|Rudolph Franz Scucek|
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|Birth: ||May 30, 1923|
|Death: ||Jul. 20, 2007|
He was born in Pressbaum, Austria , the of son of Josef Skucek and Johanna Prochazka.
In 1938 Skucek joined the Hitler Youth only to be expelled soon after for his continued support and friendship with Hans Gerber, a Jew who had been forced to wear the yellow star.
Skucek then joined the medical division of the Luftwaffe. By 1945 he was serving on the front lines of the German army at Arnheim as a medical officer. After arguing with an artillery commander and personal representative of Adolf Hitler not to fire shells because the guns weren't properly calibrated, Skucek witnessed the friendly-fire bombardment of German troops. "Sie Schwein!" (You pig!) he told the commander to his face. Court-martialed for insubordination, he avoided the firing squad through a personal pardon from Hermann Goehring himself.
By war's end, he spent months in an American prisoner-of-war camp undergoing intensive questioning. On one such routine day in front of an array of allied military personnel, an American officer stood up in the back of the room and said, "I know Rudolf Skucek. He is one of us." The officer was his Jewish friend, Hans Gerber who had escaped Austria shortly before the war began. Despite recognition from across the room, the two never saw each other again.
After the war, Skucek help found Elba, a construction company in Germany where he served as Vice-President, overseeing international sales. He traveled the world many times over, meeting his wife Joannah Purnell on a flight over India while she was touring with her parents. The two were married on September 2, 1965 in Salzburg, Austria. Before their first child in 1970, he took Joannah on many of his trips around the globe.
It has been often said that Skucek's guardian angel had a full time job. Instincts dictated his actions throughout the years. They saved his life in Tehran in 1974 when the roof of a terminal wing at the Mehrabad International Airport collapsed, killing 85. It was an "impulse" he described that drove him out the door at the last possible moment, although he was never able to logically explain how he had known that disaster was so imminent.
After moving to Pennsylvania in 1984, Skucek became best known as the founder of the Christkindl Market held each year at the start of December in Mifflinburg since 1987. He was a member of the Kiwanis club and continued an active association with the German international society known as Schlaraffia where he was known as Knight Don Camillo.
Always one for stories and a good joke, Skucek loved speaking with strangers. He had a passion for dancing and a propensity for making women blush, often taking their hand and kissing it, spreading the warmest customs from his native land.
He is survived by his wife and their children, Alexander and Sascha, both of State College, and son and daughter from his first marriage to Annemarie Juergens, Juergen Skucek and Annemarie Wettstein of Germany. He is also survived by six grandchildren.
In lieu of flowers, please make a donation to the Mifflinburg Christkindl Market through the Mifflinburg Heritage and Revitalization Association.
Arrangements by Schwartz-Adamo Funeral and Cremation Services, Mifflinburg.
Bio based on obit in Mifflinburg Telegraph
Cremated, Ashes given to family or friend.
Created by: Leanne Keefer Bechdel
Record added: Aug 13, 2007
Find A Grave Memorial# 20928888
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