The Deportation 1943

I was there.

On the night between October 1 and 2, 1943, Klara and her family were forced to leave their home in Copenhagen. Klara secretly managed to leave a note to her friend Kamma. She wrote: "Dear Kamma, we have been taken by the German police. Notify my school. Greetings from Klara."

Klara's family and other Jews were taken to the port, where a ship was waiting. A rabbi made sure that the food was evenly distributed among the passengers on board. Since it was Klara's 14th birthday, she received double portions of crispbread. Thus began the journey towards the ghetto in Theresienstadt, Czechoslovakia.

Klara Tixell (1929), Denmark

Klara Tixell (1929), Denmark

Consider here the situation when Klara and her family were deported to Theresienstadt in German-occupied Czechoslovakia

The Family is Forced by the SS to Leave

Klara talks about the night when the family was forced to leave their home in Copenhagen.

1) Read the text and answer the question.

Warning about the coming raid

Klara's best friend Kamma tells in her book "Dengang - på Islands Brygge" how her father and brother tried to warn Klara's family about the raid. 

”My brother moved out. I was fortunate to get his room. My brother was 21 years old and studying at the university. For some time he had told us about the persecution of Jews in other cities in Europe. He also used to say that it could become dangerous for the Danish Jews. I was concerned, but the adults didn't take it too seriously. Perhaps my brother was exaggerating as he used to do. I didn't take it in until 1 October. That day he came home stunned and excited. He said: 'It’s happening. They will take the Jews in the evening or in the morning. Many people have already escaped. We need to get hold of Klara's family ...' My father and my brother went straight across the yard to their apartment. When they were let in my brother told them what he had heard. My brother and my father persistently tried to persuade them to go away or at least stay the night with us. If the rumour was true they would be in great danger. However, Klara's father said: 'The Danish authorities will not allow such a thing. We're Danish citizens.' His confidence in them had not changed. He thought he would be safe in the country where he was born and in which he had grown up.”

Source: "Dengang – på Islands brygge" (1995). Fragment from Kamma Andersson's bok, here in translation to English, page 53.

  • 1a. What is the reason that Klara's family feel safe and decides to stay at home that night? Why didn't they escape?

2) Listen to Klara as she talks about how she and the family are taken by the SS.

3) Read the text about the night when the SS came to take Klara and her family and answer the question.

  • 3a. What catches your attention the most in Klara's story (video clip and text) concerning what happened during the raid, when the SS men came to take the family? Motivate your answer.

Klara tells about the night when the SS came to her family's house

”On Friday, 1 October, [1943], it was Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year. We celebrated the best we could. Then we went to bed. Two SS men standing in the doorway pointing their weapon at us alerted my sister and me. They told us to get dressed quickly. I had just got my first bra. It lay there on the chair with my clothes. It was awful that the two soldiers could see the most intimate thing in my possession. The next day I would become 14.”

Source: Natten är mörk och lång. Några röster från Theresienstadt (1997). Fragment from an interview with Klara Ruben Tixell, page 13.

”Dear Kamma, we have been taken by German police. Notify my school. Greetings from Klara."

4) Look at the picture and answer the questions.

  • 4a. Klara tells that she managed to hide away a note to her friend Kamma saying that the family had been taken by German police during the night. How do you think Kamma reacted when she found the note?

  • 4b. Imagine that you are Kamma and write a note in your diary about the night that Klara and her family were taken by the SS.

The Deportation to the Camp

Klara talks about the deportation to the camp.

5) Listen to Klara as she talks about the long deportation. Answer the questions.

  • 5a. Klara describes some specific events during the boat and train transport. What makes the strongest impression on you?

In the map, the Theresienstadt camp has been marked. See if you can find the other places Klara mentions when she describes the route she was transported from Copenhagen in Denmark to Terezín, current Czech Republic. Open the map >>

Denmark in the 1930s and During the German Occupation

A slideshow about the situation of the Jews in Denmark during the German Occupation.

Extra Material