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Rudolf Goldberg

Arrived in Britain:
Place of Birth:
Born:
Beginning July 1939
Interview number:
Experiences:
RV
58

Interview Summary:

Rudolf Goldberg was brought up in Ratibor, Upper Silesia. His father and grandfather ran a pub and distillery. His mother’s father was a timber merchant in Beuthen. His parents sent him on the Kindertransport at the end of June 1939. He arrived at the beginning of July 1939. He worked as a farm labourer. He joined the Jewish Brigade towards the end of the war. He visited Bergen-Belsen with the Jewish Brigade in 1946. The fate of his parents is unknown. He is married to an Irish Catholic. 

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Transcript

We’d come back to England, after the Jewish Brigade was dissolved, and I chose to join the Hampshires . The option came up to have a job as an interpreter. I went to London to do the interpreter’s test. Obviously I passed. And I worked then for the next year or two in German prisoner of war camps as a staff sergeant interpreter!

They drew up lists of parents who were willing to send their children. I suppose they just picked by putting a pin in, I don’t know really. Just sheer luck, you know. When I think about it now sometimes, it makes the hair on the back of my neck stand up. To think how close I was to perishing myself. It was just a lottery.

My father took my brother & me to some station in Berlin. We met children there from all over Germany. We didn’t know exactly where we were going. For years I always kept a daily diary. We thought we were going via Holland. I thought, ‘when we get to the Dutch border, they’re going to open & look, they’re going to read my diary’! I got so frightened! I got my diary & flushed it down the toilet. It would have been worth keeping. So once I’d flushed the last of my diary down the toilet I felt relieved. As it happened we were taken to Hamburg. The Jewish ladies there had laid on a spread for us. Fantastic welcome we were given. I’d never seen the sea before. In those days you could be a widely travelled person & never see the sea. So it was an eye-opener to me to see the sea. Believe it or not, it was fantastic. We were taken to England on a big American liner, The Washington, a transatlantic liner. From Hamburg to Le Havre, then next day from Le Havre to Southampton. To travel on a big American liner, pre-war, was a real eye-opener. I’d never seen such luxury & things. The food, the menus! For the first time in my life in a way, I was free, because no longer was my mother saying 'You mustn’t eat this & you mustn’t eat that'. I’d walk into a dining room, big menu in front, & I could eat anything & everything I liked & we were treated like grown-ups. So it was quite an experience, you know? We didn’t know we would never see our parents again ever. It was like going on a fantastic holiday, really

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