Le Programme des mémoires de survivants de l’Holocauste

René Goldman

More Information

Map

Né(e)
25 mars 1934 Luxembourg City, Luxembourg

Map of Mukacevo, Czechoslovakia

immigré(e)
1963 Summerland, Colombie Britannique

René Goldman grows up entranced with the theatre, music, languages and geography. Surrounded by his parents’ love and protection, he wanders the streets and alleys of Luxembourg and then Brussels, carefree and prone to mischief. Yet as he starts hearing adults speak the words “deportation” and “resettlement,” René is forced to grapple with a strange reality. When his family flees to France, eight-year-old René is separated from both of his parents and shunted between children’s homes and convents, where he must hide both his identity and his mounting anxiety. As René waits and waits for his parents to return, even liberation day does not feel like freedom. An eloquent personal narrative detailed with historical research and commentary, A Childhood Adrift explores identity, closure, disillusionment and the anguish of silenced emotions.

À propos de René

René Goldman was born in Luxembourg on March 25, 1934. After the war, he lived in children’s homes in Paris for five years, after which he studied in Poland for three years. In 1953, René immigrated to Beijing, studying Chinese language, literature and history for five years. In 1960, he pursued graduate studies in the Department of History and the East Asian Institute at Columbia University; he then accepted a position on the faculty of the University of British Columbia, where he completed his post-graduate studies and taught courses in Chinese history. René Goldman lives with his wife, Terry, in Summerland, BC.

Photos et Artefacts

  • René Goldman larger image and caption

    Mira Shaindl Arenstein, la mère de René, et son père Wolf Goldman, le jour de leur mariage. Luxembourg, 1931.

  • René Goldman larger image and caption

    Les parents de René et leurs amis. Mira Shaindl Arenstein, la mère de René, est assise devant, tout à gauche. Son père Wolf Goldman est devant elle, à genoux. Gantenbeinsmillen, début des années 1930.

  • René Goldman larger image and caption

    René dans les bras de sa cousine Ginette. Gantenbeinsmillen, vers 1938.

  • René Goldman larger image and caption

    René, au centre, avec sa mère Mira Shaindl Arenstein et son père Wolf Goldman, dans un parc public. Luxembourg, 1939.

  • René Goldman larger image and caption

    René à l’âge de 6 ans avec sa mère. Luxembourg, 1940.

  • René Goldman larger image and caption

    Simon Domb, le cousin de René, vêtu de l’uniforme napoléonien traditionnel de l’École polytechnique. Paris, vers 1940.

  • René Goldman larger image and caption

    René et ses parents au mariage de Joseph Lewin, le fils aîné de leur ami Max Lewin. René est assis par terre, tout à gauche. La mère de René est debout derrière la femme qui tient des fleurs. Son père se tient dans la rangée d’en haut, tout à droite. Bruxelles, 1941.

  • René Goldman larger image and caption

    René, à l’âge de 11 ans. Andrésy, France, 1945.

  • René Goldman larger image and caption

    René, à l’âge de 12 ans. Andrésy, France, 1946.

  • René Goldman larger image and caption

    Une carte postale du manoir de Denouval, un des foyers gérés par la Commission centrale de l’enfance. Andrésy, France.


  • René Goldman larger image and caption

    Petit-déjeuner à Andrésy. René tend son bol pour qu’on lui resserve à manger. Les enfants qui regardent par les fenêtres viennent d’une autre salle à manger ; ils avaient vraisemblablement terminé de manger mais n’avaient pas eu l’autorisation de sortir. Vers 1945.

  • René Goldman larger image and caption

    René et des étudiants du manoir de Denouval. René se tient seul dans le cadre de la fenêtre, tout à gauche. Adam Rayski et Marc Chagall sont côte à côte, au milieu du deuxième rang en partant de derrière. Andrésy, 1946.

  • René Goldman larger image and caption

    René est debout, tout à gauche, penché en avant pour former la lettre V avec ses doigts au-dessus de la tête de son amie Evelyne, la deuxième fille en partant de la gauche dans la rangée du milieu. Ses autres amies sont Elsa Zilberbogen, la troisième fille en partant de la gauche, et Eliane Gourevitch, la quatrième fille en partant de la gauche. Le Raincy-Côteaux, 1947.

  • René Goldman larger image and caption

    La chorale des enfants à Livry-Gargan. René est le deuxième en partant de la gauche, dans la rangée du fond. 1948.

  • René Goldman larger image and caption

    Sophie Micnik. Nice, vers 1990.

  • René Goldman larger image and caption

    René. Summerland, Colombie britannique, 2003.

  • René Goldman larger image and caption

    René se tient devant un panneau indiquant l’entrée de Kalisz. Pologne, 2003.

  • René Goldman larger image and caption

    René et sa femme Terry, au Lac Morskie Oko, dans les Hautes Tatras. Pologne, 2003.

  • René Goldman larger image and caption

    René et Terry. Îles Galapagos, Équateur, 2008.

  • René Goldman larger image and caption

    René dans son bureau. Summerland, Colombie britannique, vers 2010.

  • René Goldman larger image and caption

    René et sa femme Terry. Whistler, Alberta, 2013.

  • René Goldman larger image and caption

    René, sa femme Terry, et leurs petites-filles Katrina et Kirsten, fêtant le quatre-vingtième anniversaire de René. Summerland, Colombie britannique, 2014.

Le livre

Cover of A Childhood Adrift (Traduction française à venir)

A Childhood Adrift (Traduction française à venir)

Holding me kicking and screaming, that brute ran toward the awaiting train, past Mama, whom I saw being dragged over the floor struggling and crying. The entire station was a scene of bedlam, with men, women and children being pulled, shoved and hurled into the train….

Explorer l'histoire de René dans Re:Collection

More Survivors

Close

A Childhood Adrift (Traduction française à venir)

The Train

Early one morning, Mama came into the room where I had stayed overnight with Dutch friends. Roused from my sleep, I was shocked to see her in tears as she ordered me to get up and dress quickly because the police were waiting for us in front of the hotel. She pleaded with me that I should cry, so that perhaps I might soften the heart of the policemen. But strangely enough, I, who had hitherto been something of a crybaby, could not bring myself to shed a tear. I looked at Mama with pleading, frightened eyes, yet felt too numb to cry. Once out on the street we were gathered into a large crowd of Jews who had been collected from our hotel and elsewhere in town. To my further dismay, I discovered that Papa was not with us. He had gone out before the police arrived, perhaps to buy a newspaper, or could it be that he pursued a lead to a possible hiding place for us? I shall never know.

Like a lugubrious procession we were marched along the street that led to the railway station. The police chief in charge was a burly brute with a moustache like Stalin’s; he swore at us, spouted antisemitic insults and shoved and bullied our pitiful flock all the way. What awaited us when we reached the square in front of the railway station was a veritable coup de théâtre, a sudden turn of events: by an unbelievable coincidence Aunt Fella had arrived on the night train from Limoges and happened to walk out of the station at the very moment when we were brought there! I still hear her cry of astonishment, “Mon Dieu, qu’est-ce qu’il se passe?” (Oh my God, what is happening?) Then, seeing that I happened to be at the end of the queue and that the police chief had momentarily turned away from it, she pulled me by the hand whispering, “Viens, sauve-toi avec moi!” (Come, run away with me.) But I was too dumbfounded to run. A moment later the police chief turned around; he saw my aunt pull me away and raced after us, slapped my tiny, frail aunt on both cheeks, and violently seized me by the hair and the seat of my trousers. Thus holding me kicking and screaming, that brute ran inside the station and toward the awaiting train on the first platform, past Mama, whom I saw being dragged over the station floor struggling and crying. The entire station was a scene of bedlam, with men, women and children being pulled, shoved and hurled into the train….

Just as the police chief was about to throw me into the train as well, two gendarmes in khaki uniforms appeared in the nick of time to stop him. Without a word he let go of me. One of the two officers took me aside and gently pressed my head to his chest, so that I would see no more of these horrendous scenes. After a moment he turned me around, saying, “Look, your mother is in that window over there waving goodbye to you.” The train then moved. That was the last time I saw my mama.