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Blue plaque for Kindertransport home in Gloucester

Posted on April 30, 2022

Gloucester building that housed Jewish child refugees fleeing Nazi Germany is to be given a blue commemorative plaque, following a campaign by the son of one of those housed here. The unveiling will mark 82 years since the arrival of these children in Gloucestershire, but not the end of the plight of refugees.

The former hostel on Alexandra Road in Kingsholm was home to 10 boys who were sent hundreds of miles from their families in order to escape the pogroms and the eventual Nazi holocaust that murdered more than 6,000,000 Jewish people in Europe. Many of the children on the Kindertransport were the only members of their family to survive the genocide.

The Alexandra Road hostel was organised by Gloucester Association for Aiding Refugees, who brought in a Checkoslovakian refugee couple to help raise the rescued children. Apart from a safe home, these children were given education, training and jobs by the city that opened its arms.

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Anthony Hopkins’ bio-pic of ‘British Schindler’ seals his place in history

Posted on April 27, 2022

Almost 30 years after Steven Spielberg brought the story of German Industrialist Oskar Schindler and his rescue of Jews to the big screen, a new biopic about the ‘British Schindler’ Sir Nicholas Winton is soon to start shooting in Prague.  With a screenplay by Nick Drake  and The Danish Girl’s Lucinda Coxon,  One Life will show how the then 29-year-old Winton, arriving in Prague in December 1938 intending to go on a skiing holiday in Switzerland, before changing his plans when he hearw about the refugee crisis in Czechoslovakia. Over the following nine months, Hampstead-born Winton, organised eight trains to carry 669 children.

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Play tells story of East Devon community’s kindness to wartime refugees

Posted on April 22, 2022

The inspiring wartime story of a Devon village and church community which offered sanctuary to Jewish child refugees has been turned into a play. Talaton a Wartime Refuge tells the story of how six children who fled Poland as part of the Kindertransport evacuation in 1939, were given homes in the East Devon village of Talaton for the duration of World War Two. The play will have its premiere in nearby Whimple on Monday, April 25.

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When Jewish kids fled Nazis, UK families took them in.

Posted on April 22, 2022

Ann Chadwick’s father remembered hearing Suzanne Spitzer quietly sobbing in her bedroom, crying “Mutter, mutter” (“Mother, mother”).

The five-year-old had just arrived at the Chadwick family’s Cambridge home on the Kindertransport from Czechoslovakia — one of the 10,000 Jewish refugee children who escaped the Nazis and were taken in by Britain on the eve of World War II.

Chadwick’s recollections of the 11 years Suzie spent with her family are part of a new project undertaken by historian and Holocaust educator Mike Levy. Funded by the US Holocaust Memorial and Museum, he is interviewing British families who gave a home to Kindertransport children.

Their experiences, says Levy, have hitherto been “neglected in the historiography of the Kindertransport.”

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Cambridge Kindertransport author says refugees then faced UK visa blocks familiar to Ukrainians today

Posted on April 21, 2022

Cambridge author and Holocaust educator Mike Levy was able to source material for his recently published book about 1930s Kindertransport children from a tranche of records made publicly available by Cambridge University Library in 2020. The archive of Cambridge Refugee Committee documents from 1938-39 reveal the difficulties of obtaining visas and the dearth – part indifference, part politically motivated – of official financial support to the families who housed the Kindertransport children who arrived in England just before the outbreak of war.

 

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He’s 98, I’m 43 – How a Holocaust Survivor Became My Best Friend

Posted on April 16, 2022

Henry Wuga escaped Nazi persecution at 15. Chitra Ramaswamy is half his age, the daughter of Indian immigrants. She explains how their bond developed

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Myth, history and the Kindertransport

Posted on March 23, 2022

There has been much talk of Britain’s “noble tradition of looking after refugees” and journalists and politicians have taken the story of the Kindertransport as the defining moment in the history of Britain’s policy towards refugees.

There are several problems here. First, the Kindertransport is misleading in several crucial respects. In his important book, Journeys from the Abyss, the historian Tony Kushner shows what is missing from the prevailing account and asks some troubling questions.

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My father, the child refugee, helped to change Britain

Posted on March 23, 2022

If my father hadn’t been saved, his three sons, five grandchildren and three great-grandchildren wouldn’t be here today. That’s why I support an openhearted welcome for those fleeing persecution anywhere and have been deeply unimpressed by the responses of recent British governments.

Yet what is happening in Ukraine feels even closer to home. It is partly a question of geography, the constant evocation of the Kindertransports and the parallels drawn between Adolf Hitler and Vladimir Putin.

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Austria Improves Nationality Law For Descendants Of Nazi Victims

Posted on March 18, 2022

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Kindertransport survivors condemn Putin’s assault

Posted on March 17, 2022

The Kindertransport Association was formed to educate and inform the “next generations” and the public so that the critical role of the Kindertransport during the Holocaust would not be forgotten. But that is only one part of our mission. We carry the burden of ensuring that the horrors imposed by the Holocaust on our families and the world shall not be forgotten. With this mission in mind, the Kindertransport Association most strongly condemns president Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine

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Pretending the Kindertransport was a part of a ‘noble tradition’

Posted on March 16, 2022

To cite the kindertransport as evidence of a “noble tradition” of welcoming refugees is to betray the facts and to deceive ourselves.

It is quite true that 9,000 Jews came to Britain on the kindertransport. But why exactly was it children who were admitted, given that it was Jews of all ages who faced the threat of lethal Nazi persecution in Europe?

The answer is not flattering. Special provision was made for those children because Britain refused to let in their parents.

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The Ukrainian refugee crisis triggered a wave of Kindertransport activism

Posted on March 10, 2022

Within days of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, photographs started to appear of Kindertransport memorials draped in the Ukraine flag.

The message “safe passage now” was printed on a brown luggage label, similar to the ones the Kinder wore as they fled their homelands, and placed at the front of the memorial in London.

This past week we have heard the moving pleas from politicians and religious leaders to bring forward a modern day Kindertransport to aid Ukrainian refugee children.

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From ‘Kindertransport’ to ‘Ukrainetransport’

Posted on March 6, 2022

A researcher who revealed the heroic efforts of ordinary British people in saving Jewish children from the Nazis has spoken out about why the government should trust citizens in a humanitarian emergency like Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

The 72-year-old said his Jewish community has this week launched an initiative called ‘Ukrainetransport’. Rabbi Jonathan Romain from Maidenhead is hoping to use the Kindertransport model to encourage Brits to take Ukrainian children into their homes.

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Play portrays Ukrainian theme of refugees with Kindertransport

Posted on March 4, 2022

Kindertransport, beginning nexr Thursday (March 10), is the seminal play by Diane Samuels wrestling with the short and long term consequences of exactly that.

Just before the outbreak of the Second World War in 1939, nine year-old Eva had waved goodbye to her mother Helga and finds herself alone on the platform at Liverpool Street Station. Uprooted from Germany, she cannot speak any English and is badly confused. Tagged like a piece of luggage, she is handed over to strangers.

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Open your homes to Ukrainian refugees, rabbi urges British families

Posted on March 4, 2022

A rabbi whose mother fled Nazi Germany on the Kindertransport has founded a scheme for Britons to host refugees from Ukraine, as the UN revealed one million people have now fled the country in the face of the Russian invasion.

The “Ukrainetransport” scheme has been set up by Rabbi Jonathan Romain, 67, the head of Maidenhead Synagogue, Berkshire, to host Jews and other refugees fleeing Ukraine.

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Daughter of Kindertransport hero Nicholas Winton

Posted on February 27, 2022

The daughter of the hero who helped organise the Kindertransport evacuation of Jewish children has said that the UK Government’s response to Ukrainian refugees is “completely inadequate”.

Barbara Winton, the daughter of Sir Nicholas Winton, said that Britain had a “moral responsibility to offer what help we can” to Ukranians fleeing their homeland in response to Russia’s invasion.

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Fairfield Holocaust survivor reflects on life on 100th birthday

Posted on February 20, 2022

Charles Ohlenberg, a Fairfield resident and Holocaust survivor, turned 100 on Thursday. Even with his century worth of memories, his experience surviving the genocide, when most of his family did not, is still at the forefront of his mind.

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New museum display highlights local survivor stories

Posted on February 15, 2022

Lisl Schick (née Porges) was only a child when the Nazis annexed Austria (to a grand welcome) and began to persecute the Jewish population. Faced with the dangers of Nazi occupation, Lisl and her family were forced to flee Austria. With her brother Walter, she escaped to Great Britain through the Kindertransport. The siblings eventually reunited with their parents and started a new life in New York City.”

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Acts of heroism and compassion

Posted on February 15, 2022

The Kitchener Camp and the Kindertransport were acts of heroism and compassion. Looking back, one wonders why so much that could have been done wasn’t. These are eternal lessons that need to be repeated over and over again.

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The Island of Extraordinary Captives

Posted on February 11, 2022

The Island of Extraordinary Captives focuses on Britain’s internment camp on the Isle of Man, chock full of artists, musicians and intellectuals. The reader is fully invested in protagonist Peter Fleischmann, an orphaned Jewish boy from Berlin with aspirations to become an artist until the Nazis got in the way. Cue Kindertransport to Britain; but, aged 17 and no longer little enough to be lovable, he was soon rounded up as posing a danger to the very state lauded for saving him.

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