We were the first transport to arrive at Hutchinson Camp. Hutchinson Square was a lovely green square with two rows of houses, so there’s actually three rows of houses, they just put barbed wire around, nothing had been prepared.
Kurt Schwitters, I remember mostly because he was a marvellous raconteur, he told marvellous stories. I remember sometimes we went for walks in Douglas and he was always picking up things to put in his collage, cigarette boxes or whatever he could find, anything. He was very happy there, I mean he was well fed; he didn’t have to worry about getting his next meal or anything. And he earned quite a bit of money doing sketches and portraits.
But the sketch he did of me, I remember, I was just walking along the street there and he said oh hello. And he had a sketchbook in his hand; he did this in about five minutes or something. He showed it to me and he asked me to sign it, so you see my signature on there, and I wasn’t Freddy Godshaw then, unfortunately I was named after my grandfather. What do you think would be the worst name to have as a Jewish boy in a Germany school under Hitler? Yes, Adolf. So I was Adolf, yes.
This is the very important one. Resha, that lady was a refugee from Germany, and she was our nanny, and she was the link between Kurt Schwitters and us, she introduced him to us because she knew him from Germany from before the war, and she introduced him to our parents and subsequently he painted portraits of us.
The reason there are two of me was because I was fidgety Phil, and couldn’t sit still! And I think my parents rejected the first one he did of me and asked him to do another. He didn’t think it looked like me and is turned out it looked like me as an older person and he wanted a true likeness of me. So Kurt Schwitters did another one which was the sweet little girl with a smock dress or whatever it was on. The artist saw me the other way and not wrongly. I vaguely have a recollection of not sitting still and always being told off because I didn’t sit still.
And my recollection is with my hand, to get it right every time he started again, and that was great performance. Oh, it’s an important momentum for me, it’s lovely looking at it, because I can see myself now. I mean I know my hairs changed and I’ve aged a lot.
Looking at the two pictures of me I can see that I was a mercurial type who wouldn’t look the same two days running. But looking back at photographs of us at that age we did look like that.