Ingeborg London was born on July 24, 1924 to Paul and Lucie London and later had a younger brother named Fritz. They lived in Berlin where her father was a prosecutor and her mother worked at a retail store making hats. Inge lived a normal life until laws restricting the activity of Jews were put in place. Under those laws, she was defined as Mischlinge (people of mixed German and Jewish descent) as her father was born Jewish and her mother, who was German, later converted to Judaism. These laws restricted their activities and what they owned. While they lived in Berlin, they suffered persecution from the government and community.
As the World War began and progressed, Nazi Germany sent Jews to work in creating materials for the war efforts. Inge was sent to Siemens Munition in Berlin. She worked there until Feb 27, 1943, which she describes as the worst day of her life. “That was the day I was supposed to die.” It was this day in which the Gestapo, SS, and police enacted the raid known as the “Factory Action.” This was meant to round up the last of the Jews in Berlin and send them to extermination camps. 11,000 total individuals were captured and 9,000 of them were sent to death camps. The remaining 2,000 were Mischlinge and Jews that were in intermarriages with Germans. Inge and her father were among this group and were held at the Rosenstrasse in Berlin, a former Jewish recreation center.
They stayed there for 10 days. During that time family and friends (particularly women), began gathering in protest demanding the release of their loved ones. One of those individuals was Lucie London, Inge’s mom. In the face of threats and violence, the protestors refused to leave. Nazis, reluctant to kill German women, eventually released their prisoners on March 6th. Inge would later be one of 12 girls picked to work at the Jewish Hospital in Berlin. She and all her family survived the Holocaust.
Retrospectively, Inge said the following about her mother: “She saved our lives… We were not sent to a death camp because of her.” Through her mother’s selfless and brave efforts in staying by her family joined with all those who protested, they were able to stand up to the Nazi regime and save their loved ones.
Written by Emily Kern