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Jewish Persecution: Saving the Children: Kindertransport ---Journey to Safety

Updated on January 27, 2020
pstraubie48 profile image

This bench is easy to construct and is portable. It is an excellent spot to enjoy some cool breezes and hear the sounds of nature.

January 27th is Holocaust Rememberance Day...each of us must take a few moments to pause and reflect.

Hoping this little child and no others will have to face inhumane treatment

Source

Whispering to Me Down Through Time...

Whispering in the winds that rustle through the branches as I sit safely on my porch I think I hear:

"Did you know?

Did you hear us and turn a deaf ear?

Were you safe at home with your family?

Were you yet unborn?

Have you been told of what happened to our families and to us?"

In his own words...

Weep not for me

.Weep not for those that we lost.

Weep now because atrocities such as these are still happening today.

Eight decades later.

What prompted my renewed interest in understanding and being more aware of what happened to my Jewish brothers and sisters was a fictional book that I read by the author Danielle Steele.


The novel is entitled Echoes and it was a novel that was a diversion from the type of story she usually tells.

In it she speaks of Kindertransport---a topic about which I had no knowledge.

After I finished that book I went to our town's library to find a book on the topic. There were none in so I had to order one and soon it came. The title was Kindertransport and it was the retelling of one person's experience with this life saving transporting of 10,000 children mainly Jewish to England between 1938 and 1939.

And no I am not Jewish. When I speak of my Jewish brothers and sisters I speak of them that because we are after all one family.

In Search of Answers

After I finished that first book from the library, I knew that I still had gaping holes in my knowledge of this time period and on this topic. So I returned to the library and ordered several more books and a DVD that details this year long event.


As I watched the one DVD tonight a realism washed over me.

Had it not been for Kindertransport and OTC (One Thousand Children) it is very likely that most of the Jewish population in that part of our world would have been totally annihilated which of course was Hitler's wish.

That very thought shook me to my core.


Find Out More

There is so much to know about the treatment of the Jewish people that happened just prior to the beginning of World War II, during, and after as well.

This article will only scratch the surface. Hopefully after reading it, you will find books, DVDs, documents, and living individuals which will fill in the gaping holes in these writings.

The Children

It was decided that children under the age of 16 could travel unaccompanied to England. Someone would take them into their home and would care for them while they were there.

This life saving transporting of children was known as Kindertransport (kinder meaning children ). It was begun just after the Kristallnacht---the night of the broken glass which was destruction of Jewish property, breaking store front windows, doors, and strewing property in the street. This was orchestrated and carried out by German authorities.

Everyone was in agreement it was time for the kindertransport to begin. Danger was so real and palpable. They could wait no longer.

A Tag Similar to This One was Placed Around Each Child's Neck

One like it was attached to their suitcase.
One like it was attached to their suitcase. | Source

Preparing for the Journey

The agreement was that a sponsor would promise to be responsible for this child for as long as was necessary.

Children were transported to Palestine and to England during the Kindertransport reportedly 14,000 children were taken to safety. (The number of children does vary from source to source. But the point is there were many.)

The families, children and the parents of these children were told that as soon as there was no longer any danger to them, they would be returned to their families.

When the children were readied to make the trip to England they were allowed one suitcase and were allowed to bring out of Austria nothing of value.

A tag with a number on it was hung around their neck and a similar one placed on their suitcase.



Frightened Children


On at least one of the train rides the children had a most harrowing experience.They had traveled some distance on their journey when the train stopped.

Onto the train came fearsome looking German soldiers.

They began opening some of the suitcases of the children no doubt leaving the contents strewn about the area. Needlessly, these same soldiers screamed at and frightened the children.


Obviously the children were quite shaken by this occurrence. Imagine if you can how they must have felt.

They were already snatched away from their parents not really understanding why they had been forced to leave especially the youngest ones. They are traveling to somewhere away from their families and then on board comes the frightening individuals shouting and ordering them about.

Tragedy on top of tragedy. Insult to injury I would submit.

Children Helping Their Parents

The stories that those that were children of the kindertransport experience are at once inspriing and riveting.

Many of those very young children had been asked by their parents before they left home to try to find them a job so that they could follow them to their new home. And many of those young children did all they could to try to bring their parents to be near them.


Some would go door to door asking if help was needed. They would explain what a helpful addition to their household they would be: sewing, doing carpentry work, cleaning, any chores that needed to be done.

Some made up letters and hand delivered them around the neighborhood.


The good news is that as a result of the efforts of some of these children their parents were brought out of harm's way and they were reunited with their children.


A New Day Dawned...Bittersweet for Many...

Source

Bittersweet Reunion

One young boy, Kurt, at age seven left home as part of Kindertransport.

He remained with the woman and man who had become his 'family' till he was age 16. Miraculously his parents survived and he was to go live with them.

He did not want to go. He did not know them. They of course thought they knew him but all of this time had passed and they really did not. What a bittersweet reunion.

Filled with elation at seeing him for the first time in all of those years, his father ran his fingers through his curly hair. Kurt hit his dad as a way to rebuff the touch. The 'father' he had lived with for those nine years told him never to do such a thing again.

While he did not want to go with them, he did go. They had a very hard time of it.

Even as an adult his sadness and longing for his 'adopted' family was evident.

He did say that -that he knew how fortunate he was but it had been very difficult.

Remain STRONG

A story that tore at me was the one told by a now grown woman.

It had come the time for her to travel on the train. She had gotten on and was waving at her family. The window was lowered so that she and others could lean out and hold hands with their family till it was time for it to leave the station.


Her father kept hold of her hand even after the train began to move and she asked him to let go. He could not move very fast as he walked with a cane. He did not let go and she was pulled from the train. She could have fallen under it but thankfully did not. Bruised and bleeding but in the arms of her father, she remained with them.

At age 20 she was down to 58 pounds after having been in eight concentration camps.

Her main concern, her mantra I would imagine, was to remain STRONG. She committed herself to making it to the END...no matter what the end would be.

Alexander Gordon

The recounting of the experience of Alexander Gordon touched me profoundly.

At age 3 his father died. Not too long after that his mother had to go away to work. That left him an orphan. Someone advised him to register to take the train to England. He did so and remained there till he was 16.

At age 16 all of the young people who had traveled to their country became internees. Plans were made to deport them

Alexander among a group of 2500 (double the capacity allowed for their ship) were forced onto the ship. Those who did so were holding guns which had bayonets on them.

They were on the HMT Danera. It set sail and a German U boat spied them and torpedoed it. the torpedo hit the ship but was deflected!! It did NOT explode!!

The ship finally landed in Australia after two months. He along with his fellow passengers were almost starved to death. They had little to eat or drink for two months!!

They were given a box of food as soon as they came off the ship.

Alexander said, with exuberance, "That was the best food I ever ate. Two cheese sandwiches, an apple, and a banana. And there were second helpings. The best food I ate in my whole life!!"


He said he realized then that he was destined to survive.

"Not for myself he said but so that Jews would survive. And when I look at my children and grandchildren I know there was a purpose for my life". Those words were spoken with much emotion.


This is Not Just Data: These were Living, Breathing Souls

Name of Camp
Type of Camp
Location
Liberated/liquidated
Estimate of Number who Were Murdered
Auschwitz
CONCENTRATION/EXTERMINATION
Oswiecim, Poland
Liberated in 1945 by Soviets
1, 100, 000
Belzec
EXTERMINATION
Belzec, Poland
Liquidated by Nazis in 1942
600, 000
Chelmno
EXTERMINATION
Chelmno, Poland
Closed by Nazis in 1943/reopend in 1933 liquidated in 1944 (July) by Nazis
320, 000
Maidanek
CONCENTRATION/EXTERMINATION
Lublin, Poland
Liberated in 1944 by Soviets
360, 000
Sobibor
EXTERMINATION
Sobibor, Poland
Liberated in 1944 by Soviets
250, 000
Theresienstadt
CONCENTRATION
Near Prague, Czech Republic
Liberated in 1944 by Soviets
33, 000

According to the source I used there were 27 of these places....this shows only a portion of that number.

Why the Data was Included

As I read about the children's escape to freedom, I could not help but think of the Exodus that I had read about in the Bible.This was an Exodus too.

And how thankful we are that there were those who intervened to make it happen.

As I was thinking about and recording what I have read recently, my mind kept returning to the homeland from which the children fled.

Their fathers and mothers were being wrenched from their homes and carried off to be confined or exterminated. Some, not many, but some were able to flee this nightmare of destruction that had been inflicted upon them.

The data on table was included because I felt we needed to know the numbers. The numbers shown are only a small fraction of those who lost their lives.

As I typed in the numbers and it was rounded off to an even number my hands shook. Because even to omit one person in the 'count' of how many perished is a HUGE error. That one person could have been my Aunt, my Uncle, my niece, sister, mother, father. It could have been your relative or friend. Putting it in that context it was difficult to put numbers on the table for fear that someone was forgotten.

And one thing we must never do is forget.

"You Can't Stop at Remembering..."

There was so much I did not know. So much I still do not know about this time in our history. I know there are many who are here who will read this who can add so much to what I consider only a cursory glance at this topic.

And today horrid inhumanity to man and woman and child persists.

When we hear others say if they had one wish what would it be...and many respond: world peace.

And some of them are being sarcastic.

But really, wouldn't it be wonderful? To pick up the paper and read only of goodness and calm...I know it is idealistic but we can never give up the hope that one day perhaps that could be true.

After completing this learning experience about a topic I knew nothing, I realize it again falls to me and you to try to make a difference however we can.

Many of the survivors who are alive largely due to Kindertransport have said that when they hear of refugees in today's world they know they cannot help them all. But they can help some of them at least.

. They do this for many reasons but one is because there are so many they cannot repay that helped them all of those years ago.


"You can't stop at remembering, " one survivor said. "You have to do something."

Sources

DV---Into the Arms of Strangers

Kindertransport Olga Levey Drucker

Remember Me Irene Watts

Rescuing the Children Deborah Hodge

The Children of Willesden Lane Mona Golabek

Ten Thousand children, true storeis told by children who escaped the Holocaust on Kindertransport Anne Fox

The Tiger in the Attic: Memories of the Kindertransport and Growing up English Edith Milton

Saving Children from the Holocaust Ann Byers


Throw Your Feet Over Your Shoulders: Beyond the Kindertransport Frieda Stolzberg Korobkin


© 2014 Patricia Scott

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    • pstraubie48 profile imageAUTHOR

      Patricia Scott 

      6 years ago from North Central Florida

      I know Ruby Jean. As I prepared this article, the more I read the more I could only shake my head and cry. It was such a horrid time and the really sad thing is that so much horror similar to this is happening today.

      Writing this article was one that was life changing...I knew so little till I went on this journey.

      Thank you for visiting Angels are on the way to you this morning ps

    • always exploring profile image

      Ruby Jean Richert 

      6 years ago from Southern Illinois

      I must tell you that this brought tears. What a horrible time in the history of mankind. I can't believe that other countries must have known, yet did nothing. The Jewish people have suffered so much. Why do some hate them? I will never understand. Hitler was an evil man with many followers. I read that the fine art owned by the richer Jews was stolen and is just now being returned to them. Thank you much for this informative piece. We must never forget least it happen again....

    • pstraubie48 profile imageAUTHOR

      Patricia Scott 

      6 years ago from North Central Florida

      Yes peachpurple How tragic it was that that happened. Lives and relationships torn apart not able to be repaired. And this kind of atrocity exists even today. When will it end??

      Angels are on the way to you once again this morning ps

    • peachpurple profile image

      peachy 

      6 years ago from Home Sweet Home

      Awesome hub, ut is sad yet interesting that the child who was separated from his oarents to be reunited yet not close at all. Felt the pain. Thanks for sharing my hub.

    • pstraubie48 profile imageAUTHOR

      Patricia Scott 

      6 years ago from North Central Florida

      You are so right. The atrocities that occurred should not have and yet they did and still do as we speak. It is heartbreaking and gut wrenching.

      Will it ever end?

      Angels are winging their way to you and to all of those who need special blessings today ps

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 

      6 years ago from Houston, Texas

      This was such a terrible time in history and should never be forgotten. It is awful what is happening today in many places around the world right now. It seems that man's inhumanity to man knows no bounds in some instances. It is sad reading or watching the news these days. Right minded people and angels have their work cut out for them! Sharing this and hope you have your angels surrounding you today.

    • pstraubie48 profile imageAUTHOR

      Patricia Scott 

      6 years ago from North Central Florida

      O I cannot imagine. It is probably a cathartic experience for him Is he 90? I hope he has a chance to share this story which all of us should read.

      Angels are on the way to you this morning breaktastpop ps

    • pstraubie48 profile imageAUTHOR

      Patricia Scott 

      6 years ago from North Central Florida

      Yes similar things are still happening as we 'speak.' And it seems to be endless ...it breaks my heart especially for the children...children who are soldiers at eight and nine years old, and, or, orphaned and left alone to find their way.

      It saddens me and I continue to pray about this each day.

      angels are on the way to you today ps

    • pstraubie48 profile imageAUTHOR

      Patricia Scott 

      6 years ago from North Central Florida

      It was such a wonderful thing in the long run for the precious children as they were removed from what was to come. Losing family ...unimaginable..the pain and fear and sorrow...the whole nightmare time in the history of this planet is horrendous.

      Angels are on the way to you Lady Guinevere. ps

    • aesta1 profile image

      Mary Norton 

      6 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      I don't know how many novels by now I have read on this but it still continues to tug my heart. This is still happening, maybe not to Jews, but to many others in different parts of the world. We seem not to remember.

    • breakfastpop profile image

      breakfastpop 

      6 years ago

      Thank you for this most important hub. This is a story that needed to be told. My uncle fled Belgium by boat with his immediate family. The rest of the family stayed behind. His boat was torpedoed on the way to England. He survived, but those that stayed behind all perished in the camps. He is 9 years old and is writing the story of his life which goes into great detail about the horror of the Nazis and the wonderful people who at great personal risk helped the Jewish people. Voted up, useful, interesting and totally awesome.

    • Lady Guinevere profile image

      Debra Allen 

      6 years ago from West By God

      This is so horrible about how people treat people and the young just....awful.

    • pstraubie48 profile imageAUTHOR

      Patricia Scott 

      6 years ago from North Central Florida

      I DO make mistakes as I have a difficult time seeing on here. I do not appreciate a sarcastic remark. There are nice ways to tell someone of errors. I thought this was so important of a topic that I needed t. o share it

    • frantisek78 profile image

      frantisek78 

      6 years ago

      It would be nice if you could do the locations the honor of spelling them correctly on your table. The correct spellings are "Auschwitz" and "Oswiencim" and not "Aushwitz"and "Osciecin" as u have written. Thanks.

    • pstraubie48 profile imageAUTHOR

      Patricia Scott 

      7 years ago from North Central Florida

      Hi Suzanne I know. It was a horrid time. I am just so thankful that so many reached out and tried to help.

      This should not happen and yet horrible things continue to happen.

      Angels are on the way to you today ps

    • Suzanne Day profile image

      Suzanne Day 

      7 years ago from Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

      This is so sad. I hadn't heard of kinderstransport at all, but my heart breaks for all those children who went to be saved, only to find that their families had changed and lost people during this time. Heartbreaking.

    • pstraubie48 profile imageAUTHOR

      Patricia Scott 

      7 years ago from North Central Florida

      It is Ron...and the young girl who was by the not a young girl any longer told the story with such passion...I cried and cried at man's inhumanity to man just as I have cried over the way people were turned into slaves in our American history. It is gutwrenching and heart breaking.

      Angels are on the way to you this morning thank you for stopping by. ps

    • RonElFran profile image

      Ronald E Franklin 

      7 years ago from Mechanicsburg, PA

      I had not heard of this before. How harrowing it must have been. The picture you draw of of a father who couldn't bring himself to let go of his child's hand even as the train was bearing her away is almost unbearably sad. Thanks for helping to bring this to light.

    • pstraubie48 profile imageAUTHOR

      Patricia Scott 

      7 years ago from North Central Florida

      Hi DDE It gave me one more reason to try to help others.

      thank you for stopping by, DDE

      Angels are on the way to you today ps

    • pstraubie48 profile imageAUTHOR

      Patricia Scott 

      7 years ago from North Central Florida

      hi Peggy

      Thank you for stopping by. This just was a story I needed to share.

      I imagine many knew it already but it is something we need to share.

      Angels are on the way to you ps

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 

      7 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      Jewish Persecution: Saving the Children: Kindertransport ---Journey to Safety and till today this is still going on is very sad you have created an informative and an eye-opener indeed.

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 

      7 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Pamela,

      We must NEVER forget! Terrific hub!

    • pstraubie48 profile imageAUTHOR

      Patricia Scott 

      7 years ago from North Central Florida

      Yes Ann

      It is something that we should never have happen again and still today in 2014 it is still happening.

      It breaks my heart but I am so thankful for those who reached out to these children .

      Angels are on the way to you this morning ps

    • annart profile image

      Ann Carr 

      7 years ago from SW England

      This is indeed an amazing story. I saw it documented on the television not so long ago.

      It's a terrible ordeal for any child to be forced to leave its parents. The parents themselves must have been heart-broken but of course they were trying to do the best for their offspring.

      Sadly, yes, it still happens, whatever the cause. Children are abused, neglected and worse. We all need to be aware and we all need to try to do our bit to protect them.

      Great hub, well documented and explained, backed by thorough research. Well done. Ann

    • pstraubie48 profile imageAUTHOR

      Patricia Scott 

      7 years ago from North Central Florida

      hi Pamela

      Thank you for stopping by. This was just such an eye opening experience to me...I learned so much and found there is still so much to learn.

      Angels are on the way to you today ps

    • Pamela99 profile image

      Pamela Oglesby 

      7 years ago from Sunny Florida

      This is an extremely interesting and well-written hub. I learned a lot more details that I had not known before. The harm that was done to so many people is hartbreaking, and we should never forget what happened. They are erasing so many things from the history books, and I thank you for writing this hub as it is a sober reminder of that part of history.

      God Bless you.

    • pstraubie48 profile imageAUTHOR

      Patricia Scott 

      7 years ago from North Central Florida

      It was such an awakening for me, Randi. I knew of the horror but I did not know of the goodness that came out of this time period.

      If only we could stop it forever.

      Nice to see you today...I hope all is well with you and your family.

      Angels are on the way ps

    • btrbell profile image

      Randi Benlulu 

      7 years ago from Mesa, AZ

      What an all important and well written hub. Thank you for sharing this!

    • pstraubie48 profile imageAUTHOR

      Patricia Scott 

      7 years ago from North Central Florida

      tirelesstraveler You are so right...I cried oceans as I watched the videoes and listened to the stories from the pages of the books that were written about this time.

      Be Strong...absolutely..and she was.

      Angels are on the way to you ps

    • tirelesstraveler profile image

      Judy Specht 

      7 years ago from California

      "Be Strong", we need to take some wisdom from these children. Children are strong, they are not fragile as our government leads us to believe.

      Beautiful work.

      The ad at the bottom is for tissue. Between my cold and the sadness of this hub the ad is very well placed.

    • pstraubie48 profile imageAUTHOR

      Patricia Scott 

      7 years ago from North Central Florida

      hi breakfastpop

      you are so right...so many stories yet untold and we need to know all of them. this has been quite a journey for me...learning of the kindness that was shown by strangers who took in these children ...but such sorrow that it ever had to happen.

      Angels are on the way to you this morning ps

    • pstraubie48 profile imageAUTHOR

      Patricia Scott 

      7 years ago from North Central Florida

      Hi Faith

      I hope all is well with and yours. I think of you often but time gets away from me and I don't check in with you.

      I am still trying to take all of this in...it was such a wonderful thing to know so many reached out to help save these children but so sad that it was necessary.

      Angels and hugs and blessings on the way to you and yours ps

    • pstraubie48 profile imageAUTHOR

      Patricia Scott 

      7 years ago from North Central Florida

      Hi Thanks for stopping by. This just weighed heavily on me so I knew it was a topic I must address. I am still shaking my head at man's inhumanity to man, woman, child.

      Angels are on the way to you this morning ps

    • pstraubie48 profile imageAUTHOR

      Patricia Scott 

      7 years ago from North Central Florida

      Hi Thanks for stopping by. This just weighed heavily on me so I knew it was a topic I must address. I am still shaking my head at man's inhumanity to man, woman, child.

      Angels are on the way to you this morning ps

    • pstraubie48 profile imageAUTHOR

      Patricia Scott 

      7 years ago from North Central Florida

      So nice to see you Eric.... we can make a difference for any of the children who are suffering today we are making inroads into the horror so many face.

      Thank you for stopping by, Angels are on the way ps

    • pstraubie48 profile imageAUTHOR

      Patricia Scott 

      7 years ago from North Central Florida

      O, My Friend bill

      I did not know of this...it saddened me to know these children had to leave the only family to go to live in another country not really understanding why. But I am so thankful to all of those unsung heroes who took in these children.

      Angels are winging their way to you today my friend. ps

    • Faith Reaper profile image

      Faith Reaper 

      7 years ago from southern USA

      Wow, dear PS, what an extraordinary hub here full of powerful facts as to the kindertransport experience ! Those children were so very brave indeed and desiring to continue to help their parents. Thank you for writing on this subject, as I was not aware of these children and the kindertransport experience.

      Up and more and sharing

      Hugs and Angels your way always

      Faith Reaper

    • breakfastpop profile image

      breakfastpop 

      7 years ago

      Thank you for this exquisitely written important hub. We must never forget what happened. What we must do is keep the memory alive and keep up our vigilance. That is the price of freedom. There are still so many stories left to be told. I intend to share this hub with all my followers. Voted up, useful, interesting and oh so important.

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 

      7 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Extraordinary. A great article on a subject well worth learning about. The Children are everything.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      7 years ago from Olympia, WA

      I was vaguely aware of this but thank you for a much more detailed accounting of it.

      We must remember...and yet we don't. We ignore the genocide that is happening this very day in several countries around the world. I will never understand people, PS. They fascinate me, they give me great joy and love, and they disappoint me almost daily.

      We must remember...true words my friend.

      blessings, hugs and love from Olympia

      bill

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