honorary consul for Aus-
She described him as a "walking ency-
clopedia," knowledgeable on everything from
architecture to languages and geology.
"He was the most gracious man I ever
knew and we have lost a treasure. It is the
end of an era," she added.
Life-long friend, Jean-Paul Simone,
described Stecher as "a man who was pas-
sionate about life and travel, had a wealth
of knowledge and loved to share. He was
wise, kind, a great leader and a loyal friend.
A true renaissance man."
Nicholas Jagged, a young member of
Trinidad s Jewish community, described
Stecher on Facebook as a "patriarch of the
Jewish community who inculcated within
me a love for Trinidadian Jewelry and
showed me the importance of fighting to
keep our tiny community together."
Speaking to the T&T Guardian, Jagged
added: "Hans was 60 years my senior but
he was my friend.
"When I returned to Trinidad from Israel
in 2009 I began to regard him as a second
"Hans shared with me many stories of
his long and varied life but the one which
stands out to me the most, even more than
the adventures he had escaping Nazi per-
secution, is the story of how he met his
She explained: "Sheila walked into his
Stechers store on Frederick Street and asked
him if they had a particular amber necklace.
Hans didn t have it but he searched high-
and-low and sourced it.
"A week later, when she returned, he pre-
sented it to her and with a confident smile
asked her on a date. Hans loved Sheila so
much, it was in everything he was.
"We talked about the arts, business, lit-
erature, sciences, travelling, religion and
Judaism but there was nothing he was more
passionate about than Sheila, who passed
away in August of 2010 in Mykonos, Greece,
while they were on vacation."
Marianna Collimore, who passed away
at the end of 2010, was the second last Jew-
ish escapee from Nazi Europe.
It was Stecher s wish that his collection
of Jewish memorabilia be donated to the
University of the West Indies.
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Thursday, May 15, 2014
CLAIM TO CEMETERY
NOTICE is hereby given
pursuant to a claim by
of 93 Aquamarine Drive,
Diamond Vale, Diego
Martin who has applied
to the Mayor, Aldermen
and Citizens of the City
of Port-of-Spain here-
inafter called "the
Corporation" for the
grant to her of the
Exclusive Right of Burial
in an allotment in the
measuring 1.22m by
3.05m and situated in
Block No. 38 East of 2nd
Street on 6th row, 1st
grave space no. 475
and registered in the
name of HENRY
HOLDER and that the
Corporation intends to
issue to the said
the grants applied for
unless objection to the
issue thereof is lodged
with the Corporation
Corporation is satisfied,
after investigation, that
the objector has shown
sufficient cause why
such grant should not be
Chief Executive Officer
Hans Stecher, who was the last of Trinidad s
Jewish World War Two escapees, died at home at
the age of 90.
Arriving with his mother and father in 1938 at
age 15, Stecher and his family escaped Austria a year
before the outbreak of war and the horror of the
holocaust which killed six million of Europe s Jews.
Soon after Britain declared war on Hitler s Germany
in 1939---after Hitler had annexed Austria and
Czechoslovakia and then invaded Poland---the German
and Austria Jews who had arrived in Trinidad (includ-
ing the Stecher family) were rounded up by military
police and interned in British POW camps down the
Later they were moved to an internment camp,
specially built at what is now Federation Park.
Germans and Austrians were considered the enemy
by the British and with suspicions abounding of
international Nazi spy networks, British-ruled T&T
took no chances.
They locked up anybody who held those passports,
regardless of the fact that they were Jewish refugees.
Back home, some of Stecher s extended family
became victims of the holocaust.
In 1945 he founded the Stechers jewelry store of
which there are now ten stores nationwide. He also
was noted for being the longest standing member
of the Rotary Club of T&T, having joined in 1957.
A death notice in the T&T Guardian said he was
president of T&T s Jewish Society.
His funeral takes place today from 9.30 am at
Lion s Civic Centre, Port-of-Spain. He will be buried
at the Bet Olam Jewish section of Mucurapo cemetery
at 2.30 pm, alongside his parents, wife and aunt.
Stecher s wish was to have his rites delivered by
a reformed rabbi, since he was not an orthodox Jew
but T&T does not have any synagogues or rabbis.
At short notice, finding a reform rabbi from abroad
was difficult. Instead, Adam Zilber, an Israeli who
officiated at the burial of Hans wife, Sheila, will
preside and perform the ceremony according to
reform Jewish rites.
Members of T&T s small Jewish community, num-
bering no more than 50, paid respects to Stecher.
Barbara Malins-Smith, the Guyanese-born Israel
honorary consul told the T&T Guardian:
"I first met Hans Stecher in 1966 when, as a
young girl, I was the house guest for Carnival of him
and his beloved wife, Sheila. They were visited that
year by his cousin Charles Stecher, a survivor of the
Stecher, a Nazi escapee, dies
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