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Dorothea Isaacsohn cradling her doll.

Photograph | Digitized | Photograph Number: 97242

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    Dorothea Isaacsohn cradling her doll.
    Dorothea Isaacsohn cradling her doll.


    Dorothea Isaacsohn cradling her doll.
    Berlin, [Berlin] Germany
    Variant Locale
    Photo Credit
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, courtesy of Dorothy Isaacsohn

    Rights & Restrictions

    Photo Source
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
    Copyright: United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
    Provenance: Dorothy Isaacsohn

    Keywords & Subjects

    Administrative Notes

    Dorothy Isaacsohn (born Dorit Isaacsohn) is the daughter of Julius and Gertrude (Koh) Isaacsohn. She was born July 15, 1933 in Berlin, where both her parents worked in the tailoring business. Her father was a coat and suit designer and buyer of fabrics and her mother was a self-employed seamstress. In March 1943 the Isaacsohns tried to go into hiding by renting a basement apartment in Berlin under the name of Schultz. However, they lacked proper documentation, and at the last minute their prospective landlords would not rent to them. They had to live separately in order to survive and to move frequently from house to house as did the hundreds of other Jewish "U-boats" (illegal Jewish residents) in Berlin. Dorit first stayed with Lucie Gardner, a woman who had worked with her mother and whose brother had been arrested as a Communist. After a few weeks, during the summer of 1943, Dorit went to stay with her cousin Rolf Isaacsohn, his wife Stella Goldstein Isaacsohn and some nine other children in an apartment on the Lietzenburger Strasse. During this time, Rolf was employed as an opera singer under an assumed Italian name. In addition to hiding Dorit, he obtained false papers for both her and her mother. On July 2, 1943, Rolf and Dorit were eating in a cafe near the opera house when they overheard a waitress say that the Gestapo had arrested Stella. Stella had been denounced by a Jewish acquaintance who had turned SS Greifer (informer). Three months later Rolf was also arrested. While in prison, Stella and Rolf resolved also to become Nazi informers. That November Rolf orchestrated the arrest of Dorit's father, who became the first of Rolf and Stella's many victims. After his arrest, Dorit went to live with her mother. Gertrude managed to support herself by working as a private seamstress. She found work by placing ads in a local newspaper using the phone number of a Gentile friend. She and Dorit moved from place to place until the end of the war, seeking homes where Gertrude could find work. At one point they even stayed with the head of the Gestapo in his country home in Wilkersdorf (now Krzesnica, Poland). After the war Dorit and her mother remained in Germany for several years. Dorit was sent to Lueneburg, where she had her first formal schooling. They immigrated to the United States in November 1949 on board the SS Ballou. After the war Rolf fled to Sweden and later escaped to South America.
    Record last modified:
    2018-01-04 00:00:00
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