Wisconsin Survivors of the Holocaust
Name: Henry Golde (1929 – )
Birth Place: Plock, Poland
Arrived in Wisconsin: 1954, Milwaukee
I could sit with you
for a month and still wouldn't tell you my whole story.
Henry Golde was born in Plock, Poland, on May 5, 1929, the younger son of a Polish father and a Lithuanian mother. When the Germans occupied Plock in September 1939, Henry's family was ordered into a ten-block area of the city designated as the Jewish ghetto.
The ghetto was liquidated in early 1940. The Golde family was transported to the city of Chmielnik and again forced to live in a ghetto. After six months, 11-year-old Henry was selected for forced labor at the munitions factory at Skarzysko-Kamienna, Poland. His parents and brother were gassed at Treblinka.
In the fall of 1943, the Germans shipped Henry to a slave labor camp at Czestochowa, Poland. After three months, he was deported to Buchenwald. He was there for a brief period before being transferred to a munitions factory at Colditz, Germany. Shortly before the end of the war, the slave laborers at Colditz were force-marched to Theresienstadt in Czecho¬slovakia. The Russian army liberated the city on May 1, 1945.
Henry remained at Theresienstadt with 300 other children until June 1945 when the British government airlifted them to Windermere, England. With the help of Jewish organizations in Britain, the children were housed in hostels and taught technical trades. Henry became a tailor. His wife, whom he married in 1948, was also a tailor.
The Goldes immigrated to the U.S. in 1952. Henry worked as a tailor, cab driver, and salesman in New York, Pennsylvania, and Ohio before arriving in Milwaukee in 1954. He held a variety of jobs during the 1960s. In 1972 he bought a tavern in Merrill, Wisconsin and ran it for five years. Henry remained involved with the Merrill community, lectured on the Holocaust, and served on the boards of many local organizations. He moved to Neenah in the 1980s. As of January 2009, Henry was living in Appleton.
Audio and Transcript Information
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Listen to Henry's testimony and view transcript
- Early childhood in Plock, Poland
- Family background in Russia
- Jewish cultural life in Plock
- Underlying anti-Semitism of Gentiles
- Family's religious life in Plock
- Increasing anti-Semitism after 1935
- Henry's secular and religious education
- Relations between Jews and Gentiles in Plock
- Outbreak of war and Nazi occupation of Plock
- Persecution of Polish Jews
- Creation of Plock Ghetto
- Sneaking out for food
- Liquidation of the Plock Ghetto, 1940
- Family's deportation to Mlawa and Chmielnik labor camps
- Murder of parents and only sibling
- Henry's transport to Skarzysko-Kamienna labor camp
- Brutality at Skarzysko-Kamienna
- Manufacturing artillery shells
- Sadism of guards and officials
- Cruel boss murdered by underground
- Henry hospitalized with typhoid
- Hiding among corpses to escape being shot
- Transfer to Czestochowa, Poland, and Buchenwald, 1943
- Conditions at Buchenwald
- Camp life at Buchenwald and Colditz
- Death march to Theresienstadt, April 1945
- Imprisonment in dungeon
- Rescue by the Russian army
- Fate of his family
- Transport to England, June 1945
- Life in Windermere and London
- Becomes a tailor
- First marriage
- Immigration to the U.S., fall 1952
- Moving around the U.S., 1952-1962
- Move to Milwaukee
- Business ventures in Wisconsin and around the U.S.
- Operating a tavern in Merrill, Wisconsin, 1972-1977
- Thoughts on anti-Semitism in the U.S.
- Second marriage and children
- Henry's children and family life
- Community work in northern Wisconsin
- Attitudes toward American culture and politics
- Lecturing about the Holocaust
- Attitudes toward religion and intermarriage
- A typical day in his life, 1980
- Thoughts on being a Jew in northern Wisconsin
- Anti-Semitism in the U.S.