Leo Goldberger, ca 1944 in boyscout uniform. Courtesy Leo Goldberger
Leo Goldberger as a youth in his boy scout uniform
Eugene Goldberger and son Leo Goldberger
1935-1936 Copenhagen from left: Brother Milan, mother Helene, brother Gustav, Leo, father Eugene. Courtesy Leo Goldberger
Goldberger and sons
Leo Goldberger ca 1944
Eugene Goldberger ca 1943
Chief Rabbi Max Friediger (left) and Cantor Eugene Goldberger
Eugene Goldberger Concert photo
Copenhagen’s Jewish community had a vacancy for one of its 2 chief-cantorial positions for which he was among 120 applicants invited to make a week’s visit to Copenhagen, where my father cantor Eugene Goldberger was to perform the Sabbath service and be evaluated by the leadership and an outside musicologist, he fortunately won the day! All were impressed, not just by his voice and musicianship, but also by his personable and worldly demeanor—and the fact that he spoke German rather than the Yiddish. In short, we left Troppau with a warm send-off by the community despite their bewilderment at my father’s rash decision; they thought Hitler was simply a buffoon who would soon be ousted.
Copenhagen, Denmark: My parents felt warmly welcomed in Denmark and quickly integrated into the Jewish community, especially within the narrower circle of families that regularly attended Sabbath services, but they were also immersed in the active social life that was part and parcel of a cantor’s position. Eventually their radius of acquaintances became quite large, encompassing the varied strata of the Jewish community, with its not so subtle divide between the old landed gentry, the so-called Viking Jews the early Spanish-Portuguese Sephardimand the German Ashkenazi Jews reaching back some 400 years, on the one hand, and the Eastern European Jews on the other.
The latter group, comprising about half of the total Jewish population of some 6500, had come from the shtetls of Russia and Poland in waves of immigration starting in 1882. They were mostly poor tailors, craftsmen and workers who had brought with them their Yiddish language and cultural traditions, which often did not include much regard for religion, except perhaps for eating Kosher meals at home and High Holiday attendance in the Synagogue.
Please read Leo Goldberger's story here.
THE JOURNEY OF A JEWISH FAMILY
Cantor Eugene Goldberger - A Prayer (Yiddish) Museum of Jewish Montreal - Le musée du Montréal
Cantor Eugene Goldberger was born in former Czechoslovakia, the descendent of five generations of cantors. From 1946 to 1965, he was the cantor at the Adath Israel Congregation in Outremont, Quebec, during the height of the congregation's success.