Some of the people who were on the Kindertransport have returned to one of the main arrival points in London 85 years after coming to the UK as refugees.
Led by Chief Rabbi Sir Ephraim Mirvis against the backdrop of the Kinderstranport statue at London’s Liverpool Street Station, a service was held for Kinder and their families.
The Kindertransport ran between November 1938 and September 1939 and rescued approximately 10,000 Jewish children from the clutches of Nazism.
Alexandra Greensted travelled from Prague in 1939 at the age of seven.
Speaking to the JC after the service,which was arranged by the Association of Jewish Refugees (AJR) and World Jewish Relief, Alexandra said: “It is deeply moving to be back at Liverpool Street Station 85-years since the Nazis tore my world apart and I was given the chance of a new life in Great Britain.
"Standing side by side with fellow Kindertransport refugees, I’m filled with gratitude for the brave actions of many and the tens of thousands of lives that were saved and a great sadness for those we had to leave behind.”
The Kinder Transport 85 Anniversary Liverpool St of Kinder Transport 85 Anniversary Liverpool St in London Liverpool Street on 3 12 2023. Photos taken by Adam Soller Photography©
Albert Lester also arrived as a child in 1939, traveling from Hamburg to London Waterloo. He was sent to a boarding school in High Wickham and proudly notes that in his class of 12 Jewish refugees, six became professors and six became engineers.
Albert said the event on Sunday was “a moving service. It is nice to be called ‘inspirationa’l by the Chief Rabbi, but we simply did what we were told when we were children.”
The Chief Rabbi meeting Kinder at the 85th anniversary of the Kindertransport at a service at Liverpool St Station (Photos taken by Adam Soller Photography©)
In December 1938, at the age of seven, Harry Heber arrived in Harwich station. He recalled: “The snow was three feet high, and I spent three days and nights crying.”
Harry said it was “very important” to mark the 85th anniversary, tellimg the JC: “It’s a reminder of what happened to them, you don’t get 6 million Jews murdered by Nazis without antisemitism and now antisemitisim is rising. These things stay with you for a lifetime. The attitude of people who turn to prejudice is completely mystifying.”
Michael Newman, CEO of the AJR said: “Today, we remember the bravery and heroism of the parents who sent their children to safety while their own futures remained uncertain and pay tribute to those children who made unimaginable journeys against the backdrop of oppression, displacement and war. Long may the Kinder have the energy and opportunity to share their important eye-witness accounts which bear witness to where antisemitism can lead.”
Rabbi Jonathan Wittenberg recited The Memorial Prayer for the Martyrs of the Holocaust’ and Lord Eric Pickles, the PM’s Special Envoy for Post-Holocaust Issues, gave an address. Guests heard excerpts from a letter sent by Home Secretary James Cleverly. Ambassadors from Germany, Austria, Sweden and The Netherlands, as well as representatives from the Czech and Polish embassies, were present.
Over 150 guests were present at the service.