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Mathilde Goldman

Arrived in Britain:
Place of Birth:
Born:
3 Feb. 1939
Experiences:

Interview Summary:

Mathilde (Tilly) Goldman (nee Weinberger) was born in 1924 in Hamburg, the second of 3 children. She had an older brother, Marcus and a younger sister, Eva. Her father was from Wustensachsen in Bavaria. He had attended school in Fulda and had lived with the Rabbi there. He then attended University in Heidelberg and received a PhD in Science and Maths and became a teacher in the Jewish School in Hamburg. He served in the First World War and was wounded and in hospital with a shot leg. Her mother, Violet, was born in London to Marcus Landau a shochet, originally from Russia. She was one of 13 children to his second wife – he had 5 from his first wife. Her mother grew up in London and worked for the Jewish Welfare Service dealing with the White Slave Traffic. One sister was Helena Landau head of Delamere, another was head of Evelyn de Rothschild School in Jerusalem, and another Elsie was a gynaecologist. Violet was introduced to Tilly’s father through an uncle in Heidelberg in 1914 but could not marry until after the war in 1920. 

They lived first in a 3rd floor flat on Grindlebergstrasse and in 1929 moved to a ground floor flat on Bornstrasse. Her mother was a voluntary welfare worked and hospital visitor. Tilly attended the Jewish School in Hamburg and had an Orthodox upbringing. Her father prayed in the Jewish Orphanage and in the Grosse Shul, where Rabbi Carlebach officiated. After Hitler came to power, Tilly remembers shops being daubed and the SS marching through the streets singing antisemitic songs. She still remembers the verses they sang, it made such a deep impression. Shechita was banned and they obtained kosher chickens from an acquaintance in Belgium to whom their family in London sent money. It was whilst going to the station to pick up another batch of chickens that they saw the damage from Kristallnacht. They were not aware of it the night before. When the SS came to round up the men, her father was saved because of his First World War military service record. Her brother had already been sent to England on Lag Ba’Omer 1938 as he was reaching 16. The family sent the 2 girls on a Kindertransport on 2 Feb 1939 and they followed 6 weeks later.

The girls travelled via the Hook of Holland and Harwich and on arrival to Camperdown House were collected by their relations. They were immediately sent to school. Tilly went to Highbury Hill High School and did a secretarial course there. Her parents went to Manchester where they had a position as Hostel parents for the Cassel Fox Hostel. The girls were evacuated to Huntingdon with the outbreak of war and stayed with a non-Jewish family. Their family sent them kosher food parcels each week. They stayed first with an elderly couple and then with a younger family who thought they were spies every time planes flew overhead. There were about 6-8 Jewish girls in Huntingdon. Tilly and her sister came to her parents for the festivals. They eventually moved to Manchester in 1942 and stayed in the Hostel. She remembers sheltering in the cellar whilst there were bombing raids. Tilly went to work for a mail order company and then became secretary for the Manchester Jewish Benevolent Society until 1948. Her brother studied Chemistry at Manchester University and lectured in Hull and then emigrated to Ottawa. He eventually worked for the Canadian government and attended NATO conferences in Europe. Her sister became secretary of the Manchester Yeshivah and then of the Yeshivah in London when she moved there. She married David Massel who was Secretary of the Board of Deputies. 

Tilly’s husband, Edmund, was one of the boys from the hostel. He was from Austria and had come on a Kindertransport. His brother was also in the hostel and a sister was in the hostel in Waterloo Road. His parents and other sister emigrated to Palestine. Edmund worked for Langers the Stonemasons. Tilly married in 1947 in Holm Acre, the Jewish nursing home in Altrincham, where her cousin Annie Kimche was matron. They went to live in a flat above Halberstadt’s butcher shop in Ashbourne Grove. They belonged to the Adass Yeshurum, originally in Northumberland Street and then in 1960 in Cheltenham Crescent. The synagogue was attended by religious refugees from Germany. 

So he [father] was shot in the leg [in WWI]. He was left with this lame leg. But when the Gestapo came in 1939 - they came on a Shabbos, they were interning everybody - it saved him from being taken to a concentration camp, because they had his military pass with all the details about how he was wounded. So he was never taken to a concentration camp.

My mother went round the house with the Gestapo to make sure they didn’t plant things and afterwards accuse us of having things. And my sister- I remember my sister screaming “Don’t take my daddy away!” - in German of course - “Don’t take my daddy away!”

We’re grateful to England that they took us in. Haven’t forgotten that. Otherwise we wouldn’t have made it. For the grown-ups it wasn’t so easy to come to England, but the children, they did a good deed there with the Kindertransport that they let us come in.

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