- Renee Suzanne Goldschmied (1928- ) is the daughter of Albin Rudolph Goldschmied (1897-1990) and Louise (nee Ohs) Goldschmied (1902-1998). Albin was the son of Leopold Goldschmied (1863-1942) and Katerina (nee Pick) Goldschmied (1859-1938). Leopold was born in Nagy Abon, Hungary, where his family owned a vineyard, and Katerina was born in Rohozov, Bohemia. They met and married in Prague, where Albin and his older brother, Josef, were born. Louise was the daughter of Bernhard Ohs (1852-1934) and Rosa Kamilla (nee Lowenthal) Ohs (1863-1942). Bernhard was born in Pisek, Bohemia, and served as a diplomat and press chief at the German embassy. Rosa was born in Dessau, Prussia, and was a published poet. She became deaf at the age of 17 as a result of scarlet fever, but was able to read lips and maintain communication with her family. Like her mother Rosa, Louise was a poet, as well as an artist and a dancer. Albin held a PhD in philosophy and taught pedagogy at the German Music Conservatory. Albin and Louise met at the bank were they had both been employed, married, and had one daughter, Renee, who studied at a French elementary school.
After the Nazis occupied Prague, Albin lost his teaching position. Although he had been an active member of the Unitarian church, he was of Jewish heritage so he, Louise, and Renee were forced to leave their apartment and lost almost everything. Through the Unitarian church, they met Waitstill and Martha Sharp, who worked with the Unitarian Service Committee. The Sharps aided the Goldschmied family in securing non-quota visas and helped them escape via train to Utrecht, Netherlands, where they stayed briefly with the family of a clergyman. They then traveled from Rotterdam on board the S.S. Noordam, arriving in New York on November 15, 1939. Louise’s mother, Rosa, was unable to obtain a visa, and remained in Prague. She was deported to Theresienstadt on July 13, 1942, then to another camp where she was killed on October 15, 1942. Albin’s older brother, Josef, married a U.S. citizen, Evelyn Steiner. Josef, Evelyn, and their son Harry (1926-2011) were able to immigrate to the United States in 1942.
The Sharps arranged teaching positions for Albin and Louise at the Chapel Hill School at Waltham, Massachusetts. Albin later taught at Middlesex University (later to become Brandeis University) in Waltham, while Louise took a position as a reference librarian at their medical school. After becoming U.S. citizens in 1945, they changed their last name to Gilbert. For the next two-and-a-half years, Albin worked as Educational Advisor to the American forces in Bavaria, Germany, Louise and Renee joined him later, and Louise taught art while continuing her career as a painter. After their return to the U.S., Renee attended Wheaton College where Albin became a professor of psychology and Louise a librarian. After college Renee became a social worker. In 1954, Renee married Eitel Rizzoni (1925-2011), and they went on to have two children, Walter and Vanessa (now Vanessa Sheldon). The Goldschmied and Sharp families maintained a close relationship throughout their lifetimes.