This past month marked the 75th Anniversary of the Nuremberg Trials. While marking this occasion, the Library wishes to pay tribute to one of our former employees, Anne Goodwin, who contributed to the historic efforts made to bring the leading perpetrators of Nazi crimes to justice.
Anne was born in Berlin, Germany in 1923. She came to London with her family in 1938, fleeing after the terrible Kristallnacht attacks. After the war, Anne's German and English language skills were put to good use by the American Army at their base in the city of Offenbach where her duties included translating letters written by Nazi officials.
On her return to England, Anne married Gerald Goodwin and settled in London where she had a variety of jobs which she skilfully managed to fit in with bringing up two children. The experience she gained working for entertainment impresarios, doctors or small businesses stood her in good stead for her arrival at The Wiener Library in the 1970s. Appointed by Walter Laqueur, Anne became actively involved in the financial management of the organisation.
One of her former colleagues, Tony Wells, recalls that ‘without Anne Goodwin, the ambitious microfilming project I returned to the Library to look after in 1978 would hardly have been completed, and certainly not in time. She had to look after all the funds that came in from various sources – the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft, the Institut für Zeitgeschichte, and the National Endowment for the Humanities in the US – and account for every penny received and how it was spent.’
Many of Anne’s former colleagues at the Library recall her meticulous record-keeping, and her distinctive, neat handwriting. Tony remembers further: ‘with all her efficiency and conscientiousness, Anne was always a pleasure to work with, wryly humorous, self-deprecating, sceptical and completely reliable.’
At this time, the Library was recovering from dire financial difficulties that had almost seen the entire holdings move to Tel Aviv. Having Anne to act as a conscientious steward for the accounts was vital for the Library, but she also made other important contributions.
Former Director, Ben Barkow, recalls Anne relating to him (while he was researching his book on the Library's history) that, in the early 1980s, she spotted an advert in the local press. The notice was for a collection of books for sale from a private individual. Anne discovered that these included many titles matching those gathered in previous decades, a significant number of which had been lost to the Library as part of the transfer of holdings to Tel Aviv. These books, marked ‘Hamlyn/Marcus’ after the sponsors of the purchase, still form a core element of our book collections today.
Anne continued to work at the Library for several decades. She became close friends with many at the Library, at the Leo Baeck Institute and at the Journal of Contemporary History, which for a time shared the same building. Those who worked with Anne and remember her fondly include Ben Barkow, Howard Falksohn, Tony Wells, Aileen Kent, Anne Beale, Gerta Regensburger, and Christine Patel, who was Anne’s successor in the role of Finance Officer.
Anne died of cancer earlier this year aged 96. She will be missed by all who knew and loved her, including her children, Ruth and Stephen, and her wider family. The Library was delighted to receive a legacy of £5,000 from Anne’s estate. Next year, we will create a memorial plaque in Anne’s honour as a gesture of thanks for everything we owe to her and to celebrate and remember her remarkable life and achievements.