top of page

The copyright of all photographs belongs to individual interviewees. Please get in touch for more information

Dr Charlotte Feldman (Bushell)

Arrived in Britain:
Place of Birth:
1 January 1939
Interview number:


Dr Bea Lewkowicz

Date of Interview:

Interview Summary:

Charlotte Feldman was born in April 1924 in Bratislava, Czechoslovakia, the second child of Adolf and Elsa Feldman. Her father was in banking until the crash in 1929, her mother stayed at home raising the children. They enjoyed Bratislava’s cultural life and often went to the opera and theatre.

Charlotte had an older brother Paul and a 5-year younger sister Gertrud (Trudi). They later emigrated to London on separate trips. She remembers a very happy childhood full of sporting activity: swimming, skiing and figure skating. The Feldman family lived in a flat in the centre of the city, a non-Jewish area.

Charlotte also spent holidays with her grandparents on their farm in the Slovak countryside, in Vrbové (near Piešťany). As her father came from a big family (many siblings were dispersed in Austria and Hungary) many of her cousins congregated there in the summer.

In Bratislava she attended a Slovak grammar school (not a Jewish school) and had non-Jewish friends. At home the family spoke German which was considered the more educated language. She has vivid memories of antisemitism and demonstrations of the Hlinka Party in the street below hers with chants of “Jews to Jerusalem.”

Her affluent maternal aunt and uncle Teltsch were in London in transit to the United States. They befriended the Mayor of Richmond, Mr Leon. Mr. Leon and his wife were very charitable (his wife was involved in arranging the Kindertransport) and agreed to take Charlotte into their home. Adolf Feldman took his middle daughter to the station in Prague where she boarded the train on her own, aged 14, on New Year’s Eve 1938. She was excited about the trip as she thought at that point, she would only stay for a year to improve her English. She enrolled with the local private school in Richmond, “The Old Vicarage” where she thrived academically. After finishing school, she was accepted at Leeds University medical school.

After the war, Charlotte expected to find her parents. Eventually, she learnt that her father had perished in Auschwitz and she never found out what happened to her mother.

Through the Leons she met her first husband Julius Silman. He wanted his wife to stay at home and raise a family whereas she prioritised her career and became a senior rheumatology consultant and fellow of the Royal College of Physicians. She had a very happy second marriage and looks back on a long and fulfilled life. She is joined by her daughter Rachel and on the phone by her younger sister Gertrude Silman (RV42).

Key words:

Czechoslovakia. Bratislava. Hlinka party. Vrbové. Vienna. Engelmann ice rink. Feldman. Silman. Bushell. Schmeier. Fischer. Silman. Bushell. Teltsch. Royal College of Physicians. Bolingbroke Medical Centre, Ealing Hospital, Hammersmith Hospital. The Cromwell Hospital. Royal Postgraduate Medical School. Leeds University Medical School. Rheumatology. Kew. Leon, Mayor of Richmond. The Old Vicarage.


Full Interview


Previous Interviewee
Next interviewee
bottom of page