Gertrud Golde was born in Berlin on 17 July 1912, the eldest child of Olga (née Schlesinger) and Ernst Julius Golde, both of Jewish descent. In early 1920, when she was seven years old, her brother Werner was born. She lived with her parents and brother at Waldow Allee 5 in Karlshorst (the house number was changed to 9 in 1931). Her father worked as a representative in the textiles industry and they were comfortably well-off. Gertrud was cared for by a nanny and the family went away on vacation each year. According to her brother, the children enjoyed an “open religious upbringing” and only visited the synagogue on High Holy Days. Gertrud attended the Karlshorst Lyceum school for girls, gaining her school-leaving certificate in 1929. She had very good grades in music, physical training and needlework. In 1930 she started a two-year course at the municipal technical college of textiles and garment-making, which she completed with a state-approved certificate in chemical engineering. She was a member of the Karlshorst gymnastics society and an enthusiastic track-and-field athlete and participated in many competitions. Barred from municipal sports clubs because of her Jewish background in 1933, she then competed for Jewish sports clubs.
Gertrud Golde worked as a chemical engineer and, from March to December 1936, as a dental assistant in the surgery of Dr Robert Atlasz at Bülow Straße 25. Her job reference described her as friendly, considerate and attentive. In around 1937/38 she married Herbert Sänger, a furrier, born in 1905 in Wongrowitz (Posen). He was forced to give up his workshop in late 1938 as Jews were then prohibited from running businesses and handicraft trades. Later he worked as a builder, probably performing forced labour.
Gertrud’s brother Werner managed to escape to Shanghai in 1939. The rest of the family intended to join him there later, but their plans could not be realized. Werner Golde lived for a time in Israel before moving to New York in the 1950s.
Gertrud Sänger lived with her husband and sister-in-law Edith Markus (née Sänger) at Wallnertheater Straße 31 (a parallel street to Holzmarkt Straße in Mitte, which no longer exists). Her last place of residence, according to the deportation list, was at Dresdner Straße 97 in Kreuzberg. On 12 January 1943, her parents were deported to Theresienstadt. A few weeks later, during the Nazis’ ‘factory campaign’, she was arrested by the Gestapo. On 3 March 1943, she was deported with her husband to Auschwitz. There, she was exploited as a work-slave until she died. The last time her brother heard anything from her was in autumn 1944. Her parents were also taken to Auschwitz in May 1944 and murdered. Her husband Herbert Sänger was deported from Auschwitz to Mittelbau-Dora in late January 1945 and died shortly before the camp’s liberation.