December 11, 2009


My neighbor Betty Lou just called me with the sad news that Robert Mendler died last evening. The 84-year old was born July 6, 1925, in Nowy-Targ, Poland.

Bob was the only surviving Holocaust survivor in Latrobe, PA. We will all miss this heroic man whom my husband, Monte and I, had the privilege of visiting on December 8. He spoke of his plans to cover the desk at Latrobe Hospital on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, something he had done for twenty-five years. He and his wife wanted Christians to have the day to celebrate with their families. 

To view photos, click on: &

His story is posted in the HOLOCAUST folder on this site, with the first installment at 



Bob is survived by two sons, Michael (wife Stacy) Mendler Stacy of McClean of VA, and Mark (fiancee Shelly Piper) Mendler of Greensburg, PA. Other survivors include family members of his late wife, Joan.

He was preceded in death by 89 family members who died in the Holocaust, and his wife Joan Pretter Mendler, who died April 6, 1009.

Robert Reibeisen Mendler’s funeral is scheduled on Tuesday, December 15, 2009 in Beth Israel Synagogue*. Visitation time is 10:00 until noon, the time of the funeral. Interment at B’nai Israel Cemetery** will follow the funeral.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the following:

Beth Israel Synagogue*

The National Catholic Center for Holocaust Education***

I would invite any of you who would like to remember Bob to do so by clicking the Leave a Comment link  below and filling in the comment box. Your E-mail address will not be publicized.

I will forward any comments to Bob Mendler’s family.

Carolyn C. Holland

*Beth Israel Synagogue is located at 414 Weldon St., Patrobe, PA., 15650

**B’nai Israel Cemetery is in Hempfield Township.

***The National Catholic Center for Holocaust Education, Attention Sr. Lois Sculeo—Seton Hill University, Seton Hill Drive, Greensburg, PA, 15601



  1. Thank you Carolyn for sharing Mr. Robert Mendler’s life story with us over the years. I have known a little about his life and was happy to share a beloved book with him two years ago. I hope you or someone, if the family permits, writes a book about him. He will remain a treasured person who shared life with us.

    My deepest sympathies to The Mendler Family, and Friends.

    Ms. Peggy Jo Farr

    Comment by Peggy Jo Farr — December 11, 2009 @ 4:38 pm | Reply

  2. I am devastated at the loss of my dear friend, Bob Mendler. There was never a more kind or gracious soul that ever lived on Earth. After losing his entire family in the Holocaust, Bob came to America and made a wonderful life for himself.

    I was honored to meet Bob when my family moved to western PA and we became good friends. I will miss Bob terribly – he was one of my favorite people in the whole world. After all that happened to him, including the recent loss of his wife, he still faced every day with a smile and a kind word.

    I loved him dearly, and the world will never be the same without him.

    Comment by Mitch Goldstein — December 11, 2009 @ 7:02 pm | Reply

  3. Comments off Ligonier Living

    liggy girl said…
    I’m so sad to hear this. He definitely touched many lives with his experience and the truth will live on. R.I.P. Mr. Mendler.

    December 11, 2009 1:05 PM

    liggy girl said…
    That was wonderful reading. Made me cry. It’s hard to believe such evil could take place, but it did. Those that do not believe it ever took place may God touch their souls.

    December 11, 2009 1:56 PM

    Comment by Carolyn C. Holland — December 11, 2009 @ 8:47 pm | Reply

  4. I saw Bob speak to the New Stanton – Youngwood Rotary Club a couple of months ago. I can not express the impact that his presentation had on me. I`m not ashamed to say that I cried through the entire presentation. The evil that Hitler bestowed upon people is unimaginable. Rotary works toward peace and understanding. We will never forget Mr. Mendler and through Rotary will work to see that it never happens again. May he rest in peace with his beloved wife. My sympathies extended to the family

    Comment by Mary Aiello — December 11, 2009 @ 9:26 pm | Reply

  5. Off Ligonier Living…

    Amy said…
    I remember getting shoes from his store when we were kids. He was a very kind and generous man. My prayers are with his friends and family.
    December 11, 2009 5:06 PM

    Comment by carolyncholland — December 12, 2009 @ 1:34 am | Reply

  6. Off Ligonier Living:

    Bo~Peep said…
    I worked with him many years ago getting his story of his time spent in 11 concentration camps in Germany. We became good friends and I just got to spend some time with him again last July 4th before the parade. Wonderful man, wonderful family. I am sad for us that he left behind but happy for his reunion with his wife and his family that he lost so tragically long ago. Funeral is Tuesday 10 a.m.-noon at the Synagogue in Latrobe on Weldon Street.
    December 11, 2009 5:40 PM

    Comment by carolyncholland — December 12, 2009 @ 1:35 am | Reply

  7. I had the honor of traveling to Poland with Bob and Joan with a group of educators who were studying about the Holocaust. We visited Nowy Targ and witnessed as Bob reclaimed his hometown, found childhood friends, and was honored by the town leaders. We also traveled with him to the cemetery where his father was killed, to Belzec where 89 members of his family were exterminated and then Birkenau, where he experienced some of the most inhumane treatment of all of the camps. Despite reliving the horrors with him, the strongest memories that remain are those of his indomitable spirit, his deep desire for remembrance and honor for the victims, and of his love of life.
    I am deeply saddened by the loss of Bob’s light in this world, but I am also rejoicing that he is reunited with so many loved ones.
    Shalom, Bob!

    Comment by Nancy Aloi Rose — December 12, 2009 @ 1:13 pm | Reply

  8. I never had the privilege of knowing Bob Mendler bu just a week or so ago I had communicated with him and he e-mailed to say he would call me. We share similar Holocaust history. We were both from Nowy Targ, Poland. He recently e-mailed me to say that he knew my parents, grandparents and even my great great grandfather Solomom Singer. He told me that he remembered me also. My grandfather had a hardware store across the street from his families business. I was just a little girl. I wish we could have met,

    I extend my deepest sympathy to Bob’s family.

    Janet Singer Applefield

    Comment by janet singer applefield — December 13, 2009 @ 1:29 pm | Reply

  9. Off Ligonier Living:

    Anonymous said…
    My uncle was an amazing man , I have nothing but fond memories of him .It had been several years since I had seen him and I know his health had been getting worst over the years . He really taught us all about the true meaning of life . Gregory Spevack
    December 12, 2009 2:51 PM

    Comment by carolyncholland — February 2, 2010 @ 12:46 am | Reply

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