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A Jewish mother poses with her daughter on a street corner in the Bispebjerg section of Copenhagen.

Photograph | Digitized | Photograph Number: 59714

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    A Jewish mother poses with her daughter on a street corner in the Bispebjerg section of Copenhagen.
    A Jewish mother poses with her daughter on a street corner in the Bispebjerg section of Copenhagen.

Pictured are Kaja (Diament) Geldmann with her daughter Birthie.

    Overview

    Caption
    A Jewish mother poses with her daughter on a street corner in the Bispebjerg section of Copenhagen.

    Pictured are Kaja (Diament) Geldmann with her daughter Birthie.
    Date
    1941
    Locale
    Copenhagen, Denmark
    Variant Locale
    Kobenhavn
    Photo Credit
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, courtesy of Birthe Trommer

    Rights & Restrictions

    Photo Source
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
    Copyright: United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
    Provenance: Birthe Trommer

    Keywords & Subjects

    Administrative Notes

    Biography
    Birthe Trommer (born Birthe Geldmann) is the daughter of Josef and Kaja (Diament) Geldmann. She was born November 15, 1937 in Copenhagen, Denmark, where both her parents worked as tailors. Birthe had one sister, Mette (b. 1946). Birthe's father, Josef, who was born in Lodz and moved to Germany after World War I, came to Denmark with a hachshara (Zionist collective) group in 1934 and received agricultural training on several farms in the Jutland. He met his future wife, Kaja Diament (it is presumed) while visiting relatives in Copenhagen. His relatives, the Rothstein family, were the owners of a hat factory where Kaja was employed. At Kaja's insistence Josef left the hachshara in 1935 and abandoned his plans to immigrate to Palestine. The couple was married on October 27 of that year, and both became tailors in Copenhagen, ultimately opening their own workshop. Birthe was born two years later. Josef had left his parents, Moses (Maks) and Malka Geldmann and his sister Paula (Pesa) in Wanne/Eickel, Germany. As Polish-born residents of Germany, they were deported to the Polish border town of Zbaszyn in October 1938. The following spring, Izrael (Ib) Diament, Kaja's brother, traveled to Zbaszyn to marry Paula Geldmann, thus enabling her to leave Poland. A few weeks later she arrived in Denmark, where they were divorced. After the German occupation of Poland, the elder Geldmanns were forced into the Lodz ghetto, from which they were presumably deported to their death in Chelmno. During the German occupation of Denmark the Geldmanns and Diaments escaped deportation by sailing to Sweden aboard Danish fishing boats. They first learned of the planned round-ups of Danish Jews from members of the Danish resistance. On October 2, 1943 the family departed for Hornbaek. The plan was to sail from there to Sweden. Since men were at greater risk of arrest than women and children, Josef and two of Kaja's brothers, Martin and Izrael (Ib), biked to Hornbaek, while Kaja and Birthe took the train. They arranged to meet at a local dairy. Because of the presence of large numbers of German troops, the family decided to move on to the fishing village of Gilleleje before attempting to cross to Sweden. They met up again at the home of a well-known writer named Bjoernsen, who lived close to the harbor. The Geldmanns and Diaments remained there until the evening of October 5, when they proceeded to the harbor. Suddenly Germans appeared to search the area and the family quickly hid among the nets and fishing equipment. In the morning they moved to the attic of the church in Gilleleje, where they waited with some 200 other Jews hoping to escape to Sweden. The following day, October 6, the entire group was rushed to the harbor. The Geldmanns and Diaments boarded one of the fishing boats and hid under the deck until their arrival in Sweden several hours later. They disembarked in the town of Hoeganaes, where they were registered by the Swedish police, and given food and a place to sleep at a local school. The following day, the family contacted Kaja's brother Bernhard, who had fled to Sweden several weeks earlier, and arranged to join him in Landskrone. Initially, the Geldmanns were put up at the home of Mane and Daisy Magnuson, who also helped them get jobs at the Schlasberg clothing factory in Landskrone. Birthe was soon enrolled at the Topaskolan, the local public school. While in Sweden, Kaja's three brothers: Bernhard, Martin and Izrael, and sister, Esther, all joined the British-sponsored Danish Brigade and received military training in Sofienlund. They participated in the final liberation of Copenhagen. Immediately after the war the Geldmanns returned to Copenhagen. Their apartment had been ransacked during their absence, but the new Danish government provided them an allowance to replace their furniture and sewing machines, and soon they reestablished themselves in another apartment in the same building.
    Record last modified:
    2004-03-08 00:00:00
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