Accession Number: NEKHC:2009.30

Object: Report

Category: Lingfield House; Zdenka Husserl; The Lingfield House Collection; Children in the Holocaust; Life after the Holocaust

Physical Description: Report for Lingfield House from 1950. Colour printed report with black and white interiors. In complete condition.

Information on Item: A report written in 1951 to summarise events happening at a hostel located first at Weir Courtney and then Isleworth, known as 'Lingfield House'. It forms part of the Museum's Lingfield House Collection.

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Further Information

This report is from 1951, and is one of a series of annual reports released by those involved in the running and financing of activities at Lingfield House. It documents activity undertaken as part of a Home Office scheme to care for some of the children who had been liberated from Nazi concentration camps.

The scheme was part of a wider allied effort to respond to the humanitarian emergency at the end of the Holocaust. With many thousands of people displaced and searching for surviving family members, there was a question of how to care for and assist the orphaned or unaccompanied children who had been found in Nazi concentration camps.

As part of a scheme hostels were established in Britain for the care of a selected number of the children including at Weir Courtney, and later Isleworth, known as ‘Lingfield House’. The home operated under the auspices of The West London Synagogue Association, and was run day-to-day by Alice Goldberger and a small team of staff who became much loved by the children they cared for. Zdenka Husserl was brought to Britain as part of this scheme after being liberated in Theresienstadt, she has donated this report along with several others, which are now held in the Museum’s collection.

The reports form an important record of events in Zdenka’s life, along with others who were involved in the programme. As well as financial information for donors and others, this report details the happenings of Lingfield House, particularly progress of its residents. The image used for the front cover of this report features Zdenka Husserl, holding a chicken. At the time Zdenka did not realise she was going to be on the cover, so seeing the report came as a nice surprise. Reflecting on the photograph in 2015, Zdenka remembers being very camera shy, the picture had been taken by a photographer called Erica who had waited until Zdenka was happily looking after her pet chickens. The children of Lingfield House were encouraged to keep pets and enjoyed looking after a wide variety of animals including dogs, rabbit, and Zdenka’s chickens.

The apron Zdenka is wearing in the picture was made for her by Sophie, one of the adults who ran the house. At the time of writing there were 18 children living in Lingfield House. Fifteen were from the original group who had come over to Britain in 1945 and 1946, three of the children had one surviving parent and were more recent arrivals. The report includes updates on the health of the children, with three cases of tonsils and adenoids needing operations, and another child needing an operation due to infantile paralysis. The health of the children is generally reported as excellent. The guardians of the children had hired a small school in Worthing for a holiday, and it is reported that the children had enjoyed parties and excursions thanks to the generosity of others. The home was also at that time receiving donations from the American Foster Parents Plan for War Children, and their celebration of their fifteenth anniversary is noted in the report; the organisation selected on child from France, Italy, and England to visit America and meet their subscribers. One of the girls who lived at Lingfield House was selected to go and represent England, she was warmly welcomed and it is reported that she returned with many presents for the others.

The report warns that funding continues to be a major problem for Lingfield House, and their main single source of income had been a Bazaar held to raise funds for the house which generated over £2,400. Many thanks are again paid to Alice Goldberger and her dedicated team of care givers. A committee for Lingfield House, comprised from the West London Synagogue, prepared and certified financial statements in the document. Zdenka’s family were murdered during the Holocaust, at the time she was a small child. Her time at Lingfield meant Alice became a mother figure for Zdenka, and she remembers fondly the staff and children who lived there.