If I Were a Bird: Escaping Hitler

Margaretha Goldman

If I Were a Bird

In 1939 I travelled with my parents on a tram in Amsterdam. With us were my father's eldest brother and his wife and daughter, who lived in Australia but had returned to visit their Dutch family.

The tone of conversation that day is etched in my mind. Somehow I realised that serious things were being discussed. My uncle's words made no sense to my eleven-year-old mind: 'come home with us when we leave because Hitler is on the rise and soon it won't be kosher for you to be here.'

Despite my lack of understanding, I felt an undeniable sense of dread when Mum said, 'I can't leave my mother and father.'

Why did my uncle want my mother to leave my grandparents?

Six months later I understood the 'why'.