From 1917, Elsa Danziger lived with her non-Jewish partner Gerta Bartels in the latter’s house in Berlin-Wilmersdorf. Classed as a “non-Aryan Christian,” Danziger was dismissed from her teaching post in 1939.
When Danziger was threatened with deportation on April 2, 1942, Gerta Bartels took her partner to their friend, the actress Aloisia Tirsch-Kastner, who lived nearby. On the Gestapo’s arrival at Bartel’s house the next day, she claimed Danziger had told her she would commit suicide, and gave the officers a fake suicide note. After two weeks, Danziger returned to Bartels. Since she was known in the neighborhood, she could not leave the house or go to a bomb shelter during air raids.
After three years in hiding, Elsa Danziger experienced Berlin’s liberation. Due to her long lack of exercise and undernourishment, she could barely walk by that point. Despite her very weak health, she returned to teaching in October 1945.