About David Guttman
David and Dora Goodman, left Russia to escape the pogroms (attacks on people of Jewish heritage). They immigrated to America to find a better life. David Goodman had a career as a tailor in Russia but had to do hard labor in Chicago's stockyards and slaughterhouses. They were an extremely poor family with hardly enough money to afford rent.
Goodman's father, David, was a working-class immigrant about whom Benny said (interview, Downbeat, February 8, 1956); "...Pop worked in the stockyards, shoveling lard in its unrefined state. He had those boots, and he'd come home at the end of the day exhausted, stinking to high heaven, and when he walked in it made me sick. I couldn't stand it. I couldn't stand the idea of Pop every day standing in that stuff, shoveling it around".
On December 9, 1929, David Goodman was killed in a traffic accident. Benny had recently joined the Pollack band and was urging his father to retire, since he and his brother (Harry) were now doing well as professional musicians. According to James Lincoln Collier, "Pop looked Benny in the eye and said, 'Benny, you take care of yourself, I'll take care of myself.'" Collier continues: "It was an unhappy choice. Not long afterwards, as he was stepping down from a streetcar – according to one story – he was struck by a car. He never regained consciousness and died in the hospital the next day. It was a bitter blow to the family, and it haunted Benny to the end that his father had not lived to see the success he, and some of the others, made of themselves." "Benny described his father's death as 'the saddest thing that ever happened in our family.'"