DR BRONIA HATFIELD, (Bronislawa) neé Goldstein, M.D, M.B., B.S, D.P.M
Member of the Royal College of Psychiatry, London, Fellow Royal Australia and
New Zealand College of Psychiatrist, is a Consultant Psychiatrist and a leader in
her field. Dr Hatfield has studied, worked and taught in many countries including
the U.S., U.K., U.S.S.R., Israel, France, Australia and Papua New Guinea.
Dr Hatfield is an eminent medical practitioner, a linguist (fluent in 11 languages)
and a transculturalist.
Born in Lublin, Poland, Dr Hatfield is the sole survivor of a large extended
family who, prior to World War II, numbered over 200 members. She was 13,
one of two sisters, when in 1939 Soviet troops marched into Lutsk, followed
by the Nazis in 1941. Prior to these invasions, her parents had planned for one
daughter to study in Paris, the other in Vienna. Dr Hatfi eld went on to receive
her medical degree in Vienna, following the emotional devastation of losing her
loved ones in the War.
Her account of the war years is harrowing. In August 1942 almost 27,500 Jews
of the ghetto in Lutsk, Ukraine, including her family, friends and acquaintances,
were killed. Two days before this action, following a request by Ukranians for
workers, Bronia’s father sent her to the fi elds to help with the harvests. Later, she
survived by being hidden in houses and barns by Ukrainian and Polish families,
While working briefly for a German woman as a housekeeper in Rovno, she overheard
across a neighbour’s wall those chilling words from a Gestapo man ‘She is
Jew. She must die.’
Bronia immediately escaped and ran for her life, clutching only her recently
acquired Polish identity card. Heading towards Kiev in the Soviet Union, she was
determined to join the Partisans. However when she reached them in the forest
in Baryshovka, between Kiev and Charkov, they did not accept her. Soon after,
she was liberated by the Red Army.
In the mid-1940s Bronia started her medical studies in Kiev. ‘I felt I had to
contribute, so I chose medicine. There must be a reason I had survived the war
when so many others were killed,’ she says. After graduating in Vienna, Dr
Hatfield emmigrated to Australia.
As a passionate political activist, Dr Hatfield was involved in Israel in the
1970s with the ‘Peace Now’ movement. Later Dr Hatfield was an active member
of the International Physicians for Prevention of Nuclear War (IPPNW).
Following the IPPNW Congress in Moscow in 1987, she initiated and organised
an international peace conference in Yalta in the Crimea, in the historic Livadia
Palace where, in the same room, in 1945 Winston Churchill, Josef Stalin and
Franklin D. Roosevelt established the United Nations. Soon after, the IPPNW
received the Nobel Peace Prize for 1987.
As stated above, Dr. HATFIELD, worked for many years, first in several Psychiatric hospitals in Sydney and later as a Senior Consultant Psychiatrist in private practice. She has retired from practicing Psychiatry and lives in Sydney, Australia.
In the 1980s Dr Hatfield established the Centre for Research in Spiritual
Development Inc in Sydney and she was the driving force in promoting peace
on an individual level through meditation. About that time she was a visiting
professor to the then Maharishi International University in the U.S. and
each year attended International and World Congresses in Psychiatry, teaching
psychiatrists the benefits of meditation.
From the mid-1990s, Dr Hatfield was part of an international initiative, The
State of the World Forum, organised by the Gorbachev Foundation. It brought
leaders including Prime Ministers and Nobel Prize-winners, to San Francisco
to strengthen and further develop principles and values to guide humanity as it
gives shape to the first global civilisation. The primary focus was the creation of
peace and harmony.
Dr Hatfield’s deepest passion since childhood, and as a citizen of the world,
has been world peace, goodwill amongst nations and reconciliation of major
religions. It is important, she believes, never to forget atrocities like the genocides
in Rwanda, Cambodia and the Holocaust.
For many years Dr Hatfield has been a major supporter to numerous Jewish
community organizations and for some time was on the Executive Council of the
Australian Foundation for Jewish Community Services.
Her ideas and philanthropy led to the creation of the Jewish Holocaust Survivors
Drop-In Centre in Sydney in 2001.
She commends the work of the Sydney Jewish Museum, to which she is a
major donor, as ‘close to my heart’. It is important, she believes, to bring together
in mutual understanding school children and Holocaust survivors. ‘Work
like the JCA’s and the Museum’s extends this aim further into the future,’
Dr Hatfield says.