Aino Rockler, who was born in Estonia, survived nine months in a German forced labor camp during World War II and became a Rockville homemaker and garden club member, died Dec. 23 at Suburban Hospital in Bethesda. She was 88.
The cause was lung cancer, said her daughter, Julia Tillery.
Aino Allekand was born on the Estonian island of Saaremaa and entered into an arranged marriage at her mother’s behest during the Nazi occupation of her homeland during World War. She tried with her first husband, Voldemar Juris, to flee the country by boat, but they were captured by German forces on the Baltic Sea, her family said.
She worked in a labor camp near Chemnitz, Germany, until being liberated by Allied forces at the war’s end and sent to a displaced-persons camp near Nuremberg, Germany.
Divorced from her first husband, she soon met Walter J. Rockler, an American lawyer who was helping prosecute war criminals at the Nuremberg trials in the late 1940s. They married in 1949 and, after years in New York and the Chicago area, settled in the Washington area in 1966. She was a Rockville resident.
In the late 1960s, Mrs. Rockler successfully advocated the adoption of a school reading program called “Junior Great Books” at Luxmanor Elementary School in North Bethesda. She was a member of a garden club in the Tilden Woods neighborhood of Rockville.
Her husband died in 2002. Survivors include their four children, Elliot Rockler and Julia Tillery, both of Rockville, James Rockler of Boulder, Colo., and Nicolas Rockler of Belmont, Mass.; nine grandchildren; and three great-grandchildren.
— Adam Bernstein