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  • Writer's pictureHarry Sassoon

The German Who Hid My Great-Grandfather

Updated: Nov 28, 2020

My grandad is Peter, his twin brother is George and their parents were Margot and Frank Sommerfeld. They lived in Berlin. They had tickets for a boat to go to America via England was due to leave on 6th September 1939. They later found out that the boat never left Hamburg. On Saturday 2nd September 1939, Margot's foster mother (died naturally in 1940 or 1941) came to the flat where they lived after hearing on the illegal radio that they should leave immediately rather than wait for the boat on Wednesday. The building had a porter/caretaker who had previously hidden Frank during Kristallnacht, the night another one of my great-grandfathers named Hans was taken to concentration camp. He had already shown my grandfather's family much kindness, even though he told his two sons not to play with Peter and George anymore because they were Jewish, just to keep up appearances - they were best friends. That day, the caretaker was kind enough to lend/give Frank the money for them to get train tickets via Holland to England. Without this, the family would have been unable to escape. He did this probably never intending to see that money ever again, which was repaid after the war. The Sommerfeld family left Germany at 11pm that night and fortunately all survived. War was declared the following day on Sunday 3rd September 1939.

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