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Cilla Cypora Cohn


COHN, CILLA CYPORA (née Rabinowitz; 1910–2005), Danish Holocaust author. Cilla Cohn was born into an Orthodox family in Austria and immigrated with her family to Denmark during World War I. She studied history and literature at the University of Copenhagen. In the Aktion of October 1943, Cohn was arrested together with her family, and sent to Theresienstadt, where she remained until she was liberated through the intercession of Sweden's Count Bernadotte in 1945. Her experiences of this period form the basis for her novel, En Jodiskfamilies saga ("The Saga of a Jewish Family," 1960), which gained considerable general popularity and is used as textbook in high schools throughout Scandinavia. In the novel Cohn discusses the general historical basis for antisemitism, at the same time taking the reader on a veritable tour of Jewish history, folklore, and customs. Her novel Sven-Adam's Kibbutz (1973) also uses the Holocaust as the focal point, this time for a discussion of past history, and the birth and growing pains of the State of Israel. In addition to her participation in the public debate and espousal of Jewish causes through radio appearances and many articles in various Danish publications, Cohn was consistently active in the Danish Jewish community. She was one of the founders of WIZO in Denmark and secretary of its first board, and served as a member of the Governing Board of the Federation of Zionist Organizations in Denmark. From 1975 she served as Chairman of the Association of Danish Former Inmates of Theresienstadt.

[Robert Rovinsky]

Source: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2008 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.