Archive: 2023

Holocaust survivor shares her story of courage, resilience

Posted on April 20, 2023

A 100-year-old Holocaust survivor and military nurse shared her story during a Holocaust Days of Remembrance observance at Brooke Army Medical Center, April 17, 2023.

Unable to attend in person, Hannah Deutch virtually spoke to a packed auditorium from her nursing home in New York.

Softly speaking in a German accent, Deutch described the terrible events leading up to the Holocaust and the resilience that enabled her to move forward despite her many losses.

Born in Dusseldorf in July 1922, Deutch moved to Bochum, Germany, when she was 2 years old. Her mother, a master hat maker, opened a millinery store and her father worked in business with major organizations and department stores.

Deutch recalled the Austrian-born Adolf Hitler, backed by the Nazi Party, coming into power as the chancellor of Germany on Jan. 30, 1933, and the Nazi-organized youth movement that followed to indoctrinate young “Aryan” people with Nazi ideology.

“He poisoned the children,” she recalled. “The boys were in the Hitler Youth and girls were in the League of German Girls.”

In April 1933, the Nazi Party started boycotting Jewish businessmen and liberal professions and passed numerous anti-Semitic laws, to include the Law for the Restoration of Professional Civil Service, which enabled the government to remove Jews and other “undesirables” from civil service. A month later, university students burned nearly 25,000 volumes of “un-German” books to include those authored by Ernest Hemingway, Jack London, Helen Keller and many Jewish authors.

Deutch recalled when bonfires lit up across Germany. “Jewish people saw what was happening and started going to consulates to get numbers to get out of the country,” she said.

Over the next several years, about 130,000 Jews left Germany seeking safety in South Africa, Palestine, Latin America and Eastern Europe.

A new wave of emigration took place after “Kristallnacht,” or the Night of Broken Glass, which took place Nov. 10, 1938. That night over 100 Jews were murdered, 30,000 Jewish men were imprisoned in concentration camps, and homes, synagogues and businesses destroyed.

Unaware of what was to come, “I went to bed that evening and all of a sudden my bed was shaking,” Deutch said. “My mother was trying to wake me up. The synagogue across the street was on fire.”

“It was so bright it was like sunshine,” she added.

She recalls seeing the firemen lining on the street in front of the building with their arms crossed, watching the synagogue burn. “No one lifted a finger,” she said.

The next morning, Deutch saw long, windowless police cars taking Jewish men away two by two. “After that, it got quiet around me,” she said. “I looked for my friends and they weren’t there. We didn’t know if they had been picked up and killed or got out.”

Overnight, people had started walking over the mountains and across the border into Switzerland, Holland and France. In the weeks after Kristallnacht, more laws were passed calling for Jewish-owned property to be transferred to “Aryan” ownership and preventing Jews from attending German schools, having a driver’s license or owning a vehicle.

With the vast numbers of Jewish refugees, nations began limiting the numbers admitted across their borders. Fortunately for Deutch, her cousin arranged for the 16-year-old to go on the Kindertransport, or Children’s Transport, a series of rescue efforts between 1938 and 1940. Children ages 17 and under, mostly Jewish, were separated from their parents and sent to England to be cared for until their parents could join them, she explained, noting the majority of those parents never arrived.

Deutch, one of the oldest there, recalls being on the train platform with children crying and clinging to her. “They were hanging onto my skirt; they didn’t want to go with strangers,” she recalled. “They would ask, ‘When is my mother going to come?’ It was incredibly sad.”

The children traveled by train to various ports and then boarded a boat for England. Upon arrival in London, they were ushered into an auditorium and, one by one, children were sent home with foster families or relatives. Deutch soon found herself alone in the cavernous hall.

“I said to myself, ‘Dear God, what now?’,” she said. “I had 10 marks on me and didn’t know the language.”

Deutch’s ride finally arrived to take her to a boarding house. Kindertransport officials later asked her what she wanted to do for a profession. She told them a medical doctor or a nurse.

“I went to the hospital and put on a uniform, and I was a nurse,” she said.Deutch and other German refugees were moved to a refugee internment camp in Isle of Man, where she continued her studies and became a registered nurse. Grateful for England’s support, she enlisted in the British army in 1941. She recalls her commanding officer asking her if she’d like to be a cook or a soldier-servant, which was an orderly for an officer. “I told her neither. I am a nurse,” she said.

Deutch met her husband, a Canadian citizen, in 1943 at the Jewish Forces Club. She soon became pregnant and was sent on a ship convoy to Canada, where she remained until after her husband died in 1949.

While there, Deutch went to look at the list of survivors every day to try and locate her family, but only found two cousins. She later discovered her mother and stepfather had escaped via boat from Holland to Chile. The rest of her family remained behind and died in concentration camps.

Seeking to reunite with her parents, Deutch and her two sons traveled to Chile, where she worked at the United Nations as an interpreter while studying to be an accountant, then returned to Canada and became a social worker. She later moved to New York to work as an accountant in an advertising agency. Her sons are now 75 and 77 years old.

She concluded by thanking all present for their contributions to healthcare and to the military. “To save a life is God’s work,” she said.

Deutch continues to be a sought-after speaker and each year at this time, shares her story of survival to ensure no one forgets the 6 million Jewish men, women and children — and countless others deemed inferior – who were murdered by the Nazi regime.


Related Website »

100-Year-Old Holocaust Survivor Recounts Childhood in Nazi Germany

Posted on April 18, 2023

To mark Israel’s Holocaust Remembrance Day, the Adopt-A-Savta organization, an Israeli NGO that pairs elderly Holocaust survivors with young people, invited 100-year-old Holocaust survivor Walter Bingham to address English speakers in the Tel Aviv area at a local synagogue. After a special ceremony in memory of the six million Jews who were murdered in the Holocaust, Bingham, who appeared very lively for his age, told his life story with great passion to the young Tel Aviv residents.

“I was born in Germany many years before Hitler came to power,” Bingham recounted, noting that even though he was born in Germany, he was never granted German citizenship, as both of his parents were Polish Jews. “I was born in 1924, which puts me in my 100th year of life. I was born in Germany when it was a very highly cultured place, the Germany of Beethoven, Bach and Einstein. One can ask themselves: how could such a cultured country sink so low?”

After Kristallnacht, Bingham was one of the children to go on a kinder transport to England: “The British agreed to take 10,000 children over a one-year period till the war broke out. Fortunately, I was one of the ones selected for this transport in 1939. My mother then took me to the train. The parents were heroes. They took their children to the train, knowing that war would break out. I was 15-years-old and street wise at that time. I knew what to behave like under the Nazis. But there were 4-year-old children screaming mommy, mommy, I love you, and mommy was outside.”

According to him, “I was 15-year-olds old and knew why I was going. But those little children did not. One of the things I could not forgive the British for was unaccompanied children. No parents were allowed to go. So, some children went to hostels, some went to foster parents and some went to a family. You did not know where you were going. Now, I belonged to a religious Zionist youth movement, so I went to a kibbutz in Wales. But some children waited for non-Jews to select them to take home.”

“I was there for a few years,” Bingham said. “After that, I left and went to London to find my own way. At that point, I was drafted into the Polish Army in Exile, organized by the government in exile. I was surprised. I went there and said, ‘I cannot go into your army. I have never been to Poland. I don’t speak Polish and know nothing about Poland.’ So, they released me and I went into the British Army.”

Bingham served for four years in the British Army. He drove an ambulance during the invasion of Normandy, and later on served as a counter-intelligence officer and got to examine Nazi documents in addition to speaking to Nazi war criminals before they were executed in the Nuremberg trials. After the war, he was able to reconnect with his mother, who managed to survive the war thanks to the Swedish rescuing her from certain death. His father perished in the Warsaw Ghetto.

Related Website »

What was the Kindertransport? King Charles honours rescue of Jewish children

Posted on April 4, 2023

King Charles III and Queen Consort Camilla visited a Kindertransport memorial at Dammtor station in Hamburg. PA

Britain’s King Charles III visited a memorial on Friday to 10,000 children who were rescued from Nazi Germany during the Kindertransport.

The statue in Hamburg is called The Final Parting and shows the young refugees leaving for Britain with their belongings in a suitcase.

Most of their parents were murdered in the Holocaust.

It was one of several commemorative moments during the king’s state visit, where he spoke of the “special bond of friendship” that grew between Britain and Germany from the ruins of the Second World War.

Related Website »


Posted on March 18, 2023

Speakers: Melissa Hacker, Wendy Henry, and Dr. Amy Williams

From December 1st, 1938, through September 1st, 1939, nearly 10,000 mostly Jewish children traveled from Nazi Germany, Austria, Czechoslovakia, Poland, and Danzig to the United Kingdom without their parents. This rescue mission became known as the Kindertransport. In 1990, more than 50 years later, a group of Kindertransport survivors in New York City came together to establish the Kindertransport Association (KTA – This unique volunteer-run organization was founded not solely for survivors, but as an intergenerational group with the missions of connecting these child Holocaust survivors and descendants, educating the next generations on the Kindertransports as an important part of Holocaust history, and supporting and advocating for children at risk today, especially refugees and those without parents.

In 2019, KTA president Melissa Hacker, whose mother fled Vienna on a Kindertransport in January 1939, created and organized an 80th-year commemorative journey. Over two weeks four Kindertransport survivors, now in their late 80s and early 90s, returned to the countries they fled, accompanied by fourteen members of the second generation. Traveling by train and ferry, the travelers traced the Kindertransport journey, visiting memorials, learning from scholars, and conducting family research along the way. Melissa, a filmmaker, will discuss the trip and show excerpts from 256,000 Miles From Home, a new film she has just finished about this trip. She made her directing debut with the documentary My Knees Were Jumping; Remembering The Kindertransports, the first film made on the Kindertransports, which was shortlisted for Academy Award nomination. Melissa consulted on the 2018 exhibit Rescuing Children on the Brink of War, jointly presented by Yeshiva University Museum and Leo Baeck Institute and provided material for Without a Home: Kindertransports from Vienna, a 2021 exhibit at the Vienna Jewish Museum.

Wendy Henry, a JGSNY member and a longtime member of the KTA, will speak about her experiences on the trip. Wendy found family photographs she had never seen before in archives in Berlin and met in London with a member of the Schlesinger family who created the hostel where her mother lived. Wendy’s mother, who was born in Berlin, became an early childhood educator and began working at hostels in Britain with child Holocaust survivors before emigrating to the United States.

Dr. Amy Williams, who spoke with the Kindertransport Journey travelers at the Wiener Holocaust Library in London, will talk about her Kindertransport research. She recently completed her PhD in History at Nottingham Trent University, where she is a part-time lecturer. Her thesis, Memory of the Kindertransport in National and Transnational Perspective, is a comprehensive examination of the different national and international memories of the Kindertransport. Dr. Williams is writing a book on the Kindertransports for Yale University Press and is working with other publishers to produce new publications on their history and memory. Amy works with the KTA and is in New York City for 2023 on a postdoctoral fellowship at the Zolberg Institute on Migration and Mobility at the New School.

Ticket Info:
In-person tickets: $5 general; free for CJH, Leo Baeck, KTA members; registration required here. Free for JGSNY members; RSVP to

Zoom registration: $5 general admission HERE; CJH members (those who have donated $50 or more in the past year) please email and mention that you are a CJH member and would like the Zoom link.

Related Website »

Holocaust survivor’s story told in migration exhibit on display in Columbus

Posted on March 15, 2023

Related Website »

OPINION – My Austrian passport is for the dog; the UK gave refuge to my family

Posted on March 11, 2023

A few days ago, I became Austrian. This wasn’t a total surprise — I’d applied for citizenship soon after their government amended the law to enable the descendants of those fleeing Nazi persecution to do so. To be clear, I retain views on making my grandparents stateless but I had been looking forward to acquiring an EU pet passport for my dog, Gracie. Free movement of beagles, if you will.

If this sounds flippant, it’s by design. I don’t feel grateful, guilty or really anything at all. This is a transaction and all the parties know it. They took something from my family and I’m claiming it back, with as little emotional energy expended in the reclamation as they exerted in the expulsion.

My gratitude is focused towards Britain, which took in both of my grandparents. Otherwise, they may have been murdered somewhere in eastern Europe, two more added to the list of 65,000 Austrian Jews exterminated in the Holocaust. Though, we must be honest with ourselves, the Kindertransport is no moral indemnity for Britain, only a small crack flowing from the catastrophic failure of the Evian Conference.

Related Website »

The Kindertransport refugee who is still writing books at 94

Posted on March 10, 2023

W hen dining with Lore Segal, it might be wise to watch your words. The Austrian-born writer subscribes to Nora Ephron’s adage that everything is copy. That’s especially true for her encounters with her circle of close female friends, which over the years have been rendered into fiction via her Ladies Lunch series.

The stories, most originally published in The New Yorker, are wry appraisals on ageing and how this shifts our relationships.

Mostly they feature a version of Segal, today a sprightly 94-year-old living on the Upper West Side, more than eight decades after she fled to Britain on the Kindertransport. These, plus three other essays, form part of a Ladies Lunch collection published in the UK this month.

They are built on a real lunch, one that has been meeting for the last 20 years. “These stories come from picking up on some theme or story or something that has happened,” explains Segal, who is well known for her novels and short stories in the US and has been nominated for a Pulitzer Prize. “The characters are real, but the characters’ names are not [those of] my real friends.”

Segal arrived in New York in 1951, having spent the war in a series of foster homes, studying her eccentric English hosts (some Jews, others Christians keen to convert her) with the same curiosity a botanist might have for exotic plants. Remarkably, she was reunited with her parents early in the war, after English authorities helped them secure domestic servant visas.

Related Website »

Vienna’s UK embassy honours diplomats and clergy who saved Jews from Nazis

Posted on March 8, 2023

The UK ambassador recently discovered her own grandmother escaped on the Kindertransport

A plaque honouring the memory of British officials and Anglican clergy who saved thousands of Jews from the Nazis was unveiled at the British embassy in Vienna.

The ceremony was led by Lord Pickles, the government’s special envoy for post-Holocaust issues and co-chair of Britain’s Holocaust Memorial Foundation, and the president of the Austrian parliament Wolfgang Sobotka.

The diplomats and clergy went into action after the Anschluss of March 1938 when Hitler’s troops annexed Austria.

It was an emotional morning at the embassy for Britain’s ambassador to Austria, Lindsay Skoll, who told attendees she had often found herself close to tears reading the accounts of those whom British diplomats and clergymen had tried to save.

Ms Skoll discovered only recently that she herself was the grandchild of a Holocaust survivor. Her grandmother, born in Germany, found sanctuary in Vienna as a child before making it out on one of the last Kindertransport trains, settling in the north-east of England. Her grandmother kept this a secret until almost the very end of her life.

Related Website »

German federal parliament president pays respects at Kindertransport memorial

Posted on February 25, 2023




The president of the German Bundestag (federal parliament) visited the Kindertransport (Children’s Transport) monument at Liverpool Street Station.

The visit coinciding with the 85th anniversary of the Kindertransport, Bärbel Bas, representing the national parliament of the Federal Republic of Germany, placed a stone beside the famous memorial statue, in the presence of Kinder and their families.

Also in attendance were representatives from The Association of Jewish Refugees (AJR), World Jewish Relief, as well as Lord Eric Pickles, special envoy for post-Holocaust issues of the UK government.

(Also see similar article at

Related Website »

Bradford’s Kindertransport hostel was sanctuary in the war

Posted on February 22, 2023

ARRIVING at the docks in Dover in late 1938, the children from the Kindertransport tried to be brave. They had no idea where they would be going. No idea who would look after them.

Some children were collected by relatives. Others sat waiting. They had no family to greet them. “Be polite to whoever looks after you”, their parents had said, waving them off from cities across Europe. The children knew their parents were sending them far away as a last resort. The children didn’t want to be impolite and to be returned.

Someone in an official uniform read out names. About 20 boys aged 14-16 stepped forward. Three women approached and smiled at them. “We’re taking you to Bradford,” they said. “It’s a few hours away on the train but there you will have a home. We will feed you and you will be well looked after. You will be safe.”

And so began the journey of the boys to their city of sanctuary for the war years.

Related Website »

BBC series tells the story of Tyneside’s Holocaust refugee house for girls

Posted on February 18, 2023

A BBC Sounds series narrated by Desert Island Discs presenter Lauren Laverne tells the remarkable and previously unknown story of how more than 20 young girls were rescued from Nazi persecution and brought to the small town of Tynemouth, east of Newcastle, and supported by the small local Jewish community.

In a nondescript terraced house overlooking the sea, the girls lived together for about a year in 1938. Once war was declared, they were collectively relocated from 55 Percy Park to Windermere in the Lake District for the next six years.

Speaking to the JC, series co-creator Joanna Lonsdale said: “The story of Tynemouth’s Kindertransport girls is a remarkable one and one that we just couldn’t believe had been forgotten. Everyone knows the story of the Windermere boys — there’s even a movie about it. But nobody knows that there was also a community of girls there that escaped the Holocaust.

Related Website »

Holocaust memorial service held at new statue in Harwich

Posted on February 2, 2023

A SPECIAL Holocaust memorial service was held in Harwich for the first time following the unveiling of Harwich’s Kindertransport memorial.

Holocaust Memorial Day is commemorated every year on January 27 to honour the six million victims of the Holocaust.

The date is the anniversary of the liberation of the concentration camp Auschwitz-Birkenau in 1945.

Following the unveiling of the Kindertransport memorial at Harwich Quay last year, Harwich Town Council decided the site would be a fitting focal point for Holocaust Memorial Day.

Related Website »

Lowestoft: Kindertransport arrival at town’s railway station marked

Posted on February 2, 2023

A new history panel recounting the 1938 Kindertransport arrival in a coastal town has been unveiled during a special ceremony.

The giant interpretation panel was unveiled at Lowestoft rail station – close to where hundreds of young Jewish refugees had arrived in December 1938.

And as people from the community gathered to mark Holocaust Memorial Day at the station last Friday, a special ceremony was held to unveil the new panel – which recounts the events of the 1938 Kindertransport arrival in Lowestoft.

Related Website »

Legacy and the Kindertransport

Posted on February 2, 2023

One of the most moving stories of rescue during the Holocaust is the Kindertransport, the British-led effort to that transported 10,000 Jewish children to safety in the U.K. Today, Kindertransport refugees and their descendants share a legacy of survival, resilience, and responsibility.

Join USC Shoah Foundation on February 16 for this unique webinar that will introduce Edith Maniker, a survivor of the Kindertransport, and Mona Golabek, the daughter of Lisa Jura who was saved by the Kindertransport, for a live conversation as well as an introduction to their digital biographies shared in the Foundation’s Dimensions in Testimony program. This digitally based program allows students and teachers to engage in personal conversations with survivors from their own computer devices, making it a powerful tool that redefines inquiry-based education.

Related Website »

Coalville CAN hosts ‘evening you will never forget’ with Holocaust survivor Ruth next month

Posted on January 28, 2023

Coalville CAN is hosting what it describes as an unforgettable evening next month at its Memorial Square venue.

An Evening With Ruth Shwiening – a Holocaust survivor – takes place on February 8 at 6pm.

It is a story of survival of the holocaust, Ruth’s journey on the Kindertransport and how it inspired her art and her life.

A Coalville CAN spokesperson said: “We are sure it will be one of those evenings that you will never forget.

Ruth arrived in England on the Kindertransport at the age of three – while her father was imprisoned in Dachau and her mother was left to desperately find a way out for the rest of the family.

“Hear the story of her life as a Jewish refugee in the UK, and how she ignited her own artistic talent that she uses to share her story and support others.

“It is part of the creative sessions at Coalville CAN.”

All are welcome and there is no charge.

Related Website »

Poignant memorial service held at Lowestoft rail station

Posted on January 28, 2023

Scores of people turned out as a town fell silent in remembering others during a poignant service of remembrance.

Close to the spot where hundreds of young Jewish refugees had arrived in 1938, the people of Lowestoft gathered during a special ceremony to commemorate Holocaust Memorial Day.

Related Website »

“I will never forget the refugee we took in from the Nazis”

Posted on January 28, 2023

On Holocaust Memorial Day, Ann Chadwick, 85, shares the story of how a little Jewish girl came to be a beloved part of her family

My earliest memory of Suzie Spitzer, the Austrian Jewish girl who became my sister, is of us fighting. We fought like tigers. She had very sharp elbows, was bigger than me and would shove me out of the way. But I did have a weapon in my armoury; she had wonderful dark curly hair which was perfect for pulling.

But when I asked my dad what he remembered of Sue – as we called her when she first came to us in July 1939 – it was her crying for her “Mutti” and asking for a tissue to wipe her tears away. My parents hugged her and tried to comfort her – they were kind and patient people.

Sue didn’t speak a word of English. She had already been forced out of her home city of Vienna to move to Prague. Then her parents put her on one of the last trains out of the country as part of the Kindertransport rescue mission to bring Jewish children from continental Europe to England. She was traumatised and alone – but she had us.

But it wasn’t long before she learnt to call my parents Aubrey and Winifred “mum” and “dad”. Sue became, simply, a member of our family of five.

Related Website »

The lost history of Tynemouth’s Holocaust safe house for girls

Posted on January 27, 2023

A group of young girls and womenNumber 55 Percy Park looks much like all the other town houses on a well-kept seafront parade in Tynemouth. But more than 80 years ago, it played a small yet significant part in the rescue of Jewish children from the Nazis.

Following a BBC investigation, a blue plaque was unveiled on the house to commemorate Holocaust Memorial Day and to mark the property’s forgotten past.

When Martin and Rosemary Anderson moved into their home in July 2017, they had no idea about what once took place within its walls.

“The previous owners, who’d lived here for a number of years, clearly didn’t know because a unique bit of history like that would have been a good selling point,” Martin says.

During World War Two, the Andersons’ home served as a sanctuary for more than 20 Jewish girls who had fled Nazi persecution.

They came to the UK on the Kindertransport, the rescue effort in 1938 and 1939 which brought thousands of mostly Jewish refugee children to Britain.

The girls lived in the terraced house for about a year, but all trace of their presence there has since disappeared.

Related Website »

Antisemitism rising because of a lack of Holocaust education, survivor says

Posted on January 27, 2023

A 92-year-old Holocaust survivor said antisemitism is on the rise because young people are not learning about the Holocaust as much anymore.

Vera Schaufeld came to England via the Kindertransport, a movement that was set up to evacuate Jewish children from Germany in the wake of Kristallnacht – a night of Nazi-coordinated violence in November 1938 which resulted in the destruction of hundreds of synagogues and Jewish properties across the German Reich

Her parents remained in what was then Czechoslovakia and were sent to a concentration camp where they were later murdered.

Related Website »

Holocaust survivor, 96: ‘I’m grateful to the kind British people who helped me build my life

Posted on January 26, 2023

Gabriele Keenaghan, 96, one of the oldest Kindertransport survivors, has shared her story to mark Holocaust Memorial Day, which is on 27 January

On 9 November 1938, the Nazis initiated a campaign of hatred against Jews in all Nazi territories, known as Kristallnacht. This was the eve of Gabriele’s 12th birthday and she remembers “dreadful screaming”. The next day she waited excitedly for her father to take her out to celebrate as arranged. “My father never appeared,” she said.

It had become increasingly clear that Gabriele’s life was in danger in Austria. “My grandmother was worried that I would be taken next,” she said.

And so her grandmother arranged for her to escape the country through the Kindertransport. And on 24 April 1939, Gabriele was one of 150 unaccompanied children, with labels around their neck to identify them, who left Vienna for the UK, not knowing if they would see their families again.

“My grandmother came to the station to wave me off. The parents had been told not to have any emotional scenes,” she said.

“I’ll always remember my grandmother waving and smiling as the train pulled away. I know now she was trying to give me her courage, and encourage me to believe everything was going to be ok. It makes me very, very sad to think about that day.

“I’ll always remember the sounds of them crying. We were all alone and some were only four years old. We stopped off at a station on the Germany-Holland border and there was a feast laid out for us – sandwiches, drinks and more along with toys. The people there comforted the crying children. I haven’t been able to find out the name of the station, but I’ll always remember their kindness.”

Related Website »