Document Reference NumberPR24
Acc No2019/21
TitlePapers of Helga and Irene Bejach, 1930s - 1990s
DescriptionThese papers cover a period of about 1939-1946 in two German Jewish girls' lives, from leaving Germany, spending 7 years in England staying with the Attenborough family (while Frederick Attenborough was Principal of University College Leicester), and their journey to America to be reunited with family there. There are some letters and papers in German.
LevelFonds
Date1930s - 1990s
Extent1 archive box
Related MaterialThere is a collection relating to Dr Curt Bejach (the girls' father) the Leo Baeck Institute Repository, the Center for Jewish History in New York (https://archives.cjh.org/repositories/5/resources/7560 )
Interview with Helga Waldman (unknown date) about her time with the Attenboroughs (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vNTasjWpk74 ) and interview held by United States Holocaust Memorial Museum: https://www.ushmm.org/online/hsv/person_view.php?PersonId=4974714
The Samuel and Irene Goudsmit collection (covering 1944-1985) is at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Washington.
ArrangementThe accession was gathered into various folders of related material by the depositors, which have mostly been preserved; sections for material created, owned or gathered by the Attenborough family and each Bejach sister seemed to be the simplest arrangement.
AdminHistoryHelga and Irene Bejach were two German Jewis girls who escaped the increasingly hostile environment for Jewish people in Germany on the kinderstransport in 1939. Helga first stayed with a Mrs Hancock and then both girls moved to stay with the Attenborough family from 1939-1946. They were able to emigrate to America following the end of the Second World War, to join their father's brothers and family. Their mother had died of TB before the war and their father Curt and elder sister, Jutta remained in Germany. Curt was taken to Theresienstadt and then Auschwitz in 1944 and is assumed to haev died there; Jutta also moved to America following the end of the war.
Helga was passionate about dance, studying at the Ginner Mawer school when it was evactuated to Cornwall, and became a dance teacher. She married Herman Waldman and died in 2005; they had 2 daughters, Beverly and Hilary. (Obituary here https://davidcgross.com/tribute/details/136237/Helga-Waldman/obituary.html)
Irene married Samuel Goudsmit, a physicist, in 1960; he died in 1978 and she died in 1994.
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