Alan Twigg’s tribute to Rudolf Vrba

Rudolf Vrba, who escaped Auschwitz and co-authored a report saving 200,000 lives, remains unrecognized in Vancouver despite his significant historical impact. Alan Twigg (l.) seeks to change this.” FULL STORY


A hidden child bears witness

February 05th, 2015

M. Rene Goldman, who taught at UBC and retired to Summerland, is a childhood survivor of the holocaust. His self-published memoir is Childhood on the Move: Memoirs of a child-survivor of the Holocaust (2014). He writes:

“This book is more than a narration of my life during the sadly unforgettable years of the Shoah, when death lay in wait for me at every turn of a winding road for no cause other than my Jewish birth. I deem it nothing short of miraculous that I survived that time of anguish and pain.

“I survived in the shadow of terror across three countries in succession: Luxembourg, where I was born, Belgium, where my parents thought we had found refuge in 1940, and France, where I suffered the most tragic moments of my life, notably the successive loss of my mother and my father.

“It was in France, where the government and its police collaborated so zealously with the “Final Solution”, that I experienced my own closest brush with death. More than half of my book is devoted to the years in which I grew up in France: from 1942 to 1950.

“From my recollections of the years when the necessity to evade the ubiquitous threat required that I be moved “from pillar to post”, I proceed to an account of the years that followed the Second World War, when I was raised in a succession of children’s homes (orphanages) in France, then lived for three years in Poland, where I completed my secondary education and next, began my university studies in China. All told, this memoir encompasses the first twenty years of my life.

“This book is, however, no bare chronological narrative; woven into the tapestry of my recollections are observations on the historical events and Zeitgeist that impacted my destiny, besides passing reflections concerning politics, culture, and life in general.

“I bear witness to a tragedy unprecedented in history, during which six million Jews, including my entire family in Poland, with the single exception of one uncle, were murdered in cold blood. I seek here to offer my modest contribution to the perpetuation of the memory of that tragedy in the fervent hope that it will neither be forgotten, nor denied. May present and future readers find in these memoirs matter for reflection and, perhaps will some discover in them an avenue of research.

“I belong to the generation of survivors, who in the 1980s received recognition as a class different from that of adult survivors of the Shoah. We are known as the “child-survivors”, who were too young to comprehend why the Nazis and their collaborators across Europe waged a war of extermination against us. We are also known as the “hidden children”, since we survived in hiding in various ways, mainly under the protection of caring Gentiles.

“Like many of my peers, I have over the decades written and spoken publicly in schools, universities, churches, about my personal experience as a child-survivor of the Shoah. My family and people of various walks of life have encouraged me to write my story. Thus motivated, I put pen to paper in the late evening of my life.”

10 Responses to “A hidden child bears witness”

  1. Dalia Gottlieb-Tanaka says:

    Hi Rene, I am Dalia and my daughter is Carmel. I am trying to contact you through e-mail. Could you please send me your e-mail to I read your book and wanted to write few words directly to you. I have your wife’s e-mail, but I think it must be an old e-mail. we are now in North Vancouver and sharing our time with Vernon. All the best, Dalia

  2. michele Smolkin says:

    Could you please forward my email to René Goldman?
    Hello René, I lost contact with you when you move to Summerland. I’m Michele Rechtman-Smolkin, the daughter of a friend of Marguerite Krzentowski (Maurice Rechtman). I’ve sent your book to Alain and Roland Krzentowski in France and they would like very much to contact you. I used to work for Radio-Canada and you came to my house for one of the Jewish holidays. Anyway, would love to reconnect. Hope all is well with you.

  3. Julie Danyluk says:

    Hello Rene,
    I am a former student from UBC. I would very much like to purchase a copy of your book.
    Hope you are well and enjoying life in Summerland.

    All the best,
    Julie (Grossman)Danyluk

  4. Mink says:

    Cher René,
    Les années passent, reprenons le contact.
    Georges, Jurek

  5. Anne Kerlan says:

    Hello M. Goldman, this letter might seem awkward as I am contacting you not because of your book but because another moment of your life. I am a french researcher, working on history of China. I am currently writing the biography of one of Beijing University student who was labelled as a rightist in 1957, and was later executed. I found out that you were yourself a student at Beijing University during that same time ; you even wrote 2 wonderful articles about it in 1960 and 1961 issues of The China Quarterly, that I read, they are very precious sources of information. Would you agree to share with me some memories of your time in Beijing university, maybe you knew some of the students I am working on? This would be a great contribution to my research. If you agree, you can write to the email address below. Many thanks. All my best. Anne

  6. Annie Poirier says:


    I am working on a series of interviews about the history of French people in British Columbia. As I stopped in Summerland to buy some cherries, Jackie, the owner of the farm, told me about Mr. Goldman’s story.

    I am now trying to find an email address or a phone number, in order to contact Mr. Goldman for an interview. This request is time sensitive, as I’ll be leaving the region on Friday, July 15, 2016.

    Your help would be highly appreciated.

    Kind regards,

    Annie Poirier

  7. Rene Goldman says:

    Please be so kind as to forward my e-mail address to those two ladies: Malgorzata Borecka and Margaret Loden

  8. Margaret Loden says:

    Dear Rene,
    What a surprise when I typed in your name on the internet and read about your memoir
    \’Childhood on the Move\’. I would very much like to purchase a copy. I am now 92 and still in my own home on Belvista Cres. with a live in caregiver. Marg.

  9. Malgorzata Borecka says:

    Hello, I would like to contact Rene Goldman . because my dad Jerzy Borecki was a friend, colleague Rene . My dad died and I wanted to talk to him.Whether it is possible contact Rene ? Or let him touch me by e-mail . Thanks in advance, best regards Malgorzata Borecka

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