Bertha Wolffberg Gottschalk

Bertha Wolffberg Gottschalk

Born: September 22, 1866

Koenigsberg, Germany

Bertha was born to Jewish parents in the capital of East Prussia. Her father served on the Koenigsberg city council. In 1887 Bertha married Hugo Gottschalk, and the couple settled in the small town of Schlawe in northern Germany. There, Hugo owned the town's grain mill. The Gottschalks raised their four children in a home near a small stream, ringed by orchards and a large garden.

1933-39: Bertha and her daughter Nanny have moved to Berlin--Hugo passed away in 1934 and they were afraid of the growing antisemitism in Schlawe. They hoped that, as Jews, they would be less conspicuous here in a large city. But the Nazis have ordered all sorts of restrictions for Jews--recently Bertha had to register her jewelry and silver. Her daughter Gertrud has sent her three daughters to England. Bertha would also like to leave, but it's difficult to get an exit visa.

1940-42: Nanny and Bertha have been deported to the Theresienstadt ghetto in Czechoslovakia, where they have been assigned to a dirty, crowded and lice-infested room on the second floor of a house. Nanny hauls in bags of sawdust, which they burn to heat their room. Bertha had a chance to go to America in 1941, but she refused to go without Nanny. Her days in Schlawe are a distant memory now.

Bertha died in Theresienstadt on November 23, 1942.

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