A Volunteers tribute to her Father’s love of Elephants

January 27, 2016

We would like to thank Diana and her sister for sharing their lovely remembrance of their father and his love of elephants.

“Our father collected elephants. Ever since we can remember there were elephants in the house. Dad started collecting long before we were born, so for at least 60 years or more. He told us that he liked elephants because they brought good luck, but they all had to be facing east toward Mecca for this to work. Birthdays, Christmas and Father’s day were all easy gift giving occasions for us, as all we had to do was buy our dad an elephant. Over the years, our parents collected elephants on their travels, and as we grew up and started travelling on our own, we too would buy elephants. We could not come home from a trip without producing an elephant. This was sometimes challenging, depending on the destination. Regardless, we would trudge around markets and gift stores until we found an elephant. Elephant shopping also became harder as the herd grew. Then we had the added pressure of producing a new and original elephant that our father did not already have. Our father organized the elephants by colour and composition. There was a glass section, a brass section, a black (ebony) section and a multicultural section. As the elephants increased, Dad had to buy a shelf to accommodate the growing numbers. Our parents also found a large elephant table that holds about 50 elephants. The table is also facing east which makes it a little awkward entering the elephant room as the room faces west. At one point in time our mother declared a moratorium on new elephant purchases as she felt they were taking over the house. However, after she passed away, the herd continued to grow. My father found a large elephant at a garage sale and spent days “rehabilitating” him (painstakingly repairing a broken tusk and retouching paint that had scraped away) At last count we have approximately 260 elephants. Our father passed away a year ago and although he is gone his elephants will always remain with us. The only problem is that they need their own room!”

I (Diana) chose to volunteer with Elephanatics to continue the family tradition and to honour our father’s memory. Below are a couple of pictures from his collection.

In memory of Edmund Hartel

Dr. Diana Hartel

Renée Hartel-Mohrmann



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