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An Orphan’s Tale

Freda Isaksen

This is a true story and happened to a friend of mine.

My friend came to America as a displaced person from Europe after World War II. He hound it difficult to find a job but one day saw an advertisement for a gravedigger. It was quite different work from his former profession but he had to live and eat so he applied for the job.

Whilst at his work one day, he saw a man going to several graves, saying a little prayer and humming a little song at each graveside. My friend approached the man and said, “You must have many relatives buried at this cemetery.” Speaking in a heavy guttural accent the man replied, “Oh, no, the women buried in these graves are strangers to me. You see, my mother was killed in the holocaust, I will never be able to visit her grave, she has no grave, so on Mothers’ Day I visit the graves of other mothers to honor them.”

“What is your name?” asked my friend. “It is Victor Borgorofsten,” said the stranger and he turned and departed.

Years later when Victor Borge became famous my friend recognised him and realised that the man to whom he spoke at the cemetery was indeed the Danish comedian and musician Victor Borge.

Copyright Freda Isaksen 1986–2006. Permission to reuse for non-commercial purposes is granted, provided that the text is unaltered and the original source is acknowledged. For more information, contact isaksen at

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