Painter Hilda Goldwag was born into a Jewish family in Vienna, Austria on 28 April 1912. Her father, Moses, also an artist, died when she was nine. Goldwag attended Anna Schantruch’s Art Classes for gifted artistic children and, at the age of 14, helped paint murals for the new St Leitener Kindergarten. She graduated from the Graphiscme Staatslemtr und Versuchs Anmalt, Vienna with special commendation in 1938, but following the Anschluss (annexation of Austria) in March 1938, subsquently managed to secure a permit allowing her to travel to Scotland in March 1939. The remainder of her family, who stayed behind, perished in the Holocaust.

In Glasgow in 1940 Goldwag met fellow refugee and lifelong friend Cecile Schwarzchild, and both undertook war work as turners at McGlashlan's engineering works. Post-war Goldwag became head designer at Friedlanders in Hillington, designing scarves for Marks & Spencer (1945-55). She also worked as a freelance illustrator for Collins Publishers, and later, as a part-time occupational therapist at Forresthall Hospital (1962-75). She resumed painting and exhibiting in the 1950s, working principally with oils and a palette knife, mostly outdoors and in situ, carrying both paintings and materials with her on the local buses. Her subjects included the nearby Forth and Clyde Canal, the tenements and warehouses of Cowcaddens, and, from the 1980s, exuberant flower pieces, panoramic farm landscapes, waterscapes, and ‘imagined’ figure paintings. She exhibited in Gourock, Greenock and at the Lillie Art Gallery, and received awards from the Glasgow Society of Women Artists. She was also a professional and exhibiting member of the Scottish Society of Women Artists, the Paisley Art Club and the Milngavie Art Club. In 2005, an exhibition of her work was held at the Collins Gallery, Glasgow. She died in Glasgow, Scotland on 28 January 2008. Her works are in public collections including Strathclyde University and the Scottish Jewish Archives Centre.