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The Enigma of Family Secrets

By The Jerusalem Post

September 2, 2020

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April 8, 1944. Second night of Passover. A knock at the door. 72 Donnington Road, Willesden, Northern London, NW2.

Not Elijah, but there is an unnamed Elijah in the story.

Muriel Buchman, 19, opens the door. The visitor looks down at her because she comes up to his chin. He's Louis Goldman, a soldier stationed in London. American. By good fortune he's met her father while seeking the Heathfield Park Synagogue. The soldier has been walking for an hour because he's billeted on Harrow-on-the-Hill. Her father has kindly offered a bracing snack before services, and said his daughter would walk him to synagogue. Afterwards, he'll be staying for the Seder.

Louis is 32 and balding. Muriel thinks he'll be right for an older friend. When he asks her out, she assumes he was fulfilling a duty because her family was so hospitable.

Nine months later, Muriel Buchman and Louis Goldman are married at the Heathfield Park Synagogue. The vivacious bride wears a wartime gown made of parachute silk, designed by a John Lewis couturier.

In 53 years of marriage, Goldman never reveals being a member of Alan Turing and Gordon Welchsman's team that built and perfected the machine called the Bombe that cracked the Nazi Enigma Code.


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