Polish Kindertransport memorial restored to its Gdansk city centre site

Statue by city boy who fled on last children’s train in 1939 is rededicated in special ceremony


Gdańsk. Powrót w przestrzeń publiczną Pomnika Kindertransportów

The Kindertransport monument in the Polish city of Gdansk, which had been in storage since 2019, has been restored to its former position in front of the central station.

Its return was marked by a ceremony this week attended by the mayor, Aleksandra Dulkiewicz, and Israel’s ambassador to Poland, Jacov Livne.

The monument, first unveiled in 2009, had been removed to make way for station renovations. It depicts children of different ages -- three girls and two boys -- standing with their luggage waiting for their train’s departure.

It is one of five such monuments by Israeli sculptor Frank Meisler, who was himself saved by the Kindertransport. The others stand in or near railway stations in London (unveiled in 2006), Berlin (2008), Rotterdam (2011) and Hamburg (2015). 

The figures who board the train in Gdansk are the same as featured getting off the train at Liverpool Street Station in London.

Also attending the ceremony were members of the Association of Jewish Refugees (AJR), Kinder descendants and members of the International Auschwitz Council.

Danny Kalman, AJR’s Kindertransport chair, said the monument “serves as a permanent reminder to both the bravery and heroism of the parents who sent their children to safety while their own futures remained uncertain, and to the altruism and human kindness of those who took in the youngest victims of Nazi oppression.

“This statue is also a stark warning, about the dangers of antisemitism and what happens when rampant nationalism and fascism go unchecked. But above all, it pays tribute to those children who made unimaginable journeys against the backdrop of displacement and persecution and war.”

Between May 3 and August 25, 1939, four Kindertransport trains left Gdansk, saving 130 children. By September 1, 1939, some 10,000 children had arrived in London from cities across war-torn Europe.

Meisler, who died in 2018 at the age of 92, was born in Gdansk in 1925 and boarded the last Kindertransport. His parents were murdered in Asuchwitz.

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