"I Danmark, der ved jeg, der går det godt"
The Life and Testimony of Josef Kaufmann
In 1997, Josef Kaufmann told his life story in front of a running camera as part of the Steven Spielberg collection of testimonies of Holocaust survivors, the so-called Survivor of the Shoah Visual History Foundation. The article tells the story and brings extracts from the interview.
In 1939, as a young man, Josef travelled to Denmark as part of the Chalutz movement. The plan was to stay in Denmark for a while and learn about agriculture before continuing to Palestine. Due to the breakout of the war, the plans were delayed. Not until a year and a half had passed in Denmark, his journey continued through Sweden, Finland, The Soviet Union, and Turkey to Palestine, where he enrolled in the British army and fought the Germans in North Africa. At the same time, members of his family, including his parents, were murdered in the Nazi concentration camps in Europe. Coming back to Palestine after the war, he worked as a welder in kibbutz Ein Harod and fought in the Israeli independence war before establishing his own business in Tel Aviv.
Josef was content and the business was prosperous, but Josef had a wish to return to Denmark to visit the family who had hosted him during his stay there.
In 1954, he travelled back to Denmark on a visitor’s visa. Although initially just planning to visit Denmark, Josef ended up staying for good. He took part in the Jewish life in Copenhagen and started a family. Josef still keeps close ties to Israel, where one of his three children lives. He is now 89 years old and still eager to tell his interesting life story.