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Two photographs of Norwegian Jewish sisters, Berit and Celia Century.

Photograph | Digitized | Photograph Number: 94096

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    Two photographs of Norwegian Jewish sisters, Berit and Celia Century.
    Two photographs of Norwegian Jewish sisters, Berit and Celia Century.


    Two photographs of Norwegian Jewish sisters, Berit and Celia Century.
    Oslo, Norway
    Photo Credit
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, courtesy of Celia Gorlen

    Rights & Restrictions

    Photo Source
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
    Copyright: United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
    Provenance: Celia Gorlen

    Keywords & Subjects

    Administrative Notes

    Celia Gorlen (born Celia Century) is the daughter of David Century (b. December 27, 1887, Warsaw) and Rebekka Rothschild Century (b. February 1, 1901, Friedrichstadt, Latvia). When David was nine years old his family moved to England from Poland, but they maintained Russian citizenship. Therefore he and his brother were obligated to serve in the Russian army. In 1916 they left England for Russia but jumped ship in Oslo. David remained in Norway and completed his matriculation in the Norwegian language. He and Rebekka were married in Oslo in 1924. David worked for a wholesale grocer and later for a textile salesman and importer. Celia was born on June 7, 1928 and her older sister was born in 1925. The family was orthodox. The girls attended public schools and received supplemental Jewish education.

    When the war began, David was fired from his job as a textile agent and began to tutor private English lessons to non-Jews. The entire family also picked mushrooms in the forest which they salted and sold. They continued to do this until the time when they left Norway. At first, the Century family was able to remain in their apartment. Celia's parents and sisters had identification cards that were stamped with a "J". As Celia was not yet 15, her card did not need to be stamped. Celia's father had good connections with the underground, and on October 23, 1942 he was told to go into hiding as they were beginning to arrest Jews. The girls stayed with their mother in their apartment. They had to report daily to the police station. A week and a half later, on November 4, the family fled Norway hidden in a lorry carrying farm produce. The family paid the farmers who assisted many refugees and knew which roads were guarded by Germans. After two or three hours they reached the Swedish border. Their driver let them off, and the family ran across the road to the border only to discover it was guarded by a Swedish Nazi guard who told them to turn around. As it was already midnight, Celia's father asked if they could stay and sleep there. David managed to convince the guard that it was dangerous to be a Jew in Norway. The guard relented and let them stay overnight. The next morning Swedish police brought them to a prison where they were disinfected and sent them to Kjesater, a reception camp where they were registered as Norwegian refugees. During the war, the family received money from the Norwegian Government in Exile based in London. During the summers, they were obliged to work, and Celia worked in a Haschshara for a short time with children who had come on the Kindertransport. She and Berit attended a Norwegian high school in Uppsala. The Norwegian legation gave the girls meal tickets, as well as tickets for a weekly bath. At first her parents had to remain in Stockholm but later moved to Uppsala. They stayed together until Berit left Stockholm to study dentistry. At the end of the war the family returned to Norway, and Celia's father began his own textile firm. Celia married and has two children and four grandchildren. In 1995 she immigrated to Israel to join her daughter who had come many years before.
    Record last modified:
    2011-06-17 00:00:00
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