It was a truly moving moment as the two strangers tearfully embraced, united by an extraordinary bond. Because both women are war refugees who fled to Britain – from conflicts fought more than 80 years apart.
One is 90-year-old Renate Beigel, an Austrian Jew sent to the safety of England in May 1939, just months before the Second World War began. The other is Nataliia Nahornya, 45, who came here in May 2022 with her daughter Yevheniia, 15, as part of the Homes for Ukraine scheme – but without her her son Nazarii Nahornyi, 20, who had to stay behind.
The women’s emotional meeting took place near Renate’s Cotswolds home to mark the 85th anniversary of the Kindertransport – a rescue effort launched in 1938 that saved almost 10,000 children from Nazi tyranny by bringing them here. Renate told how hearing what the war in Ukraine had done to her new friend brought back memories of her own escape from hell alongside her sister Trudi.