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Hannelore Cohen

Arrived in Britain:
Place of Birth:
20 January 1939
Interview number:


Dr Rosalyn Livshin

Date of Interview:

Interview Summary:

Hannelore Cohen (nee Horn) was born in Cologne, Germany in 1924. Her father worked for a textile firm and they moved to Chemnitz in 1927 and then to Holland for six months and then back to Chemnitz where Hannelore grew up and went to school. Her parents belonged to the Temple Synagogue and her mother sang in the synagogue choir. Her father was an active Zionist and active member of B'nai Brith. 

Hannelore came to England on a Kindertransport in Jan 1939 and went to the Needoffs, a very friendly Manchester family. They accepted her as one of their own and she was very happy there. They had a girl of 24 and a boy of 17. They later brought over her brother. Hannelore attended the Jewish School until July 1939 and then to work in the Needoffs’ bakery. She had learnt English in Germany and improved it in school. In 1941 Hannelore had to take war work in a factory but did not stay long and went back to the bakery. She met her husband in 1945/6 and married him within 6 weeks. He was an English Jew who had been a Japanese POW. He was a joiner.

Hannelore’s mother survived Theresienstadt, having been sent to Switzerland in 1944 and she came to live with them. Hannelore opened a sweet shop and her mother helped her. She had two children attended King David and then non Jewish Secondary Schools. They belonged to the Central Shul and the North Manchester Shul. They were traditional but not orthodox. Hannelore’s brother went to Israel and became a Chassid in Bnai Brak.


Full Interview


When I was three, we left Cologne and I remember going in a plane from Cologne to Chemnitz and this plane had, you sat opposite one another, you know a tiny plane and I remember distinctly when we lived in a small place outside Chemnitz and then went to Holland when I was five years old, for six months because his business took him over there then we came back to Chemnitz. They [my mother’s older brothers] all lived in Cologne … but her oldest brother left for America. He married Metro Louis B Mayer’s sister in America, Metro Goldwin Mayer. The other brothers were all supposed to go to America they had visas, when war broke but they didn’t get there. They all went to Theresienstadt.

It was an adventure. You did not realise the seriousness of it. You never thought you would never see your parents again. It’s sad. My father said 'you're going to go to a completely different way of life. You’re going to live behind a shop. You just have to get used to it.' My father couldn’t walk very well so he didn’t take me to the station. My mother took me. It was very sad. I never thought I would never see my father again. We met all the other children.

I had a little money bag with ID card & some money. Somebody had given me a new ring as a going-away present. I was frightened they would take it off me. You didn’t know what to expect. In London we were met with lovely ladies from some committees. They took us to a place in Whitechapel, a horrible place really but it was adequate, where we slept the night & they gave us herring. The next morning a quick tour of London & I came to Manchester. My uncle met me. I didn’t recognise him because he was wearing a bowler hat. Then he took me to the Needoffs. It was all very traumatic. Everybody came to have a look at me, all the relatives, at this little girl who had just come. That evening they said 'We are going to the pictures.' Well the pictures to me were pictures on the wall. So I got my little dictionary out for pictures on the wall & we went to the pictures. They were very good people. Everybody wanted to see me. They were very well known, very good charitable people that helped a lot of people.

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