Cover of poesie book
Cover art of The Poesie Book of Eva Goldberg. Image courtesy of Hentrich & Hentrich.

Book launch: The Poesie Book of Eva Goldberg


The poesie book of Eva Goldberg traces the escape of the Goldberg family prior to the start of the Second World War. Their flight began in Görlitz and lead via the Netherlands and Great Britain to the USA.

Eva Goldberg grew up in Görlitz and had a very happy childhood.

She often traveled to Amsterdam with her family to visit relatives. Her aunt introduced her to fellow German girls, Anne Frank and Sanne Lederman, as she couldn’t speak Dutch. Otto Frank took the iconic image of the three girls in Merwedeplein, Amsterdam, in July 1936 which immortalized their friendship.

Eva’s father, Max Goldberg, was arrested on Kristallnacht, after which the family fled from Görlitz to Amsterdam. They remained there for a few months until they could make their way to the USA via the U.K. He gifted her the poesie book to cope with the fast-changing world around her. She recorded their flight from Germany and collected photos, poems, and inscriptions from friends and family. Anne Frank and Sanne Lederman are amongst the friends who wrote in Eva’s poesie book. These books were a very popular gift to children at the time. They have blank pages on which one would usually collect notes from friends and family, and paste photos.

poesie book
The iconic image of Eva, Anne Frank and Sanne Lederman, and Anne’s message to Eva. Image courtesy of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.

Bernard Judd, Eva Goldberg Judd’s husband, donated the poesie book to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in 2004.

Lauren Leiderman, an American author from Görlitz, rediscovered the book and prepared it for publication. It has been translated into English and Polish. Together with the Hillersche Villa in Zittau, DAI Sachsen (the German -American Institute Saxony) pushed for the book’s publication by Leipzig-based publicists, Hentrich & Hentrich Verlag. DAI Sachsen provided most of the funding for the book, while crowdfunding financed the rest.

The first Jewish Remembrance Week, Görlitz ran from November 4 to 7, 2021. It was arranged by Lauren Leiderman, who was inspired by her research into the book to organize the remembrance week.

Woman in graveyard
Author Lauren Leiderman in the Jewish cemetery of Görlitz. Image by Mario Heller.

Leiderman started searching for the families of people who had written notes to Eva in the book.

Along the way, she tracked down dozens of people around the world whose family histories reach back to Görlitz. This book reveals the Jewish stories in Görlitz and the surrounding area that were lost due to the Shoah. Furthermore, it also highlights the stories of transatlantic emigration that originated from Saxony. Many of the families emigrated to the USA and still live there today.

This gave rise to the idea for the first Jewish Memorial Week, Görlitz. More than 20 descendants of the expelled Jews from Görlitz were flown back for the occasion.

At the book launch at the Grassi Museum on 12 July, author Lauren Leidermann will talk with Léontine Meijer-van Mensch about the rediscovery of the poesie book and her research. She is the director of the State Ethnographic Collections of Saxony and deputy chair of the DAI Sachsen.

The event is a collaboration between the DAI Saxony, the GRASSI Museum, and Literaturhaus Leipzig.

Loudine Heunis came to Leipzig in 2018 to pursue the MSc Early Childhood Research degree at Uni Leipzig. She started writing for Leipglo as nightlife reporter towards the end of that year and became an editor in 2019. She is now Leipglo's Editor-at-Large and is currently back in her native South Africa.

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