Ester Goldstein was born in 1926 in Joachimstrasse, Berlin. Although her parents, Blima and David, had moved to Germany from Poland just two years before she was born, they spoke German with their children Ester, Margot and Heinz (Haim). Her father was a gardener at the Weissensee, the old Jewish cemetery in Berlin, and her mother was a housewife. The family was religiously observant with a modern outlook.
Ester studied German literature in primary school. She would give her younger sister Margot a schoolbook of classical German poetry, and recite Schiller and Goethe from memory while her sister checked her accuracy. In a video interview that Margot gave sixty years later, she still remembered some of the lines of poetry that her sister Ester had recited.
In 1938 the family began trying to leave Germany. David, the father, obtained a passport and even obtained an exit visa from Germany for Ester, but they were unable to leave in time. In June 1939 Margot was sent to Australia. At the end of 1939 David was deported to the Sachsenhausen concentration camp and then, a year later, to Dachau where he was murdered. Ester and her mother Blima were sent to forced labor in Berlin. In March 1943, Ester’s mother and her brother Heinz were deported to Auschwitz, where they were murdered.
David Werner, Ester’s cousin, was deported to Auschwitz but survived. After the war, he returned to the Goldstein family home in Berlin. A neighbor gave him a box of papers that she had been looking after throughout the years of the war. Among the papers was an album. David gave the album to Margot, and in 2006 Margot donated it to Yad Vashem.
The album contains dedications that were written by Ester’s friends, family and teachers together with photographs of the family. The writers were expansive in expressing their devotion to the family and their connection to Judaism. The first entry in the diary is from 1937, when Ester was eleven years old. The final entry is dated September 16th 1942, about a month before Ester was deported to Riga, where she was murdered.