Edith Payne: family correspondence

Scope and Content

This collection contains the personal correspondence of Edith Payne (née Guttmann). Edith was brought up in a Jewish family in Bratislava. She was studying at Caen when the Second World War broke out. She had to emigrate to England whilst her parents stayed in Bratislava. Her parents were later deported to Auschwitz concentration camp where they perished.

The letters were mainly sent to Edith in England from her parents in Slovakia. There are also some messages from relatives who had emigrated and some Red Cross messages dating from 1940 to 1942. The letters describe the lives of Edith's parents in Slovakia and indirectly Edith's life in England. Her parents appear unaware of the threat of deportation. Also included are summaries of the letters in English, a family tree, digital material relating to the family's history and two articles by Ian Payne regarding his family.

Administrative / Biographical History

Edith Payne (née Edit Guttmann, formerly Goldman, 1921-2003) was born in Trnava, Czechoslovakia. Her parents were Adolf Guttmann (born in 1894) from Slovakia and Paula Horner from Vienna (born 1897). Edith grew up in Bratislava where she went to secondary high school ('Gymnasium'). She left Czechoslovakia to study in Caen in 1937 but when the Second World War broke out she was forced to move to England being Jewish. She initially went to Birmingham where her aunt Fritzi and some friends were living. Working at Leytonstone town hall she met her future husband, Paul Benjamin Payne (formerly Goldman, born in 1914) from London. They got married in 1940. During Paul's army postings Edith lived at several addresses nearby. She worked as a teacher at a school in Llandudno, Wales, during this time.

Edith's parents were deported to Auschwitz concentration camp in 1942 where they perished soon after arrival.

Edith and Paul changed their name by deed poll to Payne in 1944. Their son, Ian, was born in 1944. The couple's house in London was bombed but they managed to rescue some of their belongings. After the war Edith trained to become a secondary school teacher of foreign languages and art. In 1974 she set up a shop selling art.



Access Information

Acquisition Information

Donated by Ian Payne



Related Material

See also photo server for digital material (Payne, Edith_Doc 1817)