Of Blessed Memory
1929 – 2016
Zdenko Bergl, an only child, grew up in Zabno, Croatia, a small town with only five Jewish families. Zdenko played soccer, attended public school, and had Hebrew lessons on Sunday. The Bergls enjoyed warm relationships with their non-Jewish employees and neighbors and experienced very little overt antisemitism. However, in April 1941, the Germans occupied Croatia and his father was arrested. After family connections enabled him to be released, the family fled to Italy, where a priest helped them obtain forged papers and they spent the rest of the war passing as non-Jews until their liberation in August 1944. They lived in the Cinecittá displaced persons camp until their immigration to the United States. In 1949, Zdenko married Evelyn Arzt, whom he had met in Cinecittá.
Testimonies may be used for individual research with proper citation. All other uses require written permission from MCHE. The above video testimony is edited from a full-length testimony that may be viewed onsite at the Midwest Center for Holocaust Education or at the Fortunoff Video Archive for Holocaust Testimonies at Yale University