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Friedmann, M. (1986). Alice Goldberger. Bul. Anna Freud Centre, 9(4):313-314.

(1986). Bulletin of the Anna Freud Centre, 9(4):313-314


Alice Goldberger

Manna Friedmann

Alice Goldberger died on 22 February 1986 in her eighty-ninth year. Her life was dedicated to children in need.

Born in Berlin and trained as a youth-work instructor, she became the head of the ‘Obdach’, a shelter for disadvantaged children and their families. This establishment was a state institution, and when Hitler came to power she had to give up her post. She emigrated to England in 1939, on the last boat.

War broke out, and Alice was interned on the Isle of Man as an ‘enemy alien’. With her never-failing optimism, humour and imagination she set about organizing a nursery school for the children of the internees, and involved the parents in making equipment and toys for it. The success of this venture was reported in the daily newspaper, and when Anna Freud read the account she decided that this was the person she needed for her residential wartime Nursery, which had been evacuated to the country. Through her intervention Alice was released and became the superintendent of the country-house Nursery. Later she joined the first Training Course of the Hampstead Child-Therapy Clinic.

Alice liked to recall her first meeting with Miss Freud. Asked what salary she expected, Alice replied that on the Isle of Man she was paid sixpence per week, to which Miss Freud replied: ‘I think we shall not pay you less.’

Anna Freud liked to recount an incident during one of her regular visits to the Nursery. A little boy asked his helper to carry him upstairs, to which the helper said encouragingly, ‘You are a big boy, you can walk up by yourself.’

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