Victor Kugler

Victor Kugler was born on the 6th of June 1900 in Hohenelbe. Victor’s birth certificate indicates that he was born out-of-wedlock. The name of his father is not known; his mother Emma Kugler was a seamstress in Hohenelbe. Victor is a good student. He excels in religion, geography, and history, is doing well in gymnastics and mathematics.

After his education at a vocational school for weaving, Victor has several jobs. During an assembly job in Utrecht for the Deutsche Maschinenfabrik he meets Laua Maria Buntenbach. He finds another job and stays in the Netherlands. In 1923 he receives his diploma in Dutch Business Correspondence and is working for a firm that sells pectin to producers of jam. Victor Kugler meets Otto Frank through the pectin business. In 1933, he becomes one of the first employees at Otto Frank’s newly established Opekta Company in Amsterdam.

In the Austrian marines

In 1917, Victor becomes a sailor with the Austrian marines and is wounded, resulting in him being discharged from military service two months later. World War 1 ends in November 1918. European society has been through a tumultuous period. Hohenelbe is now part of Czechoslovakia, not Austria.

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Owner on paper

On May 10, 1940 the German Army occupies the Netherlands. Jews in the Netherlands may no longer own businesses. To keep the Germans from confiscating Opekta, Otto Frank transfers the company over, into the hands of his non-Jewish employees. Victor Kugler becomes the director of Gies and Co, the firm dealing in spices, which continues Pectacon’s trade.

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Support and confidant

Victor Kugler is an important source of assistance and moral support. In 1977, Otto Frank described how Kugler helped those in hiding: “During the hiding period Mr. Kugler came to our hiding place just about everyday. He brought newspapers, magazines, and other necessities and tried to give us much moral support by depicting the situation as optimistically as possible and by not passing along bad news to us. Sometimes he succeeded in buying rationing coupons on the black market. Primarily, however, Mr. Kugler sold bulk orders of spices without recording the sale and he was then able to pass the money along to us. This was terribly important because over the course of the two-year hiding period our supplies were being used up. The responsibility that Mr. Kugler took upon himself was an enormous burden and he was always stressed, especially since his wife knew nothing about us, so he couldn’t talk to her about his worries.”

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June 6, 1900

Born in Hohenelbe (Austria-Hungary). His mother’s name is Emma, his father’s name is unknown.

January 30, 1910

Victor Kugler goes to school in Germany, and in 1916 he graduates from a vocational school for weaving.

1917

During the First World War Kugler serves as a sailor in the Austrian navy.

April 1918

Kugler is wounded in the war and discharged from military service.

1920

Victor emigrates to the Netherlands.

In the middle of the 1920’s

Kugler begins work for a company in Utrecht which sells pectin, an ingredient used in making jam.

1928

Victor marries Laura Maria Buntenbach, who is Dutch.

1933

Kugler starts work at Opekta, Otto Frank’s company. He applies for Dutch citizenship.

1938

Austria joins forces with Nazi Germany; Victor becomes a Dutch citizen.

December 1941

Jews in the Netherlands are no longer allowed to own their own businesses. Otto Frank transfers his directorship to Kugler, who continues Pectacon’s trade but secretly Otto remains the boss.

July 6, 1942

The Frank family go into hiding in the secret annex. Victor becomes one of the helpers.

August 4, 1944

Kugler is arrested together with the eight people in hiding. They are all first taken to the SD (Nazi security police) headquarters on the Euterpestraat in Amsterdam. The same day Kugler and Kleiman are transferred to the prison on the Amstelveenseweg.

September 7, 1944

Kugler and Kleiman are transferred to the prison on the Weteringschans in Amsterdam.

September 11, 1944

Victor is taken together with Johannes Kleiman to Amersfoort concentration camp (the Netherlands).

At the end of March, 1945

Victor Kugler escapes during a forced march, and goes into hiding for the rest of the war.

December 6, 1952

Kugler’s wife dies.

22 October 1953

Victor marries again, to Lucie van Langen.

1955

Kugler emigrates to Canada, and works there as an electrician and insurance agent. He also gives talks about Anne Frank in schools.

1973

Victor Kugler receives the honour ‘Righteous among the Nations’ from Yad Vashem for his help to the people in hiding.

December 14, 1981

Kugler dies in Toronto (Canada).

Otto Frank Anne and Margot's father, Edith's husband

Otto sets up a business in the Netherlands. After that, his family can come over too.

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Jo Kleiman Accountant for Opekta and Pectacon

Always cheerful and upbeat, despite being plagued by stomach ulcers

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Wat Anne over Victor schrijft

Mijnheer Kugler maakt me elke maandag blij als hij de Cinema & Theater meebrengt. Hoewel deze verwennerij vaak als geldverspilling door de onmondaine huisgenoten betiteld wordt, staan ze elke keer weer verbaasd over de nauwkeurigheid, waarmee ik na een jaar nog precies de medespelers in een bepaalde film op kan noemen.