Kugler, Victor, born 05-06-1900 in Hohenelbe, Kablikstrasse 119, Austria-Hungary (now, Vrchlabí, Czech Republic) in Hohenelbe (now Vrchlabí) in the German-speaking part of Köninggrätz region (Královéhradecký kraj/Hradec Králové Region), north-eastern Bohemia, Austria-Hungary to Emma Kugler. Victor Kugler, who was called Victor Gustav after 1920, turned out to be an illegitimate child. The father of Kugler is unknown, his mother, Emilie Kugler, was seamstress in Hohenelbe. In 1917 Kugler became sailor in the Austrian navy, he joined the Austro-Hungarian Navy during the First World War once his education was completed, but was discharged in 1918 after being wounded. He moved to Germany and worked as an electrician, then in 1920, Kugler moved to Utrecht, the Netherlands, to work for a company selling pectin. He joined the Amsterdam branch of Opekta as Otto Frank’s deputy in 1924. Opekta, also known as Gies & Co., was a European pectin and spice company that existed between 1928 and 1995. Kugler became a Dutch citizen in May 1938. In 1940, this allowed him to prevent the Nazi confiscation of Opekta and he accepted the directorship of the business, renamed Gies and Co, from Otto Frank
. He and his wife, Laura Maria Buntenbach-Kugler (10-05-1895 – 06-12-1952), lived in Hilversum during the war, a distance of about 16 miles (26 km) from Amsterdam.
From July 1942 to August 1944, he aided his colleagues Miep Gies , Johannes “Jo” Kleiman and Elisabeth “Bep” Voskuijl in the concealment of eight people, including Anne Frank , in a sealed-off annex in their office premises on Amsterdam’s Prinsengracht. He was arrested by the Gestapo on 04-08-1944, by Karl Silberbauer .who also arrested the whole group of Anne Frank.
Kugler was interrogated at the Gestapo Headquarters on the Euterpestraat, then transferred the same day to a prison for Jews and ‘political prisoners’ awaiting deportation on the Amstelveenseweg. On 7 September, he was moved to the prison on Weteringschans, in a cell with people sentenced to death. This was followed, four days later on September 11, by a transport to a concentration camp in Amersfoort where he was selected for transport to Germany. On 17 September, the Amersfoort train station was destroyed in a bombing (Arnhem Air Raid) and on 26 September, he and around 1100 other men were taken to Zwolle for forced labour, digging anti-tank trenches. Kugler was moved again on 30-12-1944, to Wageningen for forced labour digging under the German S.A.(Brownshirts or Storm Troopers) until 28-03-1945, when some 600 prisoners were marched from Wageningen through Renkum, Heelsum, Oosterbeek, Arnhem, and Westervoort, to Zevenaar with the intention of going on to Germany the following day. There was a bombing raid during the march and Kugler took advantage of the confusion to escape. He was hidden by a farmer for a few days, borrowed a bicycle and made his way back to Hilversum, where he lived, and which he reached in April 1945. He hid there in his own house until the liberation of the Netherlands on 05-05-1945.
Death and burial ground of Kugler, Victor.
His wife, Laura Kugler, died on 06-12-1952 and three years later he married Lucie (Loes) van Langen. The couple moved to Canada, where the brother, sister and mother of Lucie already resided. On 16-09-1958, Kugler appeared as a guest challenger on the TV panel show To Tell The Truth.
In 1973, he received the Yad Vashem Medal of the Righteous among the Nations and in 1977 the Canadian Anti-Defamation League awarded him a 10,000 dollar prize in recognition for his assistance in the hiding of the Frank and van Pels families.
After an agony with Alzheimer’s disease Victor Kugler died 16-12-1981, aged 81, Toronto, Ontario, Canada and is buried with his wife Loes who died age 64 in 1991, on the Sanctuary Park Cemetery Etobicoke, Toronto Municipality, Ontario, Canada.