When Lore Segal first started writing, she had a single purpose in mind. Soon after arriving in England in 1938 on the Kindertransport from Nazi-occupied Vienna, the 10-year-old girl launched a letter-writing campaign to get her parents out too. It worked: Within a year, they were reunited. Now 95, Segal has four novels and dozens of short stories to her name and is one of the oldest active American writers. Though her stories may be fictional, they’re often informed by her own life and infused with the urgency of that first, all-important project.
Her latest collection, Ladies’ Lunch and Other Stories, features a group of five erudite, sharp-witted nonagenarians, all longtime New Yorkers, who have maintained a regular — if chaotic — schedule of get-togethers for the past 40 years. “We are the people to whom we tell our stories,” one reminds the group, outlining a project that can only grow more pressing as memories fade and death — or worse, the nursing home — threatens.
Segal’s great themes are friendship, family, and growing old, but the memory of the Holocaust often looms over these seemingly domestic concerns. Sometimes clocking in at fewer than 1,000 words, her stories are minimalist in style but monumental in feeling, capturing the rich yet ephemeral texture of ordinary lives haunted by a catastrophic past. And as the title suggests, she also sets out to rescue the concept of “ladies who lunch” — not just from the Sondheim song that popularized the phrase, but from the derision with which many male writers and younger people have treated groups of old women.
A plaque has been unveiled in honour of a woman who helped save hundreds of children from the Holocaust.
Bertha Bracey aided relief operations in Germany and the Netherlands before and after World War Two.
A founder of the Kindertransport, she helped rescue thousands of Nazi victims and lone children between 1933-1948.
The plaque was unveiled by the Birmingham Civic Society and Bournville Village Trust at Bournville Quaker Meeting House.
Her great-nephew, Steve Bamford, said the plaque was a “great honour”.
“We knew that Aunty Bertha had an OBE, but we were never quite sure what it was for and she didn’t really talk about it,” he said. “She wasn’t one for blowing her own trumpet.
“It really wasn’t until after she died we realised quite how important her role was.”
The story of Winton and the Kindertransport will be the subject of the upcoming film “One Life,” coming out on January 1, 2024, in which Anthony Hopkins plays an older Nicholas Winton, and that iconic moment of TV gets reenacted by Jewish actress Samantha Spiro.
It looks like Hopkins, who most recently played a Jewish-Ukrainian grandfather in “Armageddon Times,” gives a moving performance as Winton, from what can be seen in the trailer of the movie which was released earlier this week.
“Do you ever think of the children and what happened to them?” he asks, adding that these people’s stories, their rescue, is “really not about me.”
Trailer here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6ethollg-PI&ab_channel=WarnerBros.UK%26Ireland
For the millions watching at home it was an unforgettable
In February 1988 on BBC’s That’s Life! a man called Nicholas Winton came face-to-face with some of the 669 Jewish children he had saved from the Nazis prior to World War Two.
A surprise reunion, it brought to light a remarkable story – one which has now been turned into a Hollywood film.
And it is set to star Port Talbot’s Sir Anthony Hopkins as the Holocaust hero dubbed the British Schindler.
Entitled One Life, the movie will tell of how Sir Nicholas, a London stockbroker who was knighted for his humanitarian accomplishments in 2003, helped get young Jewish refugees out of occupied Czechoslovakia in 1938.
The Kindertransport (Children’s Transport) was a rescue programme of children from Nazi-controlled territory.
Approximately 10,000 children, the majority of whom were Jewish, were sent to Great Britain between November 1938 and September 1939.
Inspired by real-life events, the joyful and poignant Kinder heads on tour this autumn. Telling the story of one small girl who embarks on a mighty adventure, the multiple award-winning Kinder tells the story of the Czech Kindertransport, which evacuated Czech-Jewish children to Britain at the outbreak of World War II.
Young heroine Babi crosses Europe on this epic journey; from bon bons in Germany to the sea in Margate, Babi discovers how even tiny acts of kindness can change the course of a person’s life. Babi tries to assemble the parts of her broken identity and find peace in her future, having escaped persecution just before the start of World War II, and been sent far from home. Kinder is inspired by the real events of the Czech Kindertransport, which saw young children evacuated to seaside towns across the UK, a remarkable evacuation effort pioneered by Brit Nicholas Winton, which saved 669 children.
Kinder, made in collaboration with Little Angel Theatre, aims to provide high-quality and inspiring theatre for teenagers, bringing them incredible real-life stories through a dynamic and immersive setting. From puppetry and visual theatre company Smoking Apples, the production invites the audience into an immersive set, allowing them to go on this incredible journey with Babi. Kinder features table-top puppetry and cinematic shadow play to tell Babi’s story. Smoking Apples has created a self-sufficient, self-contained set that can go into all settings, including non-theatre venues such as schools, to bring this tale to life on the road.
The KTA mourns the death of Carl Davis. A brilliant composer of music for films (including The French Lieutenant’s Woman, directed by Kind Karel Reisz), he wrote ‘Last Train to Tomorrow’ a Kindertransport piece for children’s chorus that the KTA, The New School & Mannes College of Music premiered in NYC in 2019 as part of our commemoration of the 80th year of the Kindertransports, at Alice Tully Hall at Lincoln Center as part of 3 days of events.
Nearly 85 years have passed since the first Kindertransport from Nazi-occupied Europe. Despite abundant documentation that England’s accepted approximately 10,000 Jewish children, the stories of refugees’ travails and how their lives evolved are not nearly as well known. Kindertransport children contributed greatly to their adopted homeland and to society at large, despite traumatic separation from their families, varied placements as fostered or adopted children, evacuation to the countryside during the “Blitz,” and subsequent challenges.
Considering the odds against them, the extent to which those children lived full, successful lives is staggering. Artists, industrialists, businessmen, jurists, statesmen and others have served the United Kingdom and world well. This is not to imply that all refugee children’s experiences were positive; certainly, some were mistreated and exploited. Nevertheless, that individuals and families in a country under siege absorbed significant numbers of displaced strangers, and did so, overall, with kindness, is remarkable.
Dame Esther Rantzen has said a new film about “British Schindler” Nicholas Winton moved her to tears.
The television presenter, who recently revealed that she had been diagnosed with stage four lung cancer, brought the Jewish stockbroker’s remarkable story to light in 1988.
Forty nine years earlier, Winton had abandoned a planned skiing holiday to travel to Prague and help evacuate refugees.
Aware that tragedy was looming as the Nazis began to occupy the country, he travelled back to Britain to lobby the government to accept more Jewish children.
After the war, Winton moved on with his life and his story was largely forgotten until Dame Esther invited him onto That’s Life!
As he sat in the front row, she asked the audience if anyone had been saved by him, and dozens of people stood up.
When Dame Esther asked if anyone was a child or grandchild of one of the children brought to England thanks to Winton, the entire audience rose.
The account of how Winton helped 669 Jewish children escape will now be dramatised in a new film starring Anthony Hopkins and Johnny Flynn.
“Of all the literally thousands of stories we told in the 21 years of That’s Life, the one that showed the very best and the very worst of humanity was the revelation that Nicky Winton had saved a generation of Czech Jewish children from the Holocaust,” she told The Telegraph.
“I was worried about a feature film’s treatment. My fears were unjustified.
“From the moment I saw Anthony Hopkins looking and sounding almost exactly like Sir Nicholas, I knew the story would be told sensitively and accurately.”
Between 1939 and 1941, more than 200 Kindertransport children escaped war-torn Europe to Gwrych Castle in north Wales. There, the people looking after the youngsters developed a successful hachshara — an agricultural training scheme — for them.
While Kindertransport has been well researched, the focus has been very much on individual experiences.
By contrast, training centres such as the one at Gwrych Castle — better known these days for its starring role in I’m a Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here during lockdown — have been somewhat neglected; as one historian commented, they were “transient phenomena” that “left few traces on the ground”. Now my new book, Escape to Gwrych Castle, a Jewish Refugee Story, attempts to redress the balance.
The moment Nicholas Winton comes face to face with just a few of the Jewish children he saved from the Nazis on That’s Life, in 1988, is one of the most iconic clips in British television history.
Now the first photographs from an eagerly awaited film about the story leading up to that moment have been released.
Starring Anthony Hopkins and Johnny Flynn as older and younger versions of Winton, the man who saved 669 Jewish children from the Nazis through the Kindertransport project, and Helena Bonham Carter as his mother Babi, One Life will cement the Jewish stockbroker’s reputation as one of the heroes of the war effort.
The image of three little girls playing with a doll has, for decades, stared out from behind museum cabinets, their identities unknown.
Now, the mystery of who the three people in the black-and-white photograph are has finally been solved after 84 years.
The image, known for years as “three little girls”, is of three young Jewish girls fleeing Nazi Germany. It was taken at London’s Liverpool Street station and became a representative image of the mass evacuation of Jewish children from Hitler’s Germany via the Kindertransport in 1939.
The photograph comprises two sisters and another little girl holding a doll, however, they were all too young to remember each other.
A Holocaust survivor turned Second World War British army stalwart has received medals for her wartime service to Britain to mark her 100th birthday.
Henny Franks was handed the Defence Medal and HM Armed Forces Veteran Badge on Wednesday at a party held for her 100th birthday at Jewish Care’s Holocaust Survivor Centre.
Henny escaped Nazi persecution as a teenager, leaving Cologne for Britain on the Kindertransport. A member of the women’s branch of the British Army, volunteering for the Auxiliary Territorial Service (ATS) for many years, she had no idea she was entitled to receive medals for her galant service to her adopted country.
The importance of learning about the Holocaust cannot be overestimated, especially for Jewish students. With this in mind, the middle school students at the JEC have spent the past few weeks learning about different aspects of the Holocaust, taking a unique approach to this important, yet often difficult topic.
Each grade in the middle school had its own focus. The sixth grade students focused on individual stories of survivors with whom they had a bond. They conducted interviews of survivors or, if the survivor was no longer able to tell his or her story, a family member of the survivor. They then researched the key points of the story using the internet. The students then used the AI technology available on MyHeritage.com to have the survivor’s story come to life.
Seventh graders learned about the Kindertransport. They then used their knowledge to create a fictitious story about a child who went on the Kindertransport. These poignant stories incorporated the facts the students learned about this difficult time with their own creativity. Each story moved the viewer/reader, helping to understand the Kindertransport experience.
Eighth graders focused on the Jewish communities that were decimated by the Holocaust. The presentations showed what life in these communities was like before the war, told what happened to those who lived in the communities, and finally, what life is like there today.
After Kindertransport refugee Ben Abeles arrived in the UK from Prague aged 14, his father wrote to him begging him to get a good education so he would “count for somebody”.
More letters followed but within a year and a half, they dried up: both his father and mother were murdered in a Nazi death camp in Poland.
But Abeles turned his father’s words into a remarkable reality. He went on to become a pioneering scientist whose research into alloys changed space exploration. Now, a trove of documents belonging to Abeles — including the missive containing that plea to study “until your precious head hurts” — has been donated by his widow, Helen, to the University of Southampton, home to one of the largest Jewish archives in western Europe.
The Kindertransport monument in the Polish city of Gdansk, which had been in storage since 2019, has been restored to its former position in front of the central station.
Its return was marked by a ceremony this week attended by the mayor, Aleksandra Dulkiewicz, and Israel’s ambassador to Poland, Jacov Livne.
The monument, first unveiled in 2009, had been removed to make way for station renovations. It depicts children of different ages — three girls and two boys — standing with their luggage waiting for their train’s departure.
It is one of five such monuments by Israeli sculptor Frank Meisler, who was himself saved by the Kindertransport. The others stand in or near railway stations in London (unveiled in 2006), Berlin (2008), Rotterdam (2011) and Hamburg (2015).
Arundel Players are offering Kindertransport by Diane Samuels, directed by Gill Lambourn.
Director Gill explains: “Although English, Diane Samuels is of Jewish descent and Kindertransport is her seminal play inspired by the British offer in 1938 to provide German Jewish children the opportunity of a safe life in Britain albeit without their parents. The difficult and emotional decision is taken by Helga and Werner Schlesinger to send their nine-year-old daughter Eva to England. When Eva, a bright, lively and intelligent child, arrives in London she is fostered by the kindly Lil. We follow her life, learning about and settling into a new world, making friends and establishing a happy childhood whilst doing her utmost to maintain her links with her family and her hopes and plans for them to be reunited. Alongside this story, in 1980 we meet Faith a young woman who is about to leave home to live her adult life and is busy sorting and clearing through old family possessions deciding what might be useful to take with her. Helping her with this are her mother Evelyn and her grandmother. What she discovers in her rummaging has enormous and unforeseen impact on the relationships of the women, as all of the turmoil, trauma, love and conflict that resulted from such well meaning beginnings come to light.
“Often appearing on the exam syllabus, Kindertransport offers a wealth of material about life for German Jews prior to and during WW2 and the emotional impact of childhood trauma on survivors in later life. It is a beautifully written and observed play that is an emotional, intriguing and enjoyable evening of entertainment and an important work resulting from Samuel’s many interviews with Kindertransport survivors. It remains totally relevant today when war continues to affect people in countries around the world faced with agonising decisions to keep their children safe and give them the future they deserve.”
The production is at The Priory Playhouse, London Road, Arundel, BN18 9FA from Monday to Saturday, June 19-24; box office 07523 417926 or www.ticketsource.co.uk/arundelplayers.
A SPECIAL refugee week event will take place in Harwich for the first time following the installation of the town’s Kindertransport memorial.
The Harwich Kindertransport Memorial and Learning Trust said it will be holding a Refugee Week event for the first time in memory of the thousands of Jewish children who arrived in Harwich alone in the months before the Second World War erupted.
The event will take place on Friday, June 23, from 3.30pm to 6.30pm, following an initial gathering around the Kindertransport Memorial statue – Safe Haven – on Harwich Quay.
In Harwich, which was the first and main point of entry for thousands of unaccompanied Jewish child refugees, there will be a series of creative activities focused on life stories, books and poems by, about, and for child refugees.
Plans to regenerate of one of the busiest train terminals in the UK will ensure a greater focus on its iconic Holocaust refugee memorial.
As part of a wider £1.5 billion regeneration project, £450 million of upgrades to Liverpool Street Station would focus on addressing accessibility, capacity and overcrowding issues to improve the experience of its estimated 135 million annual station users.
In artist renderings seen by Jewish News, included in those proposed upgrades, the Kindertransport – The Arrival statue (2006) that serves as a memorial to the thousands of unaccompanied European Jewish children who fled to London on the Kindertransport in the Second World War, would be given greater space and prominence in an improved Hope Square.
Kindertransport is a play written by Diane Samuels that tells the story of the evacuation of Jewish children from Germany to England during World War II. The play focuses on the experiences of Evelyn, a young Jewish girl who is sent to England by her parents to escape the Nazi regime. The play explores themes of identity, family, and the impact of war on children. It has been performed in theaters around the world and is considered a powerful and moving portrayal of the Kindertransport program.
Clackamas Community College has the honor of hosting Jayne Stevens’ adaptation of the matinee play with shows at noon and 2:30 p.m. every weekend from May 24 through June 4 at the Clackamas Repertory Theatre.