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Portrait photograph by Judy Glickman of a Jewish Danish refugee

Object | Accession Number: 2010.206.14

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    Portrait photograph by Judy Glickman of a Jewish Danish refugee


    Brief Narrative
    Black and white photographic print taken by Judy Glickman in 1992 of Victor Borge, a Danish humorist and pianist. Throughout the 1930s, Victor toured Europe; he played music and told anti-Nazi jokes. When the Germans invaded Denmark, Victor was performing in Sweden. He did not return to Denmark, but sailed from Finland on the USS American Legion, arriving in the United States on August 28, 1940. Germany occupied Denmark on April 9, 1940, but allowed the Danish government to retain control of domestic affairs. Jews were not molested and the German presence was limited. After the Germans invaded the Soviet Union in 1941 and began to face military setbacks, a Danish resistance movement developed. On August 29, 1943, the Germans declared martial law and began to address the Jewish problem. A mass deportation was scheduled for October 1. The plan was leaked and Danish citizens organized a large scale rescue effort to hide the Jews and, by the eve of the deportation, had ferried 7000 people, nearly all the Jews in Denmark, to neutral Sweden.
    Artwork Title
    Victor Borge
    creation:  1992
    creation: Denmark
    Credit Line
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of Judith Ellis Glickman
    Photographer: Judy E. Glickman
    Subject: Judy E. Glickman
    Subject: Victor Borge
    Judy Ellis Glickman is a photographer and the daughter of Dr. Irving Bennett and Louise Ellis. Her father was a noted CAlifornia pictorialist photographer in the 1930s and 1940s. She pursued photography at a young age and obtained a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1959 from the University of California at Los Angeles. She studied photography at UCLA from 1978-1985, the Maine Photographic Workshop from 1978-87, and the Portland School of Art from 1984-1985. Her grandparents emigrated to the United States at the turn of the 20th century, and her mother and grandmother in 1914. Though not a child of a Holocaust survivor, it was while visiting concentration camps in Poland in 1988 that she began to wonder how many unknown family members perished. During this trip, the work became more personal, real, and meaningful to her. She returns to Europe every year to visit and photograph Holocaust sites. She was asked by the Thanks to Scandinavia Foundation to create a photographic narrative documenting the Danish rescue effort. She has exhibited extensively and won numerous awards. Both her sons are rabbis. She is on the board of the Portland Museum of Art in Maine and is a fellow of the Royal Photographic Society in England.
    Borge Rosenbaum was born on January 3, 1909, in Copenhagen, Denmark, to a Jewish family. His father, Bernhard, was born in 1847, and was a violinist with the Royal Danish Chapel. His mother, Frederikke, was born in 1876, and was a pianist. The youngest of 5 boys, he began playing the piano at age 3, and performed his first recital when he was 8. In 1918, he attended the Copenhagen Music Conservatory on a full scholarship and studied piano in Vienna under Victor Schioler and in Berlin under Frederic Lamond and Egon Petri. He played his first major concert in 1926.
    Realizing that he would never be a concert pianist, Borge developed an act combining piano music with standup comedy. He became well- known in Scandinavia and starred in comedy movies and performed on stage. His father died in 1932 and Borge married an American, Elsie Chilton, in 1933. He embarked on a European tour and included anti-Nazi jokes in his repertoire. At times, these jokes made him the target of physical and verbal abuse.
    He was in Sweden rehearsing for a show when the Germans invaded Denmark on April 9, 1940. He went to the American consulate and obtained a visa to Finland. He left on the USS American Legion and arrived in the United States on August 28, 1940. He returned to Denmark once during the occupation, disguised as a sailor, to visit his mother who died that same year. When he arrived in the U.S., he had no money and did not speak English. He learned the language by watching movies and translated his act into English. He changed his name to Victor Borge and began performing in night clubs.
    From December 1941 to 1943, he appeared on Bing Crosby’s Kraft Music Hall radio show. In 1945 he had his own radio show on NBC and made his debut at Carnegie Hall. He became a U.S. citizen in 1948. He divorced Elsie, with whom he had 2 children, and married Sarabel Sanna Scraper in 1953 and she became his manager. They had 3 children. On October 2, 1953, he opened a show, Comedy in Music, on Broadway.
    In 1963 he cofounded the Thanks to Scandinavia Fund, which provides scholarships to Scandinavian and Bulgarian students in gratitude to those who helped Jews escape during World War II. He was presented a Kennedy Center Honors award in 1999, was knighted by all Scandinavian nations, and honored by the United Nations and the United States Congress.

    Physical Details

    Physical Description
    Black and white gelatin silver photographic print, landscape orientation, medium shot, lit from the front, depicting an older white male with short white hair worn in a side part, leaning on a piano, holding a stuffed duck. He is facing the camera smiling. He has dark eyebrows, a well trimmed mustache, deeply lined face, and undereye bags. He is wearing a single breasted suit jacket over a white button down shirt and a dark tie. Books and a floral arrangement are on the piano and a book of Chopin Waltzes and open sheet music is on the music rack. The print is attached to a top hinged mat board with photo corners on the backboard. Pencil stop lines and illegible text are on the reverse of the window mat.
    overall: Height: 13.500 inches (34.29 cm) | Width: 17.000 inches (43.18 cm)
    pictorial area: Height: 6.120 inches (15.545 cm) | Width: 9.380 inches (23.825 cm)
    overall : mat board, gelatin silver print, pressure-sensitive tape, plastic, adhesive, graphite
    front frame, reverse, lower right, pencil : illegible text

    Rights & Restrictions

    Conditions on Access
    No restrictions on access
    Conditions on Use
    Restrictions on use. Donor retains copyright for this collection.

    Keywords & Subjects

    Administrative Notes

    The photograph was donated to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in 2010 by Judith Ellis Glickman.
    Funding Note
    The cataloging of this artifact has been supported by a grant from the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany.
    Record last modified:
    2022-07-28 18:26:25
    This page:

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