Dr.Leonore Goldschmidt Schule




© Gertrud H. Thompson, February 2005. All rights reserved.    



In 1934, while on a visit to a small town in southern Germany, Leonore and Ernst Goldschmidt became aware of the suffering endured by local Jewish school children, who were at the mercy of a few outspoken Nazis. This was especially hurtful, when those families had known each other for some years and had been living as neighbours. The Nazi hate propaganda included baptised children of Jewish parents. By contrast, in Berlin, where Leonore and Ernst resided, the situation was better as a certain amount of anonymity was possible. This awareness led Leonore Goldschmidt to contemplate opening a boarding school which would offer a good education in peaceful surroundings. As she was a teacher with a doctorate in history, Leonore Goldschmidt had the necessary qualifications to undertake such a project. But equally important was her strong and determined personality displayed since her youth.    

Before the First World War

The young Leonore, 1897-1914

Leonore or Lore, as she was called, was born on the 16th of November 1897 in Gosda by Klinge [2] . (Photo 1).  Her sister, Martha, was 13 years her senior. Her mother, Jenny Zweig neŽ Marcuse came from well established families in Schwerin and Crossen. Shortly before her death in March 1934, Jenny wrote a letter to her niece, Lotte Just, containing much information about her ancestors [3] including the fact that her paternal grandfather had been the Mohel in Schwerin and considered a learned man. Lore's father, Wilhelm Zweig, was born in Lublinitz then part of Germany, now Lubliniec, Silesia, Poland. He had two older brothers Karl and Joseph. Joseph and Wilhelm left Lublinitz to settle in Forst/Lausitz. When their father, Lore's grandfather, Adolf Zweig, died in 1893, Joseph signed his death certificate. It stated that Adolf had been married to Lorel Richter, that, at the time of his death, he was a house owner in Lublinitz  [4] but had come from a farm in Molna, located a few kilometres outside Lublinitz. Molna is of interest as the family of Arnold Zweig, the writer, also farmed there  [5]   but, due to the immense destruction of records by the German Army in 1939, the exact relationship between the two Zweig families could so far not be established.  After Wilhelm Zweig's arrival in the Lausitz, he discovered a clay pit near Gosda by Klinge and started to make bricks. A financial partner in the undertaking, Wilhelm Just, introduced him to his sister-in-law, Jenny Marcuse whom Wilhelm Zweig promptly married.  [6] By the time Lore was born, her father had a well established business, called a Dampfziegelei, (Steam driven brick works) in Gosda by Klinge. To-day it has disappeared, a huge lignite coal hole is all that remains. But the original little railway station at Klinge still exists. When the Gosda clay deposit became exhausted, Wilhelm Zweig opened a new brick factory at Lieberose and, remembering his childhood in Molna, bought one farm in Zimmersdorf and one in Pfšrten. Lore had an idyllic childhood. She loved living in the country. She often talked to her children about the pony trap, which took her to school. In June 1908, when Lore was eleven years old, she wrote a letter to her mother, who was taking a cure in Wiesbaden [7] . It showed that Lore's handwriting was outstanding. To enable her to continue her education and attend a secondary school, the family moved to Forst where she joined the Luise Schule. There she learnt English, French, History, Mathematics and Science. She learnt Jewish History and Religion from Herr Pulverman, the Cantor, who looked after the small Forst congregation. Wilhelm Zweig contributed to his upkeep although the Zweig family was an emancipated family.    

LoreÕs adult education, 1914-1923

  In 1914, the year war broke out, Lore was 17 years old. She wanted to continue her education but, as only the boys' section of the Luise Schule continued to the Abitur (Final High school leaving examination), she decided to attend the private school of Dr.Krause in Halle for a further two years. A war time card from her father, to Halle has survived. [8] It was written from Forst as he was, fortunately, too old to serve in the army. Because Dr.Krause's school had no facilities to actually take the Abitur, Lore had to go to the Grunewald Gymnasium for Boys in Berlin to sit the examination. [9] Her Zeugnis der Reife, (Certificate of maturity) showed that she passed her favourite subject, History, with a very good mark, Latin, French and Geography with a good pass, English, German, Mathematics and Chemistry with a pass but failed Physics. It was issued on her father's birthday. Her parents were immensely proud of her as it was a great achievement for a girl from a small town to obtain the Abitur especially under the depressing circumstances of the war.   Lore was determined to continue her education and obtain a doctorate in History, a further six year undertaking. Fortunately, her father, a wealthy man, was able to fund the educational demands of his beloved daughter. She decided to start her academic life in Jena, the romantic town where the great German poet and playwright, Friedrich Schiller, had taught in the previous century. She selected European History, German Language with Literature, and English. She attended an introduction to Philosophy and learnt some Greek. As was customary at the time, she changed after two semesters to another university. Heidelberg was her choice, where many famous professors were lecturing. She was able to attend lectures by Hermann Oncken, Heinrich Hampe, Friedrich Gundolf and the doyen of Heidelberg, Johannes Hoops. Joseph Goebbels was a contemporary student. She started work on her thesis: "Das Argument deutscher Orientpolitik in der deutschen šffentlichen Meinung" (The discussion of German Orient Policies within the framework of German public opinion). After three semesters in Heidelberg, she moved to Berlin for six semesters. The lectures that she attended were listed in her Final Certificate [10] . Most noticeable was her interest in English Literature, taught by Prof.Walter HŸbner, who would later play a most important and controversial part in her life. She returned to Heidelberg to finish her thesis and was awarded her doctorate, magna cum laude, in July 1921. [11]   All these academic successes were remarkable especially taking the political and destructive social situation into account. During the last two years of the war, two cousins on her mothers side had been killed in action. Her brother-in-law had to join the army causing great anxiety to her sister. Thankfully he survived. With the destruction of the Turkish empire, her father had lost his investments in the Orient Express Railway. Further financial losses followed due to the inflation. Nevertheless Lore remained determined to finish her education and become a qualified teacher.   By 1921 costs had increased enormously. Finding a place to live in Berlin had become difficult. Luckily, a fellow student and friend suggested that her godparents, an elderly couple, wanted to rent some rooms as they had lost their adopted nephew in the war and were very lonely. It proved to be a home from home. Despite coming from a different background, Prof.Franz No‘l, who came from a Protestant Huguenot family, and his wife, Gertrud, a teacher (Photo 4), accepted Lore as a daughter. They had many interests in common as Prof. No‘l was Professor of Theology and History. Having found this wonderful place to live, Lore was able to register for the final examination. She had to submit another thesis: "Die Politischen Ideen in Goethes Faust" (Political ideas in Goethe's Faust). The oral examinations were held on the 6th and 7th of March, 1922. The certificate stated that she had passed History with a satisfactory pass, German with a good pass and English subsidiary with a pass. It was issued on the 9th of May and signed by Prof.Walter HŸbner. [12] She had completed her academic qualifications as a teacher in the German High School system and was sent for practical training to the Cecilien Schule in Wilmersdorf. Two months later, on the 7th of July, her father, aware of his beloved daughter's success, died of cancer.    

Meeting Ernst Goldschmidt 1922

 In August of that year, another Gertrud, Gertrud Arnheim, celebrated herseventeenth birthday in Berlin. Her aunt, her father's sister, threw a birthdayparty and invited Lore Zweig because Lore had been Gertrud's babysitter inForst, where both families, the Arnheims and the Zweigs, had lived in differentapartments in the same block. Another considerably older person, a lawyer, whohad returned to Berlin after four years of war service, was also invited. Hewas a cousin of Gertrud's mother, Adele Arnheim, neŽ Levinger. Gertrud decided that the two"older" persons should sit together. This fateful decision broughtErnst Goldschmidt into Lore's life. Within months they were engaged and theymarried the following May, in 1923. [13] With the inflation raging andaccommodation still very difficult to find, Ernst moved in with Lore and theever-supportive No‘ls. Thus the No‘ls became friends for life with Lore andErnst.    

Ernst Goldschmidt 1885-1914

  Ernst Goldschmidt was born on the 20th of January, 1885 in Coblenz. [14] His childhood was sadly marred by the death of his father, Ruben Goldschmidt, which occurred 6 days after his second birthday, leaving his mother, Helene Goldschmidt neŽ Englaender, a professional pianist, to raise him.  They were not alone as Helene's mother and sister lived in Mainz, then a three hour journey from Coblenz. The sister had six children, 2 boys and 4 very beautiful girls who were slightly older than Ernst.  [15]   He loved them and they remained his friends throughout his life. One of these "girls" was Adele Levinger, later Arnheim, whose daughter, Gertrud, would introduce him to Lore Zweig. Many other cousins lived in Coblenz, because his father, Ruben, had been the oldest of 5 children. Second cousins lived in Ehrenbreistein on the east bank of the Rhine, the Prussian side [16] , which was not as accommodating to Jewish people as the west side, the French side. It was one of the reasons why Ruben's father, Elias Goldschmidt, a jeweller, had left Ehrenbreitstein in 1850 and moved to Coblenz where he opened a business at Rheinstra§e 34, a four story building.  [17]   On the ground floor was the store which sold silver and porcelain tableware, on the first floor was the jewellery department with the family occupying the upper floors. Some time later, Elias' nephew, Wilhelm Goldschmidt, a banker, followed him across the Rhine and opened a bank on the opposite side of the rose garden which faced Rheinstra§e 34. One of his children and therefore Ernst's second cousin, Robert Goldschmidt, became Ernst's closest friend. In fact, throughout Ernst Goldschmidt's life, all these family friendships were of paramount importance. Elias' business was most successful and he was appointed Crown Jeweller:"Elias Goldschmidt, Hof-Juwelier Sr.Kaiserlichen und Kšniglichen Hoheit des Kronprinzen des Deutschen Reiches und von Preussen" (Elias Goldschmidt, Crown Jeweller to the Imperial and Royal Highness, the Crown Prince of Germany and Prussia). [18]  This was a tremendous honour. He opened two other branches, one in Bad Elms and one in Cologne. When Elias died in 1864, his widow, Amalie Goldschmidt, neŽ Leroy, was left to run the business and bring up Ruben, aged 15 and the four younger children. Fortunately she was another very able and very beautiful person. [19] A small booklet, in which she recorded, in her very fine handwriting  [20] , all family member's birthdays, weddings and other dates has survived. By 1879, Ruben and his brother Joseph were listed as partners in the business "Elias Goldschmidt und Sšhne". [21] That same year Ruben, who had been the honorary choir master of the Coblenz Synagogue, was made an "Ehrenmitglied" (Honorary Member) of the congregation  [22] . In 1884, Amalie died. Three years later Ruben died. His younger brothers, Joseph and Bernhard, decided to put their major effort into the Cologne branch of Elias Goldschmidt und Sšhne, leaving Helene Goldschmidt to look after the business in Coblenz. In 1900, Helene Goldschmidt sold her interest in the business and bought a large modern apartment outside the old city boundary. Ernst, now 15 years old, attended the Gymnasium where he learnt Latin and classical Greek, but his joy was playing the piano. He had inherited much talent from both his parents. With High School completed, he decided to study Law. His first University was Munich. From a surviving "Concert und Theater MerkbŸchlein" (Concert and Theatre Diary) with starting date, the 5th of November 1903,  [23] it appeared that much of his spare time was spent at the opera, concerts and theatre. His other hobby was walking in the Alps. On the 5th of August he climbed Mont Blanc.  [24] In October 1904 he changed his university studies to Berlin. In 1905, entries in the Theater MerkbŸchlein suddenly ceased indicating that he must have started his compulsory German Army training service. Eventually in May 1911 he finished his studies and passed the "StaatsprŸfung zum Gerichtsassessor" (State Examination for Assistant Judge)  [25] . A second document in 1912 referred him to the "Oberlandesgerichtspräsident" (President of the Supreme Court) in Cologne, instructing him to work as a Referendar (Junior Barrister) in the Cologne district. Together with his cousin, Ernst Mayer he joined the Coblenz riding club.  [26]   But he did not enjoy life in a provincial town and after finishing his training decided to return to Berlin where he opened a practice as "Rechtsanwalt und Notar" (Solicitor, Barrister and Notary).  

[1] Gertrud Thompson is the daughter of Leonore and Ernst Goldschmidt, birth certificate   

[2] Birth certificate No 27, Klinge, 23/11/1897

[3] This letter survived the emigration but was lost and only photocopies exist

[4] Death Certificate, No 54, issued in Lublinitz of 23/4/1893.

[5] Marriage Certificate, No 110, of Carl Zweig to Regina Abraham, 6/9/1886

[6] Zweig Family Tree, constructed by the author

[7] Lore's letter to Jenny Zweig at Hotel Englischer Hof, Wiesbaden, with envelop and photo

[8] Card in possession of the author

[9] Zeugnis der Reife, Real Gymnasium, Berlin Grunewald, 31/3/1916

[10] Abgangszeugnis, Friedrich-Wilhelm Universität, Berlin, 1921

[11] Doctoris Philosophiae, Universitate Ruperto-Carola, 20/9/1921

[12] PrŸfungs Zeugnis, Wissenschaftliches PrŸfungsamt, Nr 356, Berlin Lichterfelde, 9/5/1922

[13] Marriage Certificate, Charlottenburg, 17/5/1923  

[14] Announcement in Coblenzer Zeitung, 21/1/1885

[15] Englaender Family Tree

[16] Archives, Ehrenbreitstein reports on page 312

[17] Notes made by author from Coblenz Town Records

[18] Photocopy of Announcement in Coblenzer Zeitung

[19] Paintings of Elias and Amalie Goldschmidt in possession of the author

[20] Handwritten Booklet, which survived both wars and emigration, in possession of the author

[21] Coblenz Archives

[22] Documents in possession of the author, Coblenz Synagogue 1879

[23] Booklet in possession of the author

[24] Certificat d'Ascension au Mont-Blanc, Chamonix, in possession of the author

[25] Anlage Patent, Justizminister, Berlin,  2 documents 9/5/1912

[26] Mitglieder-Verzeichnis, Coblenzer Reitclub,1912