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Arrived in Britain:
Place of Birth:
31 August 1939
Yvonne Alweiss, born Inge Yvonne Goldschmidt, in 1933 in Kassel. Her father’s grand-parents lived in Hoof, a village in Hessen. Yvonne’ grandfather, Jacob Goldschmidt, had come to Kassel and opened a clothing business. Her mother’s parents lived in Bonn. Her father Ludwig Goldschmidt worked as a lawyer with his older brother David in Kassel. David Golschmidt also ran ‘Repetitorkurse’, classes for which helped student lawyers to prepare for their exams. One of the students was Roland Freisler, who became a virulent Nazi and the State Secretary of the Reich Ministry of Justice (1934-1942).
Yvonne’s father was arrested on Kristallnacht (together with 300 other Jewish men) and sent to Buchenwald concentration camp. After his release he helped Jews to emigrate from Germany (together with the Rabbi in Kassel, Robert Raphael Geis). The family lived in Spohrstrasse 2 and shortly before emigration in Kirchweg 72. Yvonne’s parents tried to emigrate to Chile or the UK. Through the help of the rabbi in Kassel a British guarantor was found, Mr Benediktus, the owner of the sport shop Lillywhites.
Yvonne left Germany on the 31stof August 1939. She first stayed with her parents but was then sent to a boarding school in Leighton Buzzard. Once this became a protected area, she was moved to Lady Margaret Boarding school. In 1941 she came back to live with her parents and then spent a summer in the Stoatley Rough Boarding school, a progressive school run by refugee teachers. When she came back to London she went to the Covent school on East End Road in Finchley. Yvonne recalls that she was considered ‘a difficult child’, as she was very fearful, and that she used to see a Mrs Stein from Bloomsbury House for weekly meetings.
Her father found it difficult to find work in the UK and went back to Germany in 1948, where he became a renowned judge, first in Kassel and then in Frankfurt. After staying with a Quaker family for a number of months, Yvonne joined her parents in 1949 and finished her schooling in Kassel. She eventually returned to the UK in the mid-fifties, where she met her future husband Manfred Alweiss, who had come to the UK on a Kindertransport from Berlin. After some years they relocated to Germany, as Manfred was offered a job opportunity. They raised two daughters in Munich and Hamburg and after Manfred’s retirement came back to settle in London.
Key words: Hoof, Kassel, Jewish lawyers in Germany, Ludwig Goldschmidt, Stoatley Rough school, re-emigration, post-war life in Germany.