All My Loved Ones: Kindertransport

Figure 1.-- Here we see David at the train station in Prague ready to be sent with other refugee Jewish children to England. He has his transport number and is surrounded by his adoring family. He wears a dark, rather grown-up suit with long trousers. He has been given the long trousers by his father as a reward for building up his physical stamina and winning a family race. David is delighted to be rid of short pants and long stockings (or knee socks).

David Leaves on the Kindertransport

Many of the children, especially the younger ones, did not fully understand what was happening with the Kindertranport. They were too hyoung to fully understand the dangers. Some were terrified of leaving their parents. Some condidered it a gran adventure. Think what it must have been like for the parents to send their children off in to the unknown. Here we see David at the train station wearing his transport number, surrounded by his adoring family.


Some of the last Jews to escape Germany and Czechoslovakia were the children brought out through the Kindertransport. This was the transport of Jewish children out of Austria, Czecheslovakia, and Germany mostly during the summer of 1939. The British Government, horrified at the outburst of violence in Kristallnacht agreed to eased immigration restrictions for certain of Jewish refugees. Two charitable groups help organize the program: the British Committee for the Jews of Germany and the Movement for the Care of Children from Germany. Together these groups persuaded the British government to permit children under the age of 17 to enter Britain from Germany and German-occupied territories (at the time what used to be Austria and the Czecheslovakia). About 10,000 children were saved--the largest group of children to be saved from the NAZIs. Most were aided by Jewish charitable organizations, but Quakers and other groups also helped. The experience was traumatic for the children, especially the younger ones, who did not understand why they were being separated from their parents. The children had to say a final goodbye to their parents and families for a long train journey to England and numerous checks by NAZI authorities. Most were never reunited with their families who were murdered in the NAZI death camps. The older children were put up on hostels, many of the younger children were adopted.


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Created: 2:53 AM 10/31/2005
Last updated: 6:57 PM 10/31/2005