The Trude Good collection – The library of Mrs Gertrud Good, 1907-1996 (Part 1)

“Glimpses of Trude”

The library of Mrs Gertrud Good, known to her friends and family as Trude, was one of the many collections of books brought into the country when their owners fled persecution in mainland Europe.  The Library has subsequently benefited from sev009eral donations of such material, which offer a welcome opportunity to plug gaps in our holdings.   Highlights from the Good collection include two first editions by Hans Fallada (F193.d.1.3 and F193.d.1.4), with cover designs by George Grosz and Olaf Gulbransson, and Else Lasker-Schüler’s prose text Arthur Aronymus (F193.d.1.2), incorporating on the cover and dust-jacket a drawing by the author herself. The life of the young woman who bought these books in 1931 and 1932 is briefly described by her son and daughter in the following two posts.


Before 1914

Trude’s father Eugen Klein grew up on a farm with three half-sisters and six brothers in Waldorf, a village near Heidelberg. His parents arranged his marriage, choosing Therese Flegenheimer. Eugen invested her dowry in what became a prosperous leather wholesaling business in Karlsruhe, where they settled in a comfortable flat. Trude was born in 1907, her brother Manfred (‘Fred’) in 1910. They led a prosperous bourgeois life. Therese had a dressmaker, a milliner and domestic help. Karlsruhe’s thriving cultural life ‑ the norm throughout Germany at that time ‑ meant that the family regularly went to plays and operettas. They felt truly German and patriotic: Trude remembered being “moved to tears” when she and her classmates watched as the Kaiser paraded through the boulevards around Schloss Karlsruhe.


Trude, Eugen and Fred c1914

Wartime and after

During World War 1, Eugen fought on the Russian front. It was a time of shortages and worry for the family left at home. Trude grew up to be a lively, popular teenager, the only family member with red hair and a fiery temperament. Although she believed Karlsruhe was “more civilised” than most of Germany because of its proximity to France, most of her friends were from the Jewish and Catholic minorities, seen as “different” in that predominantly Protestant community. At the Gymnasium she did well academically but also enjoyed dancing and acting. One teacher recorded her “unforgettable” performance playing Turandot, the irresistible, cold-hearted beauty in Schiller’s adaptation of Carlo Gozzi’s commedia dell’arte play. (Puccini’s opera came later, in 1926.) Trude loved the outdoors and went hiking and skiing in the Black Forest. One of her friends was Erik Hombourger, stepson of the local doctor. He studied painting but discovered that his real interest and talent was developmental psychology. He became a well-known developmental psychologist, reverting to his Swedish name, Erik Erikson. He gave her two paintings, and it is possible he painted her portrait.


University, marriage and Berlin 

In 1928 Trude went to University in Heidelberg and (later) Berlin, to study Germanistik (German language and literature). She was drawn to the company of artists and intellectuals, and planned a dissertation on Arthur Schnitzler, who was influenced by Sigmund Freud’s ideas.


Trude in the 1920s

Berlin coincided with her first marriage to Josef Juda. They rented an apartment that they furnished in a light modern style, completely different from the heavy dark furniture at home. We think that this is when the library was established. The Judas embraced Berlin’s highly charged atmosphere of cultural innovation mixed with political unrest. They loved going to the theatre and opera, seeing new works by Brecht and Weill and much else besides. They loved new architecture, furniture and fashion, and bought a table and chairs by Mies van der Rohe from the Bauhaus.

Guest author: Martin Good and Niki Parker February 2016

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