Rakaia Gorge resident Butch Stern had never laid his eyes on his parents’ old passports until last week.
The passports are one of his few reminders of their lives and also a stark reminder of their traumatic flight from Nazi-occupied Austria in 1939.
The passports feature the Nazi swastika, a large letter J for Juden, or Jews, and refer to the Austrian capital of Vienna (Wien) as being in Germany. Friedrick and Hedwig Lustig-Stern were among the lucky ones to escape the Holocaust, which took the lives of an estimated six million Jews.
Mr Stern said apart from an aunt who managed to flee to Hungary, his entire family had been wiped out by the Nazis. He had met the aunt shortly before her death.
Mr Stern, who runs Mt Hutt Lodge with his wife Jo and has lived in New Zealand for 15 years, said his parents had settled in the USA in 1939, but the flight to freedom took its toll on them.
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