University of Oxford
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Wartime Family Growth: Gordon Family's Compassionate Response

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posted on 2024-06-05, 18:17 authored by Their Finest Hour Project Team

My late father, Dr Mark Gordon, was one of six children born to a Jewish family in South Wales. His father died of a heart attack when Mark was a lad, leaving his mother, Edith Gordon, as head of the family. She accepted the call to take in a 12-year-old German Jewish girl, Inge Wertheimer, whose parents were subsequently murdered at Auschwitz and Treblinka. Inge's 'short stay' turned into an adoption by Edith. The account of Inge's arrival in London, en route to Wales, is recorded in the book 'I Came Alone' (1999).

Edith's eldest daughter, Winifred and her husband, Morris Foner, had no children and took in a young German boy, Heinrich Lichtwitz. For several months, Heinrich's father sent him regular postcards, changing from German to English as Heinrich started to forget his mother tongue. Henry Foner, as he now is, lives in Israel with his wife, Judy, and their family. The postcards were published as 'Postcards to a Little Boy' by Yad Vashem.

A third German youngster found refuge in my family - Hildegard, taken in by Edith's elder son, the late Dr Sam Gordon of Swansea and his wife, Ray. She emigrated to the USA after the war.

I am proud of my family who responded so positively to the crisis in Germany, at a time when not all refugees were welcomed with open arms.


Person the story/items relate to

Edith Gordon Dr Mark Gordon Dr Sam Gordon Winifred Foner, née Gordon Inge Hack, née Wertheimer Henry Foner, formerly Heinrich Lichtwitz Hildegard

Person who shared the story/items

Valerie Mellor

Relationship between the subject of the story and its contributor

Edith Gordon was my paternal grandmother. Inge Hack is my adopted aunt. Henry Foner was not formerly adopted, but took the Foner surname.

Type of submission

Shared online via the Their Finest Hour project website.

Record ID