Dream or nightmare?
Dave Gold’s survival, together with his family’s, might be attributed to his mother’s strange dream…or, perhaps, nightmare.
David was born in 1930 in Pinczów, Poland, to Leib and Hanna Gold, the first boy after two daughters, Shoshana and Esther. As a prominent member of Pinczów’s town council, Leib was very well known and respected. Hanna took care of the children while also running two stores.
When the Nazis stormed into Pinczów in October 1942, Leib enlisted his Polish friend and fellow town council member to hide his family for a night in his stable. Leib had promised Hanna that he would join them the next day, but Leib never returned. Only later did the family learn that Leib was rounded up with the other Jews of the town and sent to Treblinka where he was murdered.
Hanna and her three children walked to another town to live with Leib’s cousin. There, at the age of 12, David worked as part of a forced labour gang, breaking rocks and building roads.
One night, Hanna had a strange dream, in which a woman approached to tell her that she had come to rescue her. The next day, the Nazis entered the town, and, true to Hanna’s dream, a Jewish woman arrived at the house and told her that she would bring the family to safety. But the true motives of the woman were far from benevolent. The woman had been sent by a Polish farmer to search for wealthy Jews, promise them safety, and then lead them to the farmer, who would confiscate their wealth and then turn them in to the authorities or murder them.
Hanna and her three children followed the woman through the sewer system, until they arrived at the town’s outskirts, where the woman’s husband waited with a horse-drawn buggy. Whether the dream was a portent of good fortune or a sinister omen, it is interesting that during this time, the Nazis were rounding up the Jews in the town.
While travelling through the forest, Shoshana, the eldest daughter, began to feel uneasy. After a lengthy discussion between Shoshana and the woman, the nefarious plans were revealed. Shoshana convinced the woman to change her plans: rather than turn the family over to the Polish farmer, who might kill the couple instead of sharing the bounty, they could use the family’s money to pay off another farmer who would hide them all, ensuring all of their safety.
And that is what happened. The Gold family and the Jewish couple hid together for two years in a farmer’s barn, David’s place a tiny, cold crawl space that was devoid of sunlight.
In 1948, after several years in a DP camp, David, 18, disembarked in Halifax to start a new life in a strange land. Without his family, it was not an easy transition. David lived in Montreal and Winnipeg and, eventually, settled in Toronto.
In 1958, David married Esther Eisenstat, who has been his devoted wife for 57 years. David became a skilled cutter in the garment industry, which led him to start his own successful business, Golden Bay Sportswear, in 1973. He ran it for 40 years and employed over 20 people until he retired three years ago. David and Esther have two sons, Ari and Doron, and five grandchildren. Sadly, they lost their middle son, Jordan, to leukemia at the age of four.
David speaks about his experiences at schools and synagogues and, this fall, will be releasing his book, Hidden Gold, where the fascinating tale of his survival is recounted.