As the situation worsened in Nazi Germany, parents were faced with a difficult decision: send their children alone to a foreign land in the hopes of finding a better life or keep their family together while facing increasing repression. In just nine months, thousands of unaccompanied Jewish children under the age of 17 were sent from Nazi-occupied Europe to safety in the United Kingdom. Kindertransport – Rescuing Children on the Brink of War, opening at Illinois Holocaust Museum & Education Center on May 19, showcases this astonishing rescue effort through personal artifacts, stories, and firsthand testimony. The exhibition will run through November 17, 2024.

“I received a ticket for the Kindertransport on my tenth birthday and left Germany a week later,” says Holocaust Survivor Ernie Heimann. “It assured my place with the 10,000 children who were rescued from Nazi-occupied Europe instead of among the one-in-a-half million children who were murdered in the Holocaust.”

Created and organized by Yeshiva University Museum and the Leo Baeck Institute – New York | Berlin, the exhibition is arranged into eight sections, beginning in the days and months following Kristallnacht when Europe’s Jewish population could no longer deny the threat of Nazism. The Kindertransport is brought to life by presenting objects that the children brought with them to the United Kingdom; a map detailing the transport routes; letters between parents and children; audio testimonies by survivors; and quotes charting the heart-wrenching decisions parents made in sending their children away to safety. The Museum will expand the exhibition to feature local stories of those saved by the Kindertransport.

“Illinois Holocaust Museum is excited to share this lesser-known story of bravery and resilience,” says CEO Bernard Cherkasov. “As part of our mission, we look to share the full scope of what happened during the Holocaust, including the trials, tragedies, and survival of the children saved by the Kindertransport. While the majority of their parents were murdered in the Holocaust, it was thanks to passionate upstanders that these children were able to survive.”

Details about the exhibition are available here.

About Illinois Holocaust Museum
Illinois Holocaust Museum & Education Center honors the Survivors and victims of the Holocaust and transforms history into current, relevant, and universal lessons in humanity. Through world-class exhibitions and programs, the Museum inspires individuals and organizations to remember the past and transform the future. The Museum is open Wednesday through Monday from 10:00 a.m. through 5:00 p.m. For more information, visit or call 847-967-4800.