Mikkelsen was born in 1929 in Krakow, Poland. His father was a Danish Jew who settled in Poland, where he married Mikkelsen's mother. He ran an import-export business. Mikkelsen's mother belonged to a prosperous, cosmopolitan Jewish family. The family owned a mattress factory and also manufactured industrial scales. The family was very assimilated, and some members had converted to Christianity. Mikkelsen himself was raised in the Lutheran Church. As a boy, Mikkelsen remembers one of his aunts showing up at the family apartment wearing a star of David. His mother was afraid that their maid would report the family as Jewish. This was the first time the boy knew that there was Jewish blood in the family. Mikkelsen remembers visits he made to the Warsaw Ghetto. A streetcar passed right through the middle of it. He describes a cramped, stratified society.
In 1942 Mikkelsen moved to Denmark, and he lived there until 1956, when he came to the United States.
Date: September 16, 1996
Interviewer: Diane Savin
Format: Video recording