I mentioned the Briton J.L. Loughnan in Part III of my series on beer in Mandate Palestine. He worked for London brewery Barclay Perkins, marketing its beer in Palestine.
I learned more about him, which I relate below. As it doesn’t pertain to beer in Palestine as such, the post stands on its own.
It sheds interesting light on a brewing executive’s life as WW II was approaching, and confronting anti-Semitism
A Letter of Import
On July 27, 1939 Barclay Perkins issued a letter meant to be delivered in person. It was signed J.L. Loughnan, addressed to a firm in Christchurch, N.Z. It is short but makes its point: to “introduce” the bearer, Egon Schoenberger, and requesting the addressee firm help Schoenberger obtain employment, and otherwise on his “hard road”.*
Loughnan states he has never met Schoenberger, and expresses regret he had not done so. He states also the letter was issued as a favour to Paul Eveque in Champagne in France, a close friend of Loughnan’s.
Schoenberger, 24, was a German-born Jewish refugee who had fled Nazi Germany to complete his doctoral legal studies in Berne (Switzerland), on wine regulation. Eveque had arranged evidently with Loughnan to write the letter, to facilitate Schoenberger’s re-settlement in a far-away land. Schoenberger left his mother and sister behind, sheltered in Rheims, France by Eveque, and travelled to New Zealand unaccompanied, a seven-week journey by ship.
New Zealand accepted him as a refugee due to his knowledge of the European wine industry, since it was trying to develop its own. Schoenberger remained in New Zealand for the rest of his life. On his death his daughter contributed his papers to the museum, much of it in hard-to read, “cursive” German. Only when these papers were deciphered did the full story of his trek, and second life in New Zealand, become known.
Schoenberger was born in Mainz, on the Rhine. His family owned a reputed sparkling wine business, and was prosperous before the Nazi persecutions.
Loughnan’s letter appears here, fully readable with some magnification. Further details, images, and extracts from Schoenberger’s diary are set out in a well-written, 24-part blog series, “Egon’s Story”, in the museum website. Images of the family winery are included. Additional ones may be viewed on the Facebook page of the museum.
The Schoenbergers made a high quality sekt, following the Champagne process, hence surely their connections with Taittinger, where Paul Eveque worked.
Whether the time Loughnan spent in Palestine had any impact on the letter, I don’t know, but I incline that it did. Loughnan probably knew Eveque through trade circles, as some British breweries had wine and spirits divisions, hence dealing with European suppliers.
There was no prior connection between the Schoenberger family and Barclay Perkins, as far as I know.
Probably many people, in many countries at the time, had been asked to provide the kind of assistance Paul Eveque did for the Schoenbergers, but refused.
Paul Eveque said, yes.
Probably many people, in many countries at the time, were asked to write the kind of letter John Loughnan did for Egon Schoenberger, but refused.
John Loughnan said yes, and with Paul Eveque helped save Egon’s life.**
*It appears the firm were Chartered Accountants. Probably Barclay Perkins had dealt with them for beer exports to New Zealand.
**Loughnan’s first name was John. I will have yet more to say of John Loughnan, soon.