Skoropa (Rappoport), Rachel
Copenhagen (Denmark), Sweden
Mrs. Rachel Skoropa was born in Copenhagen, Denmark in 1924. Her parents, Pinchas and Sarah had six children: Rachel, Anna, Helena, Mina, Benny and Yoot.
Her father was a tailor, who worked at home in their small flat. They were poor but the children were spoiled. Their grandparents lived near the main synagogue and were very orthodox. The children played with their Gentile friends and there wasn’t any anti-semitism.
Her mother made fish and chicken soup for the holidays. Her mother learned how to cook, Danish style, with lots of pork, which her father refused to eat. They went to their grandparents on the Sabbath.
Mrs. Skoropa went to Jewish school, a Jewish camp where she participated in sports. She loved the movies, saved movie star pictures and dreamt about Hollywood. All in all, it was a happy childhood.
She read in the newspapers and heard on the radio about Hitler, but life didn’t change much after 1940. In 1943, the Germans wanted the Danish government to deport the Jews, but, instead, the government abdicated. Everyone listened to the BBC and the mail stopped.
The Danish Government never allowed the Jews to wear yellow stars.
The Rabbi told everyone that there were two ships in the harbor and that they should leave and hide. Mrs. Skoropa’s mother said she knew a woman on the coast to hide them.
That night, no one was on the street after nine. A girlfriend said she’d take Mrs. Skoropa to stay with her sister, which she did for one week. Her family escaped to Sweden, Mrs. Skoropa leaving later with her girlfriend, then rejoining them.
The Swedish police interviewed them and they stayed a few weeks. The Danish office there gave them food and clothes. Mrs. Skoropa’s first job was as a chocolate packer. She met her husband, Paul Skoropa, and after they married, they stayed with her parents, later moving to another city and renting a room in a Swedish home. There the couple stayed for eighteen months before returning to Copenhagen.
Mrs. Skoropa’s grandmother died in Majdanek and one of her uncles was shot. After the war, life returned to normal. All of their belongings were returned to them and her parents were given a better apartment.
While she was pregnant with their daughter, she wrote an uncle in the United States. He returned to Copenhagen for a visit, but didn’t manage to get an affidavit for them. So, instead they went to Montreal, Canada for almost a year before emigrating the United States.
Mrs. Skoropa doesn’t like to see pictures of the Holocaust, but said, “Always remember that you’re Jewish.”
- Grandmother: Gindl Schwartz, Poland
- Grandfather, Avram, Poland
- Rachel, 3 months old
- Rachel with her grandparents, Mordechai and Esther; and aunt Sonia Rosenberg
- Family picture: Parents 25th anniversary: son Morris, daughter Jane and Alan
- Youngest granddaughter, Sara, in Detroit
Date: May 16, 1996
Interviewer: Susan Rosenblum
Length: 45 minutes
Format: Video Recording