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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.”

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Unsung hero: The man who saved more Jews than Oskar Schindler during the Holocaust

Posted on January 26, 2023

For International Holocaust Remembrance Day, we bring to you the story of German businessman Wilfrid Israel, buried in the recesses of Jewish history. Less famous than Oskar Schindler, he is said to have done far more than what he is credited for. And his humanitarian work has an Australian connection too.

The Essential Link: The Story of Wilfrid Israel

It is believed Wilfrid Israel didn’t get due credit in Jewish history because he was a Jew and the State of Israel only recognises people of other religions who helped the community during the Holocaust. 

Israel’s Kindertransport rescued Jewish children from Europe, helped them emigrate to Australia, UK, US and Canada

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Tickets for Eva at The Rockwell Centre now on sale

Posted on January 24, 2023

A SHOW based on the story of a German Jewish woman who started a new life in Britain after World War Two is coming to Bradford next month.

Eva, which uses theatre and poetry to explore themes of displacement, isolation and immigration, is coming to The Rockwell Centre in Thorpe Edge on Sunday, February 12.

Written by Nicki Davy and directed by Leanne Rowley, it will look at how thousands of refugees started a new life in this country, all while the world mourned the millions of lives that were lost in the war.

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Concert documentary to take place at University of Lincoln to mark Holocaust Memorial Day

Posted on January 23, 2023

A special concert documentary will take place at the University of Lincoln on Friday 27 January to mark Holocaust Memorial Day.

The event is called Kindertransport, which means “children’s transport” in German and refers to the rescue of thousands of children from Nazi-occupied Europe before the outbreak of the Second World War.

The event is inspired by Dr Robin Young whose father came to the UK from Czechoslovakia as part of the Kindertransport.

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Holocaust survivor to tell her story in Poole for memorial day event

Posted on January 21, 2023

A HOLOCAUST survivor will share her story as an annual memorial event returns to being held in-person.

An event for Holocaust Memorial Day, hosted by the Bournemouth and Poole Holocaust Memorial Committee, will be held at Poole’s Lighthouse on Sunday, January 29.

Lady Milena Grenfell-Baines MBE will be the event’s main speaker and will share her story as a Holocaust survivor.  In her talk, Lady Milena will recount her story of survival at 10 years old when her family were able to leave Prague on the last Kindertransport train with the help of Trevor Chadwick and Nicholas Winton, organisers of an operation which brought nearly 10,000 Jewish children in danger to the UK.

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Holocaust service to be held at new Kindertransport statue in Harwich

Posted on January 21, 2023

A SPECIAL Holocaust memorial service will take place in Harwich for the first time following the unveiling of Harwich’s Kindertransport memorial.

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

Harwich mayor Ivan Henderson said: “The Kindertransport Memorial recognises Harwich’s role in the protection of many thousands of Jewish children through the Kindertransport but it also offers a focal point for us to remember and reflect on the horror of the Holocaust.

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Lowestoft: Holocaust memorial ceremony and new bench to be unveiled

Posted on January 18, 2023

Wreaths are due to be laid as a ceremony commemorating Holocaust Memorial Day will be held in Lowestoft.

At the spot where hundreds of young Jewish refugees arrived in 1938, a special service of remembrance will take place on Friday, January 27 as Lowestoft rail station hosts a special ceremony.

Everyone is welcome to attend the service of reflection, which will take place inside the Parcels Office at the town’s railway station on January 27 at 10am. People will gather to remember the Holocaust and the role the town played more than 80 years ago when more than 500 children arrived at Lowestoft station as part of the Kindertransport initiative.

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Kindertransport refugees who survived Holocaust reunite

Posted on January 13, 2023

Hilda Fogelson, formerly Hilde Anker, received this German identification card in 1934. She used it when she fled on the Kindertransport to escape Nazi-occupied Germany.Photo from United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, courtesy of George Fogelson.

Hilda Fogelson remembers Berlin fondly although she left in 1939. As an 13-year-old, she boarded a ship bound for the United Kingdom without her family, part of a rescue mission for about 10,000 Jewish children in Nazi-occupied areas known as Kindertransport.

On that same ship was toddler Michael Wolf, who escaped from Germany. Although they traveled together and both ultimately settled in California, Fogelson, 96, and Wolf, 86, had never met until they reunited last month at Fogelson’s Studio City home.

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Who are the Holocaust survivors in UK Parliament’s memorial day portraits?

Posted on January 10, 2023

Children evacuated from Germany on the Kindertransport in 1938/1939 are given candies in Southampton, England (photo credit: MAARIV)

The UK Parliament is set to exhibit 30 portraits of people affected by the Holocaust, genocide or identity-based persecution in honor of Holocaust Remembrance Day which is marked internationally at the end of the month of January.

Four passengers of the Kindertransport are featured in the portraits: An ink and dipping brush drawing of couple Ann and Bob Kirk by Ellie Jones, a drawing of Bronia Snow by Ali Simmons, and a drawing of Fay Healey by 10-year-old Cerys.

Ann and Bob were on separate Kindertransports and only met later in life after the war in 1950. The two married and had two children.

Bronia was on a transport from Prague when she was 11 and was sent to a foster family. She never saw her biological family ever again. She told Simmons that she struggled with faith after the horrors of the Holocaust, but Simmons noted that “Bronia seems resilient, kind and curious.”

Fay Healey was on a 1938 transport from Poland at the age of 11. As an adult, Fay was a lollipop lady (a person who helps children cross the road when they are on the way to and from school) at Lander Road Primary School and St. Elizabeth Primary School.

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Man honoured for Holocaust education says Kristallnacht saved his life

Posted on December 31, 2022

92-year old Michael Brown arrived just days before war was declared and worked with Holocaust Educational Trust to tell his story

Kristallnacht was a wave of Nazi-coordinated violence against Jews across Germany in November 1938 that is so called because of the debris left from the destruction of Jewish properties and synagogues.

As a result of the violence, the British Government began to allow unaccompanied Jewish children into the country as refugees – a movement that came to be known as the Kindertransport. Michael Brown, 92, was one of those children, arriving just days before Britain’s declaration of war against Germany and the cessation of the transports.

“In fact, I always think about how lucky I am because probably, I was on if not the very last, the second to last transport before the war began. I came to England on August 23, 1939. So I just squeezed in.”

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Kindertransport bench tells children’s testimonies

Posted on December 15, 2022

A TALKING bench that plays the testimonies of Kindertransport children has been unveiled in Harwich.

The bench has been installed by the Harwich Kindertransport Memorial and Learning Trust in the Mayor’s Garden off Main Road.

It includes stories told by those who were evacuated from Nazi occupied Europe to safety in Britain.

The humanitarian rescue mission, which started in December 1938 and continued until the outbreak of the Second World War, saved approximately 10,000 children.

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Concern over missing Kindertransport memorial

Posted on December 15, 2022

Iconic bronze Frank Meisler statue, similar to one at Liverpool Street Station, was meant to be removed from Gdańsk station for two months but is still absent four years later.

Concerns are mounting for a cherished Kindertransport memorial missing for almost four years from outside a train station where 124 children were given safe passage from the Nazis.

The statue by British-Israeli artist Frank Meisler, similar to one by late sculpturist on display at Liverpool Street Station, was removed in early 2019 from outside Gdańsk station – the Polish town where Meisler was born – to allow for renovations to the concourse. Entitled ‘Kindertransport – The Departure’, it had been in place for almost a decade.

Following its removal, local authorities assured Rabbi Michal Samet of Gdańsk synagogue that the statue would return  “within two  months”.   Now, almost four years later, fears are mounting among the local Jewish community that the iconic artwork – marking the place where four Kindertransports took youngsters to safety before September 1939 – may not return to public display.

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Grandmother’s Holocaust years detailed in journal

Posted on December 8, 2022

The anti-Semitism that fanned the flames of the Holocaust is “still here — I feel like you see it more and more every day,” said Courtney Doi, which is one of the reasons she said she is so intent on telling the story of her grandmother, Judith Klein, and her family.

“I am the chosen family historian, and getting her words out is very important to me,” said Doi, who discussed Klein’s journey out of Germany as a teenage refugee, her extended family’s experiences across Europe before, during, and after World War II, and Doi’s own travels to Germany to further understand her family history Wednesday at the Fayetteville Public Library.

“It’s a miracle I’m here to tell this story, [and] it makes me so happy that folks here — and in other pockets of the country — get to know [Klein’s] story.”

Doi, who lives in North Carolina, discusses her grandmother and family often at schools and other events, as she believes it can be easier for some people to comprehend the Holocaust through the personal tale of one individual, she said. She’s heard people say, “it must be real if it happened to this person.”

Klein was one of thousands of children and adolescents — she was the 680th youth to be signed up for the Kindertransport — the operation to evacuate Jewish children from Nazi-controlled areas of Europe to the United Kingdom between 1938 and 1940 — who escaped Germany as the country’s persecution of Jews became increasingly pernicious, Doi said.

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Jewish propaganda, antisemitism & white supremacists on the rise

Posted on December 7, 2022

For many in Texas, it’s a hard pill to swallow. Antisemitism and white supremacy is seeing an increase and is a reality to many in the Lonestar State.

“We’ve lived a long life, we see it every day,” said Holocaust survivor Bert Romberg.

Bert Romberg and his sister Magie Furst were part of the kindertransport and migrated to the U.K. They would later settle in the U.S. Both are in their 90s and concerned with what’s happening in today’s world.

“There were 6 million Jews that died and a million and a half kids like us,” said Bert Romberg.

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St Andrews honour: The remarkable story of Lord Alf Dubs’ escape to the UK from Nazi horror

Posted on December 4, 2022

Michael Alexander speaks to Lord Alf Dubs – a child refugee who fled the Nazis before World War Two, becoming an MP, CEO of a refugee charity and member of the House of Lords – and who has now been honoured by St Andrews University.

He is the Labour peer who fled the Nazi occupation of Czechoslovakia through the Kindertransport scheme, which rescued so many Jewish youngsters before the Second World War.

Lord Alf Dubs, who received an honorary Doctor of Law (LLD) from St Andrews University on Tuesday November 29, has spent his career standing up for the rights of refugees – especially children.

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Journey to a New World: Edith Maniker’s Life After the Kindertransport

Posted on December 4, 2022

Today marks the 84th anniversary of the Kindertransport, the rescue operation that beginning in 1938 helped nearly 10,000 Jewish children escape to the United Kingdom from Germany and Nazi-controlled territory in Austria, Czechoslovakia and Poland.

A young Edith Grunbaum was among the children ferried to safety. She told her story to USC Shoah Foundation in 1998 in testimony now housed in the Visual History Archive. Last year, she interviewed for Dimensions in Testimony, the interactive biography exhibit that enables people to ask questions that prompt real-time responses from pre-recorded video interviews with Holocaust survivors and other witnesses to genocide.

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Anita Weisbord

Posted on December 3, 2022

As we remember December 2, 1938, the day that the first Kindertransport arrived safely to Harwich, England, and the day that KT2 David Meyerhoff named World Kindertransport Day, we think of Kindertransport Survivor Anita Weisbord from Vienna, who has died this week at 99 years. A committed educator, she shared her story widely. This short clip is beautifully moving.
https://bit.ly/AnitaWTalk

Wales hospitality to refugees fleeing the Nazis remembered

Posted on November 5, 2022

An exhibition tracing the history of refugees in Wales, from those fleeing the Nazis in 1930s up to the present day, is going on display next week.

Refugees from National Socialism in Wales: Learning from the past for the future will be on display at Aberystwyth Arts Centre from 10 November to 29 January, after which it will travel to the Senedd and Pierhead Galleries in Cardiff between February and April 2023.

It tells the stories of those who found sanctuary in Wales after fleeing from central Europe due to the National Socialist dictatorship, and draws parallels with modern-day refugees who are making Wales their home.

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How a Kindertransport Saved and Shaped My Mother-in-Law’s Life

Posted on November 1, 2022

Watching Ukrainian women and children flee Putin’s death machine as men remain to fight evokes a heart-rending image from my family narrative 84 years ago.

In 1939, my wife’s maternal grandparents parted from their beloved daughters, Gertrud, 8, and Erika, 10, at the railroad station in Graz, Austria. The girls boarded a kindertransport (transport for children) to Sweden. Barred from the platforms as Jews, their parents strained for a final glimpse at their departing daughters.

Trude and Maja, 1939

Sundering the Silber family devastated the adults and bewildered the girls but it saved the daughters from the Holocaust. It also imbued Gertrud, called Trude, who would be my mother-in-law, with lifelong pangs of abandonment and want. Too young to comprehend the situation, she could not understand the absolute necessity of her parents’ action. She did not experience it as an act of love.

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Stockton endowed scholarship honors local Holocaust survivor

Posted on October 25, 2022

GALLOWAY TOWNSHIP – For most of her life, not many people knew that Ruth Kessler was a survivor of the Holocaust.

“I was the only one who knew her Holocaust story,” her daughter Michele Taroff said. “She never talked about it. My brothers never knew.”

And Kessler continued to keep mostly quiet about her experience as part of the Kindertransport for many years until her granddaughter, Dani Hong, approached “Mom Mom” in eighth grade to ask if she would talk to her class.

“I saw her face turn white and she just looked at Dani and said, ‘OK.’ And that was the beginning of her telling her story, which she never thought was important enough,” Taroff said.

Kessler’s story about being separated from her mother and sister and sent from her home in Vienna to England in 1939 as part of the Kindertransport has become very important, not just to her family but to hundreds of students she spoke to until her death in 2016.

Her important story and family’s legacy will live on with Stockton students as part of the Ruth Fisch Kessler Memorial Endowed Scholarship. Taroff and her husband, Scott, have set up the scholarship, which will go to a Stockton undergraduate student with a demonstrated interest in Holocaust and genocide studies. The family announced the gift in a ceremony at Stockton’s Sara & Sam Schoffer Holocaust Resource Center earlier this month.

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