“During the Holocaust there was no school for Jewish children in Budapest. At one stage we had to move into yellow star houses and share apartments. In the same crowded building there was a girl my age. We were ten years old, bored, because other then getting library books out, we just sat on the stairs next to the lift and planned. One day we decided we would raise some money by making things. We did not tell our parents because we were not sure if they would approve.
There were two young women in the building who gave us material. We made lots of things out of them. One lady who had a little child painted our better efforts. A man in the basement made envelopes. We helped him and he gave us the ones that were not sellable. A non Jewish friend of my girlfriends parents brought us rejects of stationary. Finally we had enough goods. We made a big placard saying Bazzare Today. We planned on raising five Pengo’s. People flocked down from the four story cramped apartment building. We made two hundred Pengo’s and decided to halve the money. My friends half was to go to a Jewish orphanage and my half was to be sent to the squadron of my uncle Yonatan who was in forced labour. They were being starved as punishment. When my father got leave of absence from his squadron we went to the Jewish Communal Centre to send the money. There he met a friend. Later that man smuggled my sister and I out of the ghetto. Thus my life was saved”.
Dita has been involved with many charities and fundraising projects throughout her life. Here are just a few of those organisations and projects.
When I was sixteen a group of friends used to meet every weekend. I used to collect two shillings from everyone. That money was spent to purchase English books for Secondary Students in Israel.
After settling in suburbia with my three little children I joined the founding members of WIZO Dafna and then I became president of the group. None of us where financial yet we always oversubscribed our budget.
When the group became defunct I joined WIZO Nirim, and I am still involved today.
I have have many plaques on the walls of Ahuzat Yeladim in Haifa, our WIZO project for disadvantaged youth. The latest being a brick on The Path of Hope.
I considered UIA the number one priority for raising money for Israel. I rang people for donations and I was involved in all fundraising for the organisation for some decades.
While on a visit to to the Technion in Haifa I saw someone wearing a Lion of Judah broach. We were on our way from Israel to Canada and the Canadian with the broach told me to go to the UIA office in Toronto.
There I got all the information of how the Lion of Judah pin works in the USA and Canada. I was determined to bring it to Australia. The president of UIA Australi at the time was against it, after all, the pin symbolises a yearly commitment of minimum $5000, and until then the highest contribution from a woman was $1250. I went to the next committee meeting and showed the beautiful gold piece around the table. Everyone was enchanted. A discussion was had about having this item on the next months agenda. It was unanimously voted in and two orders were given immediately.
Lion of Judah
Dita Gould is a storyteller for Courage to Care and voluntarily gives her time to speak to school students and organisations about her Holocaust story.
By highlighting the importance of standing up to bullying and prejudice whenever it occurs, Courage to Care empowers and inspires participants to take positive action, to be Upstanders rather than bystanders to discrimination in all forms, from the school yard to the workplace. Courage to Care offers workshops for schools, community groups and workplaces.
Below are some notes from students who have attended a talk delivered by Dita for Courage to Care.
Women Caring for Women was a group of volunteers that raised funds for women and children survivors of family violence in Israel.
We met regularly through the Power of Ten model. Ten women would meet in one woman’s home and pay $10 each. Someone in the group would volunteer to teach the group a skill or host an event.
Women Caring for Women had tennis tournaments, guest speakers, gallery tours and even published a cookbook to raise funds for women in Israel.
The cookbook was called Lox, Stocks and Bagels. The publication of the book was a big event and for the cover an artist that Dita represented, Greg Irvine, donated two paintings to choose from for the front image. Later both paintings were auctioned for the charity.