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Birgitte Borgsmidt

"I'm grateful to have found a sense of belonging"

Writer: Julia Vol

"I'm grateful to have found a sense of belonging"

Photographer: Julia Vol

Birgitte was born in 1939. Her Jewish mother was from Germany, while her father was Danish. Her parents met in Hornbæk in 1935. They fell in love and got married the following year in Berlin before moving to Copenhagen. Birgitte’s mother worked as a talented haute couture designer, while her father studied law and later became a lawyer. Unfortunately, tragedy struck the family early on when Birgitte’s mother died in 1942, when Birgitte was just three years old. During the war, her father had to flee to Sweden to escape the Gestapo. Birgitte was left in the care of her paternal grandparents, but her father later risked everything to rescue her. He came back from Sweden in order to bring his daughter to Sweden. In 1943, they made the treacherous journey to Sweden by boat. Birgitte describes how it was a terrifying experience, and she fell ill during the trip. However, they reached Sweden safely, and Birgitte was placed with different host families who showed her great kindness and love. After the war, her father sent Birgitte back to Copenhagen alone while he dealt with personal matters. She was reunited with her grandparents and uncle, and eventually, she lived with her father and English-speaking nannies. At the age of eight, she even traveled alone to meet her aunt and uncle in London. Throughout her life, Birgitte gradually discovered the courageous stories of her family members, the challenges they faced, and the choices they made. Later in life, Birgitte decided to reconnect with her Jewish heritage, and she is grateful to have found a sense of belonging within the Jewish community.

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