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Arrived in Britain:
Place of Birth:
Beginning July 1939
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.
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