Miriam’s family tree

The information on this page was provided by Miriam’s mother.

Names shown in bold are in the direct line of descent.

Paternal line

Charles D’Oyly COOPER
b 1876 Trentham, Staffordshire
d 1951
Son of Samuel Herbert COOPER (Solicitor) and Katharine EDWARDS
married 15 July 1905, Paddington Ethel Sofia READ
b 1882 Chile
d 1934 or 1935
Daughter of Henry Manuel READ (Banker) and Emily Louisa JONES
(Helen) Ursula COOPER b 1908, Kensington
(Christine) Audrey COOPER b 1909, Kensington
David Henry D’Oyly COOPER b 1913, Paddington


David Henry D’Oyly COOPER
b 1913, Paddington, London
d 1992, Birmingham
married 1948, Birmingham Hanna ROSENFELD
b Berlin
Miriam Valerie COOPER
1 brother

David’s main occupation was as a rubber technologist for the Dunlop company. As a skilled artist, he painted many formal portraits, created “lightning” pencil sketches at public events and experimented with abstract art.

Maternal line

b 1860, Stettin, Germany (now Szczecin, Poland)
d 1927, Berlin
married Dutta GROßKOPF
b 1864, Berlin
d 1946?, Argentina
Elsbeth BEHREND b 1891, Berlin
Käthe BEHREND b 1893, Berlin
Hedwig BEHREND b 1895, Berlin
Kurt BEHREND b 1898, Berlin; d Brazil
Eva BEHREND b 1902, Berlin
Gertrud BEHREND b 1904, Berlin
Fritz BEHREND b 1905, Berlin
Heinz BEHREND b 1906, Berlin; d 1984?, Córdoba, Argentina

Fritz BEHREND was Jewish and his wife was disinherited on their marriage.

Siegfried (Fritz) ROSENFELD
b 1874 Marienwerder, East Prussia (now Kwidzyn, Poland)
d 1947, London
married (1) 1912 Gertrud REWALD
b 1880?
d 1916, Berlin
married (2) 1920 Dr Elsbeth Rahel BEHREND
b 1891, Berlin
d 1970, Birmingham
Gustel ROSENFELD b 1916, Berlin; d 2009, Córdoba, Argentina
Peter ROSENFELD b 1921, Berlin; d 1993, Manchester
Hanna ROSENFELD b Berlin

Siegfried ROSENFELD was Jewish and, as a member of the pre-war Prussian Parliament, a prominent Social Democrat. There is a page about him in the German edition of Wikipedia (English translation).

Life became very difficult when the Nazis came to power in Germany. The family moved to Bavaria but growing persecution made it necessary to emigrate.

In 1938 Siegfried, Peter and Hanna obtained visas to travel to England. Peter travelled with the Kindertransport, a massive operation in which some 10,000 German children were given refuge from the Nazis in the months before the outbreak of war. In 1946 Peter married Ursula (Ully) SIMON, who had also come to England with the Kindertransport. The story of the evacuation is told in the 2000 film Into the Arms of Strangers, in which Ully is one of the people featured.

Peter and Hanna remained in England permanently after the war. Hanna trained as a nurse and has continued in health-related work throughout her life.

Elsbeth did not receive a visa and was still in Germany when the war began. Although she was not Jewish-born she was closely involved in supporting the Jewish community and continued this work until it became too dangerous. She went “underground” for a while, then escaped to Switzerland in 1944. Only after the war was over was she able to come to England and rejoin her family. After Siegfried’s death she returned to Bavaria and lived in the village of Icking for the rest of her life.

Elsbeth wrote a German-language autobiography, Ich stand nicht allein. She gave a series of talks on BBC Radio which were published as a book, The Four Lives of Elsbeth Rosenfeld, in 1964. More recently she was featured in a BBC Schools series about the Second World War. There is a street named after her in Berg am Laim, a suburb of Munich, and a nearby plaque commemorates her work on behalf of Jews in the city. We visted the area as a family in 2001.

In 2011, Munich-based historians Erich Kasberger and Marita Krauss published another German-language book, Leben in zwei Welten, which tells Elsbeth and Siegfried’s story using material from diaries and letters.

Gustel ROSENFELD (a child of Siegfried’s first marriage) married Heinz BEHREND, the youngest brother of Siegfried’s second wife, in 1937 (which makes for some complicated family relationships). They went to Argentina to help establish a new settlement. Gustel died in 2009 after spending her later years in Córdoba.