Hilma Geffen was born in Berlin in 1925 and was an only child. Her father served in the German Army during World War I and was awarded the Iron Cross. In 1931 the family moved to Rangsdorf, a suburb of Berlin, where they were the only Jewish family in town. Her father, an accountant, continued to commute to Berlin for work. A couple of nights after Kristallnacht in 1938, SA men came to the house and smashed the furniture. In 1939 the family moved back to Berlin because Jews could no longer own property. As Hilma was returning home after work in October 1941, her mother told her to run away because people were there to pick them up. Using false papers, Hilma went underground, living with a German couple who knew only that she was Jewish. She remained "hidden" with them until the end of the war, then moved to Miami Beach where she had relatives. Her parents were deported to Auschwitz and did not survive the war.
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