“Don’t touch my mother! I am going to tell my daddy when he gets back that you kissed my mother!”
Interview Date: on 15 March, 2016
Below is a brief summary of some of Jutta Cohen’s experiences as a Jewish child living in Berlin during the Holocaust era under the protection of a Christian neighbor.
Born in Berlin Germany, she was not born, she says, “no Jew would be born in Germany….I didn’t get a birth certificate until after the war.”
For their family, the Holocaust really started in 1933, when her uncle was sent to the Nazi headquarters, beat to death, and thrown off a four story building. They knew something was wrong.
During the War
Growing up, Jutta’s family was affected heavily by the 1935 Nuremberg Laws. These Nuremberg Laws aimed to gradually strip Jews of their basic rights; all Jews were restricted to walking on one side of the street, where everyone else could walk about freely. When her mother went around the town, she would hold a book close to her chest to cover the star, to conceal the fact that she was Jewish. Passes with stamps also had to be used when going to the grocery store to buy food. Fortunately for Jutta’s family, when they ran out of room on a specific pass, a German neighbor in her apartment would give them food. Jewish students were revoked the right to go to school and own businesses. Jutta and her brother were homeschooled from a very young age. Her grandfather gave up his business to an individual that helped him, knowing well that it would be destroyed if the SS knew it was a “Jewish business.”
Jutta, being just a small baby, remembers her mother carefully handing her over to a Christian neighbor. Sometimes people said things like this: ” How can you let your Dorit play with that Jew?” However, nobody reported their family. Therefore she stated, ” There were some very decent people also.”
After the War & Today
In 1943, her father was sent to the Buchenwald concentration camp. After 2 years of suffering, he survived. However, when the war ended, they did not let him leave Buchenwald because he had no papers. Surprisingly, he had the courage to say, ” I did not need papers when I got here, so I don’t need papers to get out. I’m leaving!” He left, but no transport would bring him back, so he walked home. Upon arrival at home, he was welcomed lovingly by his wife. Being under 100 pounds, he was hard to recognize. Jutta did not even know who this man was. ” Don’t touch my mother! I am going to tell my daddy when he gets back that you kissed my mother!” Her father said hearing that was harder than all the years he endured in the camp. After living in isolation for many years, after the war, Jutta and her family moved to America.