Ilse Odenheimer Jacobsen (1924-1996)

Ilse Jacobsen was born March 4, 1924 to Isidor and Marie Odenheimer in the town of Odenheim in southern Germany, where her father ran a dry goods store. Her family had lived there for many generations. At age ten she was sent away to a Jewish boarding school because the anti-Semitic condition of the school in her small town made it impossible for her to attend. She returned to her home in 1938, just before war broke out in 1939.

Her parents were able to secure visas for Ilse and her brother Kurt to get to the United States but could not arrange travel for themselves. Her father died at the internment camp at Gurs. Her mother survived internment and eventually got to New York through Trinidad in 1941.

Ilse and her brother made their way to Ohio, where other members of her mother’s family had already settled. She attended high school in Toledo, where her mother eventually was able to join her children. 

Ilse married Henry Jacobsen, who had also fled Germany, in 1946 and they moved together to Portland, Oregon when Henry got a job working for Crown Zellerbach. She joined the National Council of Jewish Women, where she served on the board, and also volunteered at Congregation Beth Israel. Ilse died on July 29, 1996.

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