1914-1918 World War 1 and after

The political situation was becoming ominous and early in 1914, his mother decided to sell her apartment, store the furniture and move to Berlin. In July 1914 she went to the "Kurhaus und Grand Hotel des Bains" (Spa and Hotel) in St.Moritz-Bad, Switzerland. She hoped that her son would follow her. The first of 81 letters to Ernst,  [1] written from the 27th of July 1914 onwards, expressed that hope. But by Saturday, the 1st of August 1914, war had become inevitable [2] and Ernst, the loyal German, joined his regiment, the Thorner Feldartillerie Regiment No.81. (Field Artillery Regiment) [3]   His sad mother returned to Berlin and took up residence in the Hotel-Pension van Heuckelum for the duration of the war. Worse, on the 10th of October, she received a telegram informing her that the furniture storage in Coblenz had gone up in flames and all her furniture had been burnt.  [4]   Her Bechstein grand piano, which she had  left with a friend, was all that survived.  Ernst Goldschmidt served as Wizewachtmeister (Vize Sergeant-Major of the Cavalry) on both the eastern and western fronts [5] . He was awarded the Iron Cross, second class, in 1916. [6] After demobilisation, despite being distressed from the dreadful experiences of the war, he remained determined to succeed with the practice as Rechtsanwalt und Notar (Solicitor, Barrister and Notary) in Berlin. His mother was overjoyed that he had survived.

1922 Ernst and Lore Goldschmidt, a team

(Photos 2 and 3)

Four years later, he met Lore Zweig. By sharing Prof. Franz and Mrs Gertrud No‘l's apartment both families were able to survive the German post war inflation and maintain an atmosphere of great love and affection. The resultant exuberance of joy produced a daughter on the 16th of February 1924.   At that time, Lore was in her second year of teacher's training, teaching at the Augusteschule (Auguste school) in Berlin where a sympathetic Headmaster granted her leave of absence for the birth of the baby. 4 months later, she passed the final teaching qualification with a good pass. [7] When she found herself expecting a second child the following year, even she decided to take some temporary leave of absence. Their son, Rudolf, was born on March 7, 1925. With the inflation halted, they were able to afford and acquire an apartment in Berlin-Grunewald, Egerstra§e 12. Grandmother, Helene Goldschmidt, joined them to help look after the children. The No‘ls also moved. They took a smaller apartment in Wilmersdorf to stay closer to their adopted family. With loyal domestic help available, Lore was able to return to teaching on 1/10/1925.  [8]   For four years she taught at the Bismark Lyceum (Bismark High School for Girls) in Grunewald. She expected to receive her permanency there but the appointment was terminated in 1929, maybe for antisemitic reasons.  [9]   Hildegard Wegscheider, a senior school inspector and friend of Lore Goldschmidt, had her transferred to a more senior position in the Sophie Charlotten Schule in Charlottenburg. She was happy there as the Head, Dr.Rosenow, and a colleague, Dr.Christman, proved to be supportive, both holding strong democratic views.    

1931, the first contact with England

In 1931, the very ambitious Lore Goldschmidt was bothered by the fact that 7 years earlier, in her final examination of 1924, she had achieved only an ordinary pass in English. She decided that the English section of the examination had to be repeated. This led to one of the most important decisions in her life. In order to become more fluent in the language she decided to go to an English private school, St.Christopher School, located in the Garden City of Letchworth, Herts. The Headmaster, Mr Lyn Harris, and his wife, Eleanor Harris were both Quakers who held fervent views about education. The school was completely co-educational. Lore greatly admired Harris' attitude towards his pupils, as his aim was to create independent adults by including senior pupils in the decision making process and give great freedom to all. [10] They became good friends, which would later stand her in such good stead. Lore also made friends with Mr. Ernest and Mrs.Gertrud Fernyhough, the deputy Headmaster, and Dudley Cheke, a past senior pupil, whom she invited to Berlin. He later proved a very loyal friend.  Family commitments obliged her to leave earlier than she had expected. Lore returned to Berlin, much refreshed and with an improved understanding of English (also bringing her memorable discoveries, packets of Corn Flakes and Quaker Oats plus a book of Illustrated English Nursery Rhymes). She passed her additional English examination with a good pass. [11]   One of the examiners and signatory of this "Zeugnis" (Certificate) was Dr.Lewent, later himself a teacher at the Dr. Leonore Goldschmidt Schule. Seven months later, on the 26 of January 1932, Helene Goldschmidt, who had been ailing for a considerable period of time, died. [12]   Ernst, Lore, the children and servants moved to a larger apartment Auguste Viktoria Stra§e 62,( Auguste Viktoria street 62), Schmargendorf. Gertrud No‘l, by now herself a widow, visited every day to supervise the homework of the children.  Warning signs about the impending political situation began to gather:- A Jewish friend, who had been born in Poland, decided to emigrate together with his family to the Argentine. When he told Ernst Goldschmidt that a possible ascent of the Nazis looked ominous Ernst replied: " Don't be silly, this is Germany not Poland". [13]   But the friend from Poland was right. Within a few months Hitler achieved the unthinkable.  

[1] These letters end on 27/10/1914, in possession of the author

[2] Norddeutsche Allgemeine Zeitung, special edition

[3] Bestallung als Vice Wachtmeister, Thorn, 24/12/1914

[4] Telegram no:177, 10/10/1914

[5] Das Thorner Feldartillerie Regiment, book by Albert Benary, published 1938, Verlag Graefe.

[6] Besitzzeugnis 11/10/1916

[7] Certificate, Staatliches Pädagogisches PrŸfungsamt, Berlin, 23/6/1924 

[8] Letter, 29/11/1924, granting leave of absence until 1/10/1925

[9] Dismissal Notice, 27/3/1929, Provincial Schulkollegium, Berlin, gez. Reinhard

[10] St Christopher School 1915-1975 by Reginald Snell and photo

[11] Zeugnis Ÿber eine ErweiterungsprŸfung fŸr das Lehramt,23/6/1931, signed by Lewent

[12] Gravestone, Liberal Jewish Cemetery, Willesden, London

[13] Conversation remembered by author