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Mac Goldsmith

John D. Goldsmith

<plain_text><page sequence="1">Jewish Historical Studies, volume 41, 2007 Mac Goldsmith* JOHN D. GOLDSMITH This paper outlines a little-known aspect of Jewish immigration from Central Europe to Britain after 1933 and prior to the outbreak of war: the arrival of refugees, mainly from Germany, who worked in the field of engi? neering. My father's case, an example of this phenomenon, is unusually well documented and bears features which characterize this field, so will be traced in detail. Recent years have witnessed a renaissance in the study of Jewish immi? gration to this country, particularly from Nazi Germany, including exhibi? tions as well as the appearance of books and papers on the fields of scientific research, literature, the arts and publishing. No one has yet addressed the area of industry and more specifically of engineering, however, with the notable exception of Wolfgang Mock in 1986,1 whose study still provides the best history of the 'engineering immigrants'. The present article will therefore cite Mock's findings concerning a number of issues. In 1933 there were about 525,000 Jews in Germany, compared with 300,000 in Britain. By 1939 225,000 remained in Germany, most of whom later perished. The 1933 figures represented roughly 1 per cent of the total German population, whereas in Britain they constituted about 0.7 per cent of the overall figure. There were approximately 1500 Jewish engineers, or 0.7 per cent of their professional group, which, although a significant number, was a much lower percentage than for more traditional Jewish professions in Germany such as medicine and law, in which Jews were considerably overrepresented. Particularly revealing is the disparity between the number of engineer? ing institutes of higher learning in prewar Britain and in Germany, at a time at which their populations were about forty million and sixty million ? This paper, presented to the Society on 16 February 2006, emerged from a meeting in 1998 with Professor E. Timms, then head of the Centre for German Jewish Studies at the University of Sussex, where the Goldsmith archives are deposited. Gerhard Wolf, whose MA was spon? sored by my family, produced a case study in technology transfer from prewar Nazi Germany to the UK as illustrated by my father's story. He is now a PhD student at the Free University of Berlin. I would also like to thank my sister for help in gaining access to original documents at the Home Office. 1 W. Mock, Technische Intelligenz im Exil (D?sseldorf 1986). 257</page><page sequence="2">John Goldsmith respectively. In the UK there were only three institutes of higher technical learning with about 4000 students: Imperial College London, Manchester College of Technology and Glasgow Royal Technical College. This compares with fifteen equivalent institutes totalling about 33,000 students in Germany. The disparity in the number of qualified engineers between the two countries at this time, notwithstanding the difference in popula? tion, is staggering: 250,000 in Germany and only 51,000 in the UK. It is generally accepted that by the end of the First World War, Great Britain was no longer the world's leading industrial power, as it had been since the Industrial Revolution. Besides other reasons for this, the ethos of the talented amateur - apprenticeship on the factory floor and workshop - as opposed to systematic scientific education at university, was taking its toll and generally resulted in poor levels of cooperation between industry and academia. This in turn had a serious effect on the attitude of British industry to academically highly qualified German-refugee engineers. The persecution of Jews in Germany after the Nazi rise to power did not follow identical routes in all areas of economic activity, but the pressure was unrelenting and ultimately the result was the same: organized robbery on a massive scale. For engineers, loss of employment usually came first to state and public-employees, followed by those in industry and lastly the self employed, as in my father's case, the aryanization of whose business was designed to yield maximum benefit to the Nazi economy, before my father's services were entirely 'dispensed with'. Between April 1933 and September 1939 Mock identified two main waves of dismissals, the first immediately after April 1933 and the second following September 1935. On the whole, engineers who emigrated after April 1933 were younger than those in the second phase and had significantly fewer contacts overseas. Their choice of Britain as a destination was often due more to chance than to conscious choice. The engineers of the second wave tended to be older and to have more contacts with British companies, with overseas branches of their own firms or with British colleagues, whether private or professional. More of those in the second group made a deliberate choice to settle in Britain, often in the belief that technical developments, for instance in the motor industry, were not as advanced as in Germany or Austria and that their specialist skills gave them a better chance of finding work. This was true in my father's case. Mock found a number of criteria for transfer to this country: the possi? bility of offering new products in Britain, or new technology or technology not previously used in the UK, an awareness of the value of their own publications or translation of German technical papers, and the existence of patents either already in use in Germany or based on German know-how but filed in the UK. The latter could be sold to British companies or exploited jointly with them. Patents were relevant in my father's case. 258</page><page sequence="3">Mac Goldsmith What awaited these dispossessed and in many cases practically destitute engineers with so much to offer when they arrived in 1930s Britain, a coun? try in economic depression with high unemployment, and with an extremely conservative engineering industry inherently opposed to change, particularly when influence to do so came from abroad? Furthermore, there was strong resentment to Germans dating from the First World War which, until 1938, did not differentiate between the plight of persecuted refugees and alien immigrants. Last but by no means least, anti-Semitism lurked below the surface, especially in certain government circles. Once in Britain, there was little job security and the ever-present danger that temporary residence permits would not be renewed. On the outbreak of war there was the additional problem of internment, with serious repercussions for the employment of many refugee engineers. The first hurdle was to gain entry to this country. Immigration was defined by the Aliens Act of 1920 (it was only in 1938 that a visa was required for entry), which was far from as liberal as appeared at first sight, in part since a high degree of discretionary power was invested with immi? gration authorities at each port of entry. Inability to show sufficient means for self-support was sufficient reason to be refused entry. The government attitude is illustrated by the following Cabinet minute from April 1933: 'to try and secure for this country prominent Jews who were expelled from Germany and who had achieved distinction whether in pure sciences, applied sciences, such as medicine or technical industry, music or art. This would not only obtain for this country the advantage of their knowledge and experience but would also create a very favourable impression in the world, particularly if our hospitality were offered with some warmth.'2 Refugee engineers were not automatically considered 'desirable' refugees. The best-placed were those who had been able to arrange specific job situations from Germany. Otherwise, in order to obtain a work permit it had to be clearly demonstrated that no equivalent British employee could be found. It was thanks to intervention by relief organizations of the Anglo Jewish community, who guaranteed to cover the costs of refugees admitted to the UK, that the situation did not deteriorate. Mock estimated that about 80 per cent of refugee engineers who gained entry were able to find employ? ment within six weeks, relatively few therefore risking self-employment. Many of the latter pursued this course on the strength of their own work for which patents were already pending in the UK. Such people had not only to have some capital, which very few refugees possessed, but also an English partner, who would officially be joint owner of the new business. 2 A. J. Sherman, Island Refugees. Britain and the Refugees from the Third Reich 1933-39 (London 1973)32. 259</page><page sequence="4">John Goldsmith By the time war broke out in September 1939 Britain had admitted about 65,000 refugees, most of them from Germany, including 10,000 via the Kindertransport. Many engineers were among those 'Enemy Aliens' subse? quently interned, but it appears that their 'technical intelligence' was swiftly recognized and that most were released in a relatively short time, as was my father. My father, who was originally called Max Goldschmidt, but in Britain changed his name to Mac Goldsmith, was the oldest of seven children. He was born in 1902 into an orthodox Jewish family in the small town of Schl?chtern, thirty miles northeast of Frankfurt, where Jews had lived peacefully with their non-Jewish neighbours for generations. The town's roughly 700 Jews formed about 15 per cent of the total - one of the highest proportions in Germany. There were so many Goldschmidts in town (not all of whom were related) that my grandfather, whose business sold and repaired agricultural machinery - somewhat unusually for Jews in rural Germany - was known as Maschinen Goldschmidt ('engineer Goldschmidt'). This was indicative of an increased Jewish involvement in industry in a Germany that had begun to flex its industrial muscle before the First World War. Jews were already present in the motor industry, Dr Moritz Strauss serving as chairman and being main shareholder of Horchwerke in Zwickau, which later became Auto Union, one of Mercedes' main competi? tors, and the Simson family making cars as well as light weapons in Suhl. Max seems to have been a precocious youngster, fascinated by cars and anything mechanical, his school career having been marked by various misdemeanours relating to cars and motorbikes. He went to technical high school in Mannheim, but left before graduation because, he claimed, of the need to give up places to soldiers returning from the First World War. It is more likely that he was simply bored. Goldschmidt's first job at the age of eighteen was with W. Millner, a company in Frankfurt, where he started work on 3 January 1921 in their scrap-metal department. The family still has the original letter of employ? ment, which shows him to have been exempt from work on the Sabbath and all Jewish holidays, and he never mentioned any experience of anti Semitism until the rise of the Nazis. After one further job he started his own company in Frankfurt in 1925 at the age of twenty-three. Frankfurt remained his home, and that of my mother, who had been born there, until their forced emigration in 1936. My father's first company, called Mecano, specialized in obtaining manufacturing rights to innovative automotive components from outside Germany. These were then developed, improved and the production outsourced to third parties. The first major success was a thermostat for car engines, based on an American design which subsequently became standard 260</page><page sequence="5">Mac Goldsmith equipment in makes such as Adler, BMW, Horch, Daimler-Benz and Maibach in Germany, as well as Skoda and Tatra in Czechoslovakia. The final years of the Weimar Republic in 1929-32 saw the development of two further successful products. Most German motorcar manufacturers produced their own components such as clutches and gearboxes, in contrast to American manufacturers and current practice virtually worldwide in which standard components are purchased from third-party specialized producers. German practice offered my father the opportunity to develop a single-disc clutch, of a kind he had seen at the Paris motor show in 1927. After development and improvement this proved vastly superior to the multi-plate clutches that individual German car manufacturers had been producing. In 1929 he reached an agreement with a German company, Fichtel &amp; Sachs, to manufacture these clutches under licence. The venture became a major success, as is attested by correspondence in the archives with companies such as Mercedes and Hanomag. Soon the clutches, which are substantially unchanged today, became standard equipment on practi? cally all German cars. Ironically, Hitler's iconically aryan 'People's Car', the Volkswagen Beetle, and virtually all German tanks in production by the time war broke out, incorporated a 'Jewish clutch'. With the rise of the Nazi party in early 1933 a start was made on prepar? ing the country for war. Massive spending began on key industries such as the motor industry in order to mechanize and modernize the German armed forces. Car production doubled from 1932 to 1933 and again to 1934, and employment figures tripled from 1932 to 1935. The Nazis also secured my father's exclusion from German industry and made necessary his escape to Britain. Paradoxically, however, the three years from 1933 to 1936, when he left, were his most successful. In retro? spect his decision to start a new business in 1934, with the Nazis in power for eighteen months and serious trouble brewing with Fichtel &amp; Sachs, seems daring. But at that point my father was probably not alone in think? ing that public anti-Semitism appeared to be declining somewhat and that Hitler's government was finally coming to it senses. My father's second innovation, the so-called 'Floating Power', had been discovered by Chrysler, and came to his notice during one of his frequent trips to the USA and particularly to Detroit in the mid-1920s. The new technology involved bonding rubber to metal through a unique process that effectively 'stuck' soft rubber to metal under high pressure and tempera? ture. The resulting component could be used in tension and shear without the rubber breaking, as opposed to compression only in conventional non bonded components. This opened an immense field of new possibilities in noise and vibration reduction. In 1934 Goldschmidt signed a contract to exploit the Chrysler technology with a large German rubber company called 261</page><page sequence="6">John Goldsmith Ferroflex and later Metallgummi, a joint company structure being chosen to try to avoid the type of legal problems which had arisen with Fichtel &amp; Sachs. Although my father was not aware of this at the time, Floating Power was one of the most important factors in his being able to start up his busi? ness in England, where he eventually established Metalastik, which still exists in Leicester today, and is now located in a new custom-built plant. Following a number of changes in ownership it is currently held by the Swedish Trelleborg Group, who retained the Metalastik trade mark because of its industry-wide international acceptance. Nazi expropriation and confiscation of Jewish businesses and property grew in a slow and insidious fashion, eating into the fabric of Jewish life in Germany. Some areas were immediately affected, but others, such as private businesses like my father's, were left relatively untouched as long as they served the Nazis' economic and, most importantly, technological and war aims. The situation with Fichtel &amp; Sachs must be seen against this background, but was accelerated by the death of the company's co-founder Ernest Sachs on 2 July 1932. My father was quoted much later in life as saying, after Guest Keen and Nettlefold's unsuccessful takeover-bid for Fichtel &amp; Sachs: 'But if old Sachs was a marvellous man the same cannot be said for son Willy. He was a lecher, an ardent Nazi and an intimate of Goering and his cronies.'4 Following his father's death, Willy Sachs, father of the well-known play? boy Gunther Sachs (one-time husband of Brigitte Bardot), used every means at his disposal to renege on the contractual agreements with my father. A recent biography of the Sachs family by Wilfried Rott deals in considerable detail with the events just described, as well as my father's postwar efforts to gain compensation.5 It is noteworthy that until 1938 German jurisdiction regarding economic lawsuits did not consider the mere fact of being Jewish sufficient reason for losing a case, and fortuitously the legal dispute between Fichtel &amp; Sachs and my father came before one of the few remaining non-Nazi judges in 1934, who warned the company that he would decide in my father's favour. But Willy Sachs's Nazi-party affiliation was notorious, and my father was advised to seek an out-of-court settlement. Fichtel &amp; Sachs's attempts to sever their agreements continued until 1937, by which time my father was already in England. He was forced to accept an absurdly low offer for his clutch business. After the war the Americans imprisoned Willy Sachs but, following a series of denazification trials which were nothing more than a charade, he was granted a so-called Persil Schein which enabled him to 4 Sunday Times 5 March 1978. 5 W. Rott, Sachs, Unternehmer, Playboys, Million?re: eine Geschichte von V?ter und S?hnen (Munich 2005). 2?2</page><page sequence="7">Mac Goldsmith regain control of his businesses. He shot himself in 1957. The steps to aryanize my father's other business with the rubber company Phoenix also took a slightly more subtle course and by the end of 1936 measures were in place to remove it entirely from my father's control. My father met my mother shortly before he planned to leave Germany, and they married in May 1936 in the Unter Lindau synagogue in Frankfurt, with Rabbi Jacob Horovitz officiating. A kosher caterer could still be found. The wedding went off without incident, and for their honeymoon they went touring in Italy and returned to Germany unmolested. My father's choice of England rather than America seems at first sight somewhat unusual, bearing in mind his significant business contacts in the USA. The most obvious explanation, apart from his declared preference for 'the English way of life', was that he had more to contribute to engineering development in the UK than in America, since he must have been aware of the weak state of British engineering. Furthermore, at the 1936 Motor Show at Olympia in London he had made contact with A. G. Barrett, direc? tor of the John Bull Rubber Company in Leicester, with whom he was able to make an agreement that led to his anti-vibration business being regis? tered as a limited company on 1 May 1937, with paid-up share capital of ?18,000. He was able to make plans for leaving Germany with the help of two extraordinary British officials, R. T. Smallbones and Frank E. Foley. Smallbones was the British Consul General in Frankfurt and a personal friend of my parents, my mother later recalling that Smallbones and his colleague Dowden were present at one of the first dinner parties she gave after their marriage. My parents' dog, clearly not considered an 'ideal refugee', was given to Dowden before their departure, rapidly adapted to his new non-Jewish diplomatic environment and lived happily ever after. Foley was passport control officer in Berlin, a cover for his other occupation as head of the Berlin MI6 section of the British Foreign Office, but my parents only ever mentioned the name Smallbones and clearly had no idea that Foley and MI6 were involved. Foley's activities, documented in a book published in 19996 led to Foley being posthumously awarded the title of 'Righteous among the Nations' by Yad Vashem in Jerusalem. The Home Office files relating to my father contain correspondence from Smallbones to Foley stating the intention to obtain an invitation from the British Government for my parents to come to Britain. The first letter to Foley, dated 6 November 1936, says 'I venture to think that this applica? tion can be very strongly recommended for favourable consideration', since from the British point of view Goldschmidt could be considered 'the ideal 6 M. Smith, Foley - The Spy who Saved 10,000 Jews (London 1999). 263</page><page sequence="8">John Goldsmith refugee'. Three days later, on 9 November, Foley sent a covering letter to the Director of Passport Control, London, in which he states: 'it seems to be a good case and I venture to recommend it'. Following consultations with the Board of Trade, the Aliens Department appears to have grasped the potential importance of my father's work and gave its approval, commenting that 'The alien's inventions relate to fields in which we always welcome development'. On 1 December 1936 it was even? tually decided to invite my parents to Britain and to 'formulat[e] definite proposals and [consult] the Govt Depts concerned. If we are informed of his arrival, the appropriate PO will be made aware of the case.' These original documents show clearly how the entry procedure functioned in practice. My father left for Paris in mid-December 1936 on a business trip, as he explained at the German border. My mother followed a week later, leaving for Switzerland, which she entered without difficulty, as was still possible in late 1936. From October 1938 German Jews were identified by a red 'J' in their passport - thanks to a Swiss suggestion - which meant that there was every chance that they would be turned back at the border. After spending some time in Arosa they headed back to Basle where they picked up a Mercedes, specially ordered with right-hand drive, drove west and disembarked at Harwich on 19 February 1937. Ten days later the Gestapo arrived at my parents' home in Frankfurt, to be greeted only by their loyal non-Jewish German housekeeper of many years. New start My parents were awaited in Harwich and all the formalities were completed without problem. Smallbones had even sent his son to meet them and assist. But although they had arrived in England under conditions that were more favourable than many, they had no guarantee that they would be allowed to remain permanently. Entry permits were granted for a limited period only and my father's passport shows a period of two months. A month after their arrival the Aliens Department's minutes of 22 March 1937 noted: 'it will be open to Mr Goldschmidt to make further applica? tions towards the end of the above mentioned period, when documentary evidence of the progress of the 2 businesses, preferably in the form of audited and certified accounts, should be submitted.' Thus the success of my father's business was vital. Indeed, the problem of residence permits later returned in a life-threatening manner, which my parents in their worst dreams could not have imagined. Financial problems faced newly arrived refugees who, even if they managed to recover funds from the forced sale of their goods, property or 264</page><page sequence="9">Mac Goldsmith businesses, were not allowed to take significant sums of convertible currency out of Germany. One means of robbing Jews was to force them to buy hard currencies at unattractive rates. Remaining possessions such as furniture and household goods could be taken out only if the so-called Reichsfluchtsteuer ('flight-4 or 'absconding-tax') was paid in advance. A major concern was to enable family and close friends to leave, and older people were often reluctant to do so. Several of my father's family emigrated to the USA on the basis of affidavits generously provided by business friends in Detroit. The roughly 225,000 Jews, some 40 per cent of the 1933 figure, stuck in Germany at the outbreak of war, could therefore leave, but were unable to do so because other countries would not open their gates. By mid-1937 all my father's German businesses were fully in aryan hands and my parents' denaturalization was officially announced in the Reichsanzeiger on 23 November 1940. They thereby became stateless until 1946 when they were able to take British nationality. Only in exceptional cases did the British government naturalize aliens during the war years. Negotiations with the John Bull Rubber Company in Leicester were virtually complete by the time my parents arrived in the UK in February 1937. Metalastik products were covered by a total of eighteen patents for which my father had exclusive rights outside Germany. But the company's start was slow, partly due to the inherent conservatism of the British motor industry and to the fact that Britain was hit by a sharp recession in 1937-8. Moreover, in the summer of 1938 my parents had their appeal for an exten? sion to their twelve-month permit turned down. A letter to my parents' solicitors dated 11 August 1938 declared that 'The secretary of state is not prepared to authorise any further variation and they should, therefore, arrange to leave the country by the 20th instant'. This gave them nine days to leave. It was only twenty days after my birth. The background for this decision - which, had it been enforced, would have meant almost certain death for my parents - is at first sight puzzling. From the files at the Home Office archives the following story can be reconstructed. During an earlier visit my father had paid to an experimental laboratory of a firm engaged in secret work, and a manager found his questions suffi? ciently suspicious to report him to MI5. An MI5 file entry of 5 March 1938 refers to my father's 'very reticent' disposition in talking about his earlier work for the German Navy, which it seems were sufficient grounds to demand his deportation. But the Home Office files tell only part of the story, since it later emerged that the person who denounced my father was motivated less by a laudable determination to protect the security of this country, than by private business interests. Fearing Goldschmidt as a potential competitor, he attacked him as a foreigner. Numerous British 265</page><page sequence="10">John Goldsmith friends and business associates supported my father, however, and it was probably due to the intervention of Otto M. Schiff, founder of the German Jewish Aid Committee, and A. M. Lyon, an MP for Leicester, who pointed out that I, their first child, had just been born and that my mother was rather ill, that the deportation order was withdrawn and my parents' permit renewed initially for three months. One of the entries in the Aliens Department file, dated 23 September 1938, states: 'I doubt if in times like this we would be justified in acting on mere suspicion', and there then appears to have been a request by the Home Office to MI5 to substantiate their claims. Revealingly, an entry in the Home Office file dated 20 October 1938, two months after the original deadline, remarks: 'It seems to me that the chief fact in this case is the man's Jewish race, and on present policy we should not be justified in deporting a Jew to Germany without proof that he is engaged in subversive or espionage activity'. Thus the Home Office prevailed and my parents' residence permit was renewed for another year, but this was unfortunately not their last brush with MI5. By the outbreak of war, on Sunday 3 September 1939, my parents had moved out of London in anticipation of the Blitz and rented a cottage in the Oxfordshire countryside. But because of the restriction of movement imposed on 'enemy aliens', my father could not leave for Metalastik in Leicester, as he normally did on a Monday morning. In the course of that morning the local constable came to arrest my father, since he was consid? ered to be in the highest risk category, 'A', which came as a considerable blow after the threat of deportation barely twelve months earlier. Thus began an odyssey that lasted almost ten weeks and took him to five intern? ment camps: Oxford Prison, Olympia (which he knew well from Motor Shows), Internment Camp 4 (a former Butlins holiday camp at Clacton), Seaton in Devon and finally the Oratory School in South Kensington, London, each of them discussed in Miriam Kochan's book .7 Twenty years after his arrest, almost to the day, I went up to Worcester College, Oxford, and we both gazed at the mound of the prison from the windows of my room. Finally, following ten weeks of hectic activity behind the scenes, he was moved on 20 November 1939 to the Oratory School while waiting to appear before the 'Advisory Committee to consider appeals against orders of internment'. My parents met there again for the first time since his arrest. Among his fellow internees were Dr Gustav Lachmann, a brilliant aircraft designer who was interned even though he had left Germany in 1929 and had become chief designer at Handley Page. The private correspondence between my parents on the one hand and solicitors and officials on the other records the concerns that internment 7 Miriam Kochan, Britain's Internees in the Second World War (London 1983). 266</page><page sequence="11">Mac Goldsmith aroused. One letter from my father to my mother dated 29 October 1939 expresses how 'Sitting here for two months without being heard by the authorities, left without news from you, sometimes for several weeks, is more than a normal human being can stand for long'. A major problem for internees was job security, and for those in my father's position there was the question of the viability of their fledgling business ventures. Would English partners respect commitments which now had a highly uncertain future? The MI5 official who interviewed my father reported that 'although Goldschmidt was a Jew he was also a technician and engineer of consider? able ability', and on 22 November 1939 he came before the Advisory Committee, headed by Norman Birkett, later Lord Birkett, and attended by the Lord Lieutenant of Leicestershire, Sir Arthur Hazelrigg, among others. As my father later told Miriam Kochan in an interview, 'It was marvellous, that hearing, absolutely marvellous. It was a most friendly atmosphere. I could have cried. Where in the world would they treat an enemy alien like that?'8 My father was released the next day, 23 November 1939. The inter? view also reported how 'On [the following] Tuesday, I was in Leicester in my office. I was allowed to use my car, and I used to go to the aircraft facto? ries. I was given a pass to go to any establishment I wanted. I was left completely alone in May 1940.1 had stamped on my identity card "Not to be interned". I could travel anywhere. I was working with authorities all the time. I used to go to Rolls Royce regularly and one day I was going in with a colonel from a tank establishment; I showed my pass and walked straight in. They called the colonel in to show his credentials. I said this world is crazy. I should be the English colonel and you should be the German Jewish refugee!'9 As with many other new technologies and industries, it was the war which was the catalyst that Metalastik required in order to develop, as Gerhard Wolfs study has shown, even without the benefit of full archives.10 A Metalastik company brochure, issued in 1958 on the occasion of the company's twenty-first birthday, explains how 'Production for peaceful purposes came to a halt only two and a half years after the estab? lishment of the company, but in its place the need for anti-vibration and shock-absorbing devices for all branches of the services brought about an immediate increase in the demand for bonded-rubber components. Aircraft, tanks, armoured cars, military vehicles, submarines and warships all required vast quantities of units. Communications and radar played a vital part in the war and the Admiralty paid tribute to the work of Metalastik in supplying the majority of the mountings required by the 8 Ibid. 8. 9 Ibid. 9. 10 Seen. i. 267</page><page sequence="12">John Goldsmith British and Commonwealth Navies to safeguard signal and radar equip? ment. Rapid expansion was the keynote of the war years.' N. Shuttleworth, Director at the Navy Signal Establishment, remem? bered that Metalastik instrument mountings not only allowed a British destroyer to track down and shadow the Bismarck after it escaped an encounter with a British flotilla, but enabled a strong reinforcement to sink her two days later by a radar-guided bombardment during the night of 26 May 1941.11 Another contemporary recalls: 'My first memory of Metalastik in 1943 is of people running in all directions. Then there was the murder? ous looking machine for testing tank track pins which was mounted on bits of tyre and had a habit of walking until fitted with a safety switch. There was the MD [my father] riding to work on a bicycle fitted with rubber suspension' (now standard on cross-country bikes).12 Yet another reports 'putting vital submarine components on the Scottish express at midnight'. One photograph recalling this period illustrates the importance of Metalastik components; its original caption reads: 'The Spitfire and other planes of historic interest were powered by Rolls-Royce "Merlin" engines. The version illustrated was for the Lancaster bomber. We [Metalastik] supplied radiator, header tank and cowling mountings.' My father was so impressed with the Merlin engine - not always the case with what he saw of wartime British engineering practice - that to my mother's horror he wanted to name my sister after it. As a German refugee he probably did not realize that he had got the sex wrong. The postwar period was one of rapid expansion, with overseas agents and licensing arrangements being set up in many countries. In the 1960s the John Bull Group, of which Metalastik was the main company, employed about 2500 people. By 1967 Metalastik's acceptance in this country as the leading player in its field ? by that time it was a member of the Dunlop Group - was confirmed by a Queen's Award for Industry in the field of innovative railway engineering. The company's rubber suspension was used on trains of the Piccadilly, Central, Metropolitan and apparently the Jubilee lines of London Underground, and exports to railway authorities around the world followed. The University of Leicester, near my father's adopted home from 1940 until his death in 1983, recognized the contribu? tion he had made to the city by awarding him an honorary doctorate in 1971. A year later he was made a Freeman of the city. The assertion, though difficult to measure empirically, that refugee engi? neers made a substantial contribution to virtually every field of British industry, particularly during the war years, was confirmed by an article in 11 Correspondence with Marcus Horovitz, 26 March 1999. 12 John Bulletin, vol. 15, Leicester, May 1962. 268</page><page sequence="13">Mac Goldsmith the Manchester Guardian for 9 April 1946, which stated of the refugee engi? neers that 'cumulatively they kept the war machine going when to be beaten in detail on the technical front might [have jeopardized] a campaign'. One might ask whether the UK made full use of the abilities of this group. Industry's conservative policy in general and its suspicion of academics, with the possible exception of the electrical industry, led them to neglect opportunities. This led many to accept offers of employment in the USA, and others to be silenced by internment. Transportation to and internment in Canada for the duration of the war prevented the effective use of many outstanding engineers, among them, as noted before, the aircraft designer Lachmann. Wolfgang Mock notes that 'in comparison with other groups of immi? grants which have been studied one of the most remarkable features of the engineers is their anonymity, i.e. the almost complete absence of written accounts and source material'.13 Engineers were spread all over the country and had little presence in London or concentrations in other cities, in contrast to those involved in some more traditional spheres of Jewish busi? ness activity such as textiles and furs. They were involved in engineering activities so specialized, and in many cases during the war so secret, that unless one was conversant with the particular industry concerned there was no reason why one would hear of them. Their names have simply never come into the public domain. 13 W. Mock, 'Engineers from Germany in Britain, 1933-1945', in Werner Mosse et al. (eds) Second Chance (T?bingen 1992) 358. 269</page></plain_text>