Bob Goldsmith (a story kept secret)

Robert, known as Bob, arrived on the very first Kindertransport from Hamburg, Germany on 2nd December 1938, aged 13. 

The details of Bob's childhood and early years in Britain have only recently come to light after his son Ian applied to World Jewish Relief's archives hoping for evidence to assist him in his application for a German passport. 

Although Ian knew his father was German and Jewish, Bob had never spoken of his childhood or followed his birth religion. World Jewish Relief's files opened up a whole new family history, showing that Bob came to the UK with his brother Bruno on the very first Kindertransport. 

kindertransport, siblings Salomon and Bruno GoldsmithThe boys had been plucked from an orphanage in Hamburg where they were placed after their mother died in 1933. 

Their father was still alive at the time but our records sadly confirmed that he later died in a concentration camp.  The case files trace the support given by World Jewish Relief (as the CBF) to the boys, including religious education classes, money for housing when they weren't able to work and help finding new lodgings.  They also contain Bob's travel permit to enter the UK with a photo that Ian had never seen before.

Saloman excerpt file

Saloman entry permit blurred

The brothers' rescue by the Kindertransport made them the only two survivors from a wider family of 14.

Bob’s first job was at A Cheney & Son as a boot maker.  He joined the British Army in 1944. He married at 20 to Kathleen Edith Russell in March 1945, joined British Rail, and later emigrated to Tanganyika in 1953 to work for East African Railways and Harbours.

Self-taught, he fulfilled his dream of becoming a computer engineer and returned to England in 1976 as a programmer, but sadly died in Colchester in 1977 aged only 52. He is survived by 2 children, 5 grandchildren and 3 great grandchildren.

Although Bob never spoke to his children of his early life, he made them watch programmes on the Holocaust and ensured they continued their higher education, which was something the Nazis had deprived him of.  

Bruno’s first job was also at A Cheney & Son as an apprentice. He emigrated to Australia in 1951 and became a glassmaker. He never married or had children, and died in Melbourne in 2001.

Ian says "The World Jewish Relief records were quite astonishingly poignant - and whilst sad in many ways - are also beautiful and uplifiting".

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