Goldin, Steven

Goldin, Steven

Survivor, Partisan
Ludwipol (Poland)

Goldin, born in 1921,  was the oldest of three children and lived with his parents in Ludwipol, Poland, which is located about 62 kilometers north east of Rovno, now in the Ukraine. Photos of his parents, his sister and his brother are displayed during the interview. Ludwipol was completely destroyed during World War II, then rebuilt and is now known as Sosnovoye. His father was involved in the trading of animal hides used in the making of leather products.

Goldin attended public schools and subsequently Tarbut, a private school in Rovno, which was also teaching subjects on Judaism such as Hebrew language and writing. Although his hometown of about 8,000 inhabitants was split among Jews and Gentiles, he encountered considerable anti-Semitism, especially in public school.

Following the start of World War II, Ludwipol was occupied by the Soviet Union without any severe effects on Jewish everyday life. Anti-Semitism was reduced since it was legally banned under the Soviet system. However, when the German army attacked the Soviet Union in 1941 and occupied Goldin’s hometown, living conditions for Jews quickly deteriorated. A ghetto for Jews was established in the oldest part of town and Goldin’s family of 5 was forced to live in one room under very adverse conditions. He and his father were used as forced laborers.

Goldin and his sister were able to escape from the ghetto and went into hiding in the nearby forest. His parents and his younger brother stayed in the ghetto and were subsequently killed by the Germans. In the forest, Goldin and his sister lived on food they received from local farmers. Later, Goldin met up with Russian partisans and joined them in activities against the German army.

Goldin was liberated by the Russian army. When some of the surviving Jews wanted to return to their former homes, they were treated very badly by the Poles and Ukrainians and some were killed. Because Goldin had been a member of Betar (a militaristic Zionist activist group) before World War II, he became very active in getting Jews out of Poland and other parts of Europe in order to enable them to move to Palestine. Those actions were mostly illegal. Jews were taken through Czechoslovakia into Austria and further on into Italy. From Italy passage was arranged for their illegal entry into Palestine. During these activities Goldin made the acquaintance of Menachem Begin, the leader of Betar in Europe and subsequently Prime Minister of Israel. A photograph was displayed during the interview which shows the prime minister of Israel, Menachem Begin, Congressman Gerald Ford who later became President of the United States, and among others Goldin. This photograph was taken in 1963 during Mr. Begin’s visit to the United States.

Because of his activities Goldin became an undesirable person in some European countries and arrangements were made for his emigration to the United States in 1947. Goldin was awarded with the Golden Zabotinsky medal issued by Menachim Begin which was only given to 27 people world wide. In the United States, Goldin was married and had four children.

Interview Information:
Date: January 16, 2001
Length: 1 hour 28 minutes
Interviewer: Hans R. Weinmann
Format: Video recording