Artifact of the month for April 2017
Damask Tablecloth- Mathilde Rothenberg (1891 – 1942)
Mathilde Rothenberg was born in Kalvaria, Lithuania in 1891. She came to Norway in 1912 and moved in with her older sister, Anna Sara, who was married to Samuel Josef Feinberg. The family lived in Rosteds street 14 in Oslo. Mathilde was a seamstress. In 1929 she married Abel Rothenberg (1876-1941). He was general manager and ran a wholesale trade in the capital. Mathilde and Abel moved into an apartment in the neighbouring building, Rosteds street 12, which they took over after Abels parents. Mathilde and Abel were childless.
On the 26th of November 1942, Mathilde was arrested in her home and transported directly to the docks where the ship Donau laid waiting. From here she was deported, along with 531 other Jews, to Stettin, and from there to Auschwitz-Birkenau. Upon arrival on December 1, 1942, Mathilde Rothenberg was led straight to the gas chamber and killed.
A few days before the arrest, Mathilde had delivered the tablecloth with twelve separate napkins to her neighbours, Martha and Sigurd Klepperaas with instructions to take care of it for her. The damask tablecloth is a gift to the museum from Astrid Wavik, Klepperaas' daughter, who was nine years old in 1942 and remembers well, both Mathilde and the vibrant Jewish community in Rosteds street and the surrounding areas.