My life – in four countries

Learmont, John

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Born Hans Lehrberger in Germany in 1922, an only child, he writes of an unhappy childhood with few friends.  When his father died suddenly, his mother took him to Switzerland, where she had relatives.  The young boy fell instantly in love with Switzerland, loved school, made friends, and got involved in scouting and mountaineering.  He lived alone in a pension in Lausanne, his mother visiting every six months.  He was not lonely and overwhelmed with the beauty of the place.

When his mother died suddenly, her Swiss relative announced the boy should go to Bombay to work in a cotton waste mill owned by the family.  He had no choice in the matter.  He arrived in May 1939, lived in a Jewish guest house , was horrified by the mill, and not interested in learning the work.  When he realised his mother had given him financial freedom, he left. After being interned as an enemy alien, he got work in the office of the massive Sassoon trading company, then in the British pharmaceutical firm May & Baker, and realised he was born to business and accountancy.

He married Dagmar, whom he knew from the boarding house. They came to Melbourne in 1947,  Hans changed his name to John Learmont and drove timber trucks. Then got a job with International Harvester and began studying accountancy.   By 1959 he had three children and set up an independent business as an accountant.

When Dagmar died, he married Sonia, who died on the same date as Dagmar.  Late in life he married Susi.  John Learmont was an impeccable accountant and devoted to B’nai B’rith.