Zdenko Bergl is the son of Nandor and Ilonka Bergl. He was born in August 23, 1929 in Sv. Ivan Zabno, Croatia, where his father owned a brick and tile factory. In April 1941, after Germany invaded Yugoslavia, the country became divided into different zones of occupation. Croatia became an independent Fascist puppet state. Immediately, the Ustasa began attacking Jews and Serbs. A few months later, in August 1941 when Zdenko was twelve-years old, his family decided to leave their hometown. They first went to Zagreb to pick up a couple of relatives, and as a larger family unit they traveled to Kraljevica in the German zone. As it was quite dangerous, they stayed there only temporarily until the following February when they could go to Ljubljana, in the Italian zone. Once in Ljubljana and had an opportunity to go to Italy proper, they moved to Modena. There they lived in "free-confinement" with the Mitrani-Andreoli family. This meant that though they had to report regularly to the police, they could live relatively unfettered lives. In September 1943 Italy negotiated an independent cease-fire with the Allies. Germany reacted immediately by occupying northern and central Italy and rounding-up Jews for deportation. The Bergls succeeded in securing false papers from the local church authorities and fled to a prearranged location in Florence. Zdenkos' false papers named him as Luigi Bianchi. These papers were for use only in an emergency and probably were never used. Zdenko, his parents, Uncle Paul and Aunt Ruza stayed in Florence with the family of Neila Fussi from September 1943 until the end of the war in August 1944. After liberation they resided in the Cinecitta displaced persons' camp in Rome. There, Zdenko met Evelyn Arzt, originally from Vienna. After completing high school in September 1947 Zdenko moved to Lake Como to study engineering. In 1949 the Bergls received immigration papers for the U.S. They sailed from Naples to New York in November 1949 aboard the U.S. transport vessel Marine Jumper. After coming to the States, Zdenko reconnected with Evelyn Arzt and married her in 1954.