Samuel Goldman
Fictional Character
The War That Came Early
POD: July 20, 1936;
Relevant POD: September 29, 1938
Appearance(s): Hitler's War
Last Orders
Nationality: Germany
Date of Birth: 19th century
Religion: Judaism
Occupation: Author of Non-Fiction, Professor, day laborer,
Spouse: Hanna
Children: Saul, Sarah
Military Branch: Imperial German Army (World War I)

Samuel Goldman was a Jewish Ancient History professor that lived in Münster, Germany, with his wife Hannah and children Saul and Sarah when a second European war broke out in 1938.

The Goldmans were assimilated Jews who saw themselves as German first and Jewish second. Samuel himself had served in the Imperial German Army during the Great War, where he had been injured. As a result, he had a permanent limp and an Iron Cross Second Class that he liked to show whenever the Nazis wanted to discuss that he was a real German. Because of this, the Goldmans were slightly better off than other Jewish families in the city, albeit barely. Samuel and his son also tried to join the army again in 1938, only to be turned down because of their faith.

Because of his formation, Samuel was clear that the version of history propagated by the Nazis was pure junk, and could explain why with no effort. Nonetheless, his common sense kept him from discussing Nazi policies in public and in consequence he discouraged his family from doing so as well.

When the Nazis banned Jews from teaching, he made a living writing articles for an Aryan former alumnus of his, Professor Friedrich Lauterbach. Lauterbach then published the articles in Pauly-Wissowa under his own name. This situation lasted until Lauterbach was called up for military service.

In January 1939, Saul killed a man in a fight and became a fugitive. Samuel's former service spared the rest of the family from Nazi retribution, but it left the family with no source of income. In order to feed his remaining family, Samuel had to resort to physical labor - something he had avoided for his entire lifetime - and worked as a peon repairing the damage caused by Allied bombers.

As he ironically noted, it was the Nazis' constant harassment that made Samuel Goldman rediscover his religion and heritage. If the Nazis did not let him be a German, he would be a Jew. Not so much later he accepted his daughter's request to teach her Hebrew and Aramaic, something he had never considered.

Literary comment[]

In the audiobook version of West and East, the professor is consistently called Benjamin Goldman, but is Samuel Goldman in all other volumes. He is always Samuel in the print edition.