A Holocaust survivor is a person who was displaced, persecuted, and/or discriminated against by the racial, religious, ethnic, and political policies of the Nazis and their allies. The Kindertransport children are child Holocaust survivors.
The Kindertransport saved only 10,000 children, a small number compared to the million and a half children who perished, yet it has its importance. The children were able to go to a friendly country not through luck, contacts or subterfuge, but through the will of the British people as expressed by their representatives in Parliament. This demonstrates that, even in the worst of times, actions can be taken to save lives.
The Kindertransports are but a small part of Holocaust History, but an important one. We were spared the horrors of the death camps, but we were uprooted, separated from our parents, and transported to a different culture where we faced not the unmitigated horror of the death camps, but a very human mixture of kindness, indifference, occasional exploitation, and the selflessness of ordinary people faced with needy children.
The most immediate consequence was that we survived; had we stayed in Germany, Austria or Czechoslovakia, we would have perished in the Nazi death camps. Furthermore, those parents who sent their children away had a better chance of surviving, either hidden, or by making their way to other countries. However, the majority did not survive and were killed in the concentration camps.
Most of us Kinder became productive citizens of whatever country we eventually settled in. Among us are at least one Nobel Prize winner, a very well known screen writer, a costume designer for stage and screen (she turned Dustin Hoffman into a woman in “Tootsie”), scientists, writers, doctors, artists, philanthropists, etc.
The majority of the children, especially those who lost their entire families, stayed in Great Britain. Those who had family members in other countries frequently joined them. In addition to those who went to the United States, many went to Israel, some to Australia, and we even have one member in Nepal! Very few Jews returned to Germany or Austria after the war.
There were a few children who were not Jewish. Hitler persecuted “non-Aryans,” and political radicals (usually communists), as well as gypsies and gays.
The majority did keep their Jewish faith. Even when children where cared for by Christians, rabbis visited them and stayed in touch. However, some did convert to the religion of their British hosts, and a few eventually reconverted to Judaism. A play, Kindertransport, by Diane Samuels, treats the issue of such a case.
Yes. Most of our members are willing to talk about their experiences, and many give public talks on the subject. Kinder and members of the Second and 3rd generations are available to speak both in person, and remotely. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org.