Goodwin family papers

Scope and Content

This collection contains a personal account of Gerald Goodwin (formerly Gerhard Guttmann) who was eight years old when his family fled Jewish persecution in Germany and emigrated to England in 1937. He describes his family's emigration, their lives as refugees and "enemy aliens" in London, Bristol and Wales, the post-war years and relations with the Lazarus and Cohn families. Also included is some material relating to the Lazarus family, ancestors of the Guttmanns, such as a eulogy and memorial for Professor Leopold Cohn (died 1915), eulogy for Arthur Wolfgang Cohn (died 1920) and photographs mainly of the Lazarus family.

Administrative / Biographical History

Gerald Goodwin (formerly Gerhard Guttmann) was born to Kurt and Helene Guttmann (née Cohn) in Beuthen (now Bytom) Upper Silesia, Germany in 1929. His brother Werner Arthur was born in 1931. His mother Helene came from well known Jewish families of rabbis and scholars such as Moritz Lazarus, a professor of philosophy and ethics. With the increasing persecution of Jews in Germany, Kurt and Helene Guttmann decided to emigrate. They initially planned to go to Hong Kong but with the outbreak of the Sino-Japanese war they cancelled their plans and emigrated to England instead in August 1937. They stayed with their friends, Bruno Schindler, a scholar who established a Sino-German Foundation in Germany before fleeing in 1933, and his wife Alma and her sister Erna. Bruno and the sisters set up a school for Jewish refugee children (Regents Park School) in Hampstead, London. Gerald and his brother Werner attended this school for a few months to learn English.

The family soon moved to Bristol where Kurt opened a dental practice supported by Helene and her sister Friedl, who had arrived from Breslau in 1938. Gerald's grandmother, Bona, visited the family in 1939 but returned to Breslau. She was deported to Theresienstadt concentration camp in 1942 where she was murdered.

Following the fall of France in 1940, Bristol was declared a "protected area" and the family had to move away as "enemy aliens". They went to a farm near Malmesbury in Wiltshire. Kurt was interned as enemy alien. He was held at a camp near Manchester and later at Lochgilhead, Scotland. He was released in October 1940. The family moved to Porth in the Rhondda valley, South Wales. The brothers went to school in Porth and their father started practising dentistry again.

In 1947 the Guttmanns became British citizens and changed their name to Goodwin.

Conditions Governing Access

Acquisition Information

Donated by Gerald Goodwin



Alternative Form Available

Photographs also held on CD

Related Material

For photographs see photo server (captions of photos provided with papers)