Irma Rosenberg, 1911-1990

Birth Name: Rosenberg
First Name
: Irma
Date/Place of Birth
: 15 Feb 1911/Themar, Thüringen
Place/Date of Death
: 10 May 1990, Hendon/England

Irma Rosenberg was the second child, and eldest daughter, of Else (née Kahn) and Markus Rosenberg. Born in 1911 in Themar, she attended elementary school in Themar. In the 1920s, Irma left the city to seek work in other places: one record tells us that she worked in Würzburg and lived at Taubenstrasse 3. Another document, dated close to the time of her emigration for England, tells us that she was in Stuttgart. On 1 December 1938, a form was submitted to the Themar registrar, adding “Sara” to her name as required by one of the many pieces of Nazi legislation to persecute German Jews. Initially, Irma tried to register the addition of “Sara” to her name by phone but was told that it had to be done in writing. Irma’s niece, Lotte Rosenberg, believes that it was Else Rosenberg who submitted the document and signed for Irma so the signature at the top of this page may well not be hers.

Irma was able to enter England under the Domestic Permit program. She worked for Messrs. Chivers & Son at the Sedge Fen Factory in Lakenheath, Mildenhall (northeast of Cambridge), where, according to the entry in the September 1939 Census of England & Wales, she worked as a “General Cook.” She lived and worked with a group of at least 30 other German-Jewish refugees, most of whom worked as farm labourers. Which factory Irma worked in — jam or chicory — is not clear.

Census: September 1939 Census of England & Wales. (

When World War II started in September 1939, Irma and all other Germans, Jewish and non-Jewish, were declared “enemy aliens.” Each person was required to meet with an Enemy Alien Tribunal for a decision as to whether or not one was a ‘friendly’ alien or not. Irma met with the tribunal on 15 December 1939 and was declared to be “exempt from internment.” (See images below) As the reason for the decision, the tribunal stated that [Irma was] a “Jewish Refugee from Nazi oppression. Strongly anti-Nazi. Can be safely regarded as  friendly alien.”1Enemy Alien Tribunal Index Card. 15 December 1939. Source:

Irma must have had contact with her uncle Julius Kahn, who had been able to enter England under the Kitchener Camp refugee program. In June 1940, when the German army invaded and conquered France, Julius was among those rounded up and deported to Australia. On papers documenting her uncle’s (Julius Kahn) internment in Australia in 1940, Irma Rosenberg is listed as his contact person.

Irma remained in England after the war ended, moving to Greater London to live. She was in touch with her sister, Elly, who lived in Pennsylvania, and also with her sister-in-law, Else Rosenberg, née Pabst, and her niece, Lotte Rosenberg, who immigrated into Canada in the 1950s.

Irma died on 10 May 1990 in Cricklewood/ England & Wales, National Probate Calendar (Index of Wills and Administrations), 1858-1995 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2010.and was buried in Waltham Abbey Jewish Cemetery in Essex.