The Trude Good collection – The library of Mrs Gertrud Good, 1907-1996 (Part 2)

War clouds: Paris and London

008

Bought the year before Trude left Germany (UL classmark: F193.d.1.2)

On 27 February 1933, Trude and Josef watched distant flames from the Reichstag fire from a balcony. This was the turning point for them. The Judas, plus Fred and some of her cousins who were Zionists, planned to leave Hitler’s Germany at once. Their parents’ generation felt established in society in spite of the Nazi threat: “Why should a war hero and successful businessman have to run away?” Eugen gave Trude and Fred a bag of gold each as a parting gift. The Judas , their furniture and the library went to Paris, Fred to the USA, and the cousins to Israel and Brazil.

In Paris, the Judas became part of a milieu of intellectuals, writers, painters etc., forming friendships with several, including Nicholas Monsarrat, author of The Cruel Sea. Here also the marriage came to an end.

In 1935, Trude moved to London, where her landlady was the widow of psychoanalyst Karl Abraham. She studied psychoanalysis at London University with Professor Carl Flügel, the experimental psychologist, and attended lectures by Earnest Jones, Freud’s first translator. To make a living she worked for Cook’s Tours, guiding groups hiking , mountaineering and skiing in the (still) peaceful hills of Germany and Switzerland. One client, Russell (Bill) Good, later became her second husband.

Again she became part of a milieu of writers, artists and intellectuals, such as early constructivist Naum Gabo, and Krishna Menon, an Indian politician (later Defence Minister in the Nehru Government). She joined the recently formed Glyndebourne Festival Opera. Norah Nicholls, one of Cambridge’s first female medical graduates, became a lifelong friend. She remembered a dinner party where Trude was the only guest able to name the author of a newly published novel they were discussing, announcing: “It’s Evelyn Voff” ‑ ‘Waugh’, after all, surely rhymes with ‘cough’!

 

Her parents escape

By 1938 Germany had become very dangerous for Jews. Eugen was briefly imprisoned for alleged “typically Jewish” financial dishonesty, but was saved by the meticulous clarity of his accounts. The Kleins realised that they must leave Germany, but by then visas were very difficult to obtain. Bill had a family connection, through his father, with Ernest Brown, Minister of Labour in the government. He telephoned the Ministry and was amazed when Brown himself answered and agreed to help.

A fluent German speaker, Bill went to Germany to help his future in-laws. However, once in Karlsruhe, he discovered that all was not correct in the papers for Eugen and Therese, so he had to make the long train journey to the British consulate in Berlin to receive the correct wording on the visas. There he witnessed the crowd of desperate people at the doors of the consulate trying to get papers. Eugen and Therese were not allowed to bring anything to England, and British Customs officers tried to turn them back as “enemy aliens”. Fortunately Fred, now in America, had obtained permits allowing them to settle in the USA. Trude’s bag of gold supported her parents through the war years. Eugen lost five of his six brothers in the Holocaust.

 

British

In 1939 Trude married Bill and settled in Gerrards Cross, a middle-class suburb near London. Trude and Bill had two children, a daughter (1940) and son (1944). Of course her books came too, joining Bill’s large collection: one room held the bound copies of Shakespeare in German, flanked by Schiller, Goethe and Schnitzler, others were all over the house. Her passion for reading meant that the collection grew to include English, American and French works. During the 1950s and 1960s she often took the family to London for concerts, operas, exhibitions and plays, notably Brecht’s Mother Courage (starring Lotte Lenya). She and Bill went regularly to the Old Vic and loved London theatres. They took their children to the Festival of Britain ‑ they loved the Festival Hall. In Gerrards Cross she belonged to a tiny band of arts lovers and became friends with local poet John Smith and novelist and painter Diana Gardner. Trude was proud to be British: that was her nationality ‑ which may have been a surprise to those who asked, as she never lost her accent.

 

The end

From 1985 Trude began to suffer from Stoke Adam’s disease, leading to multi infarct dementia. As her mental abilities declined she lost the ability to read, but not the memory of doing so: she would repeatedly ask:

“Which book am I reading at the moment?”

Trudl 1994

Trude in 1994

We hope that the books she treasured and always kept with her will bring knowledge and delight to those who now have access to them.

*********

Guest author: Martin Good and Niki Parker February 2016

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