Sunday, 1 December, 2013

'We were both fortunate to be able to leave Germany on later Kindertransports  but we had to leave our parents behind'
Bob and Ann Kirk, who both travelled to the UK on the Kindertransport 

75 years ago today the first Kindertransport left Berlin
 
Some of the most well known Journeys to escape the Holocaust are those made by approximately 10,000, mostly Jewish children, who were offered sanctuary in Britain. 
 
The Kindertransport or 'child's transport' was a unique humanitarian programme, set up after Kristallnacht - the night where the Nazis initiated their campaign of hatred against Jewish people.  The Kindertransport took children from their homes and families in Germany, Austria and  Czechoslovakia to safety in Great Britain.  
 
When the transport ran from between November 1938 and September 1939, thousands of parents were forced to make the heartwrenching decision to send their children to safety in  the  knowledge that they may never see them again. And many never did.    

Bob and Ann's story

'Ann went first, leaving Berlin in April 1939 when she was just 10 years old. 

She travelled by ship from Hamburg to Southampton and then boarded a train for London.  She arrived at Waterloo Station, wearing a label around her neck and carrying just one small suitcase, and had to wait for her name to be called out.

Bob left Hanover in May 1939, aged 13.  His transport of about 250 children  travelled by train through Germany and Holland, then by ferry to Harwich and finally on another train to Liverpool Street Station There he also waited to hear his name called, with a label around his neck, and sitting on his little suitcase.  Neither of us ever saw our parents again.

We met each other at a club for young Jewish refugees, and we married on 21 May 1950. 

Today we both work to raise awareness of the Holocaust and the experience of the Kindertransport through speaking at activities for Holocaust Memorial Day and throughout the rest of the year.  We have two sons and three wonderful grandchildren.'


Bob and Ann  Kirk at the launch of our resources for Journeys

The theme for Holocaust Memorial Day 2014 is Journeys

 
Are you an educator?
 
The life stories of those who travelled in the UK on the Kindertransport are a great way to introduce the messages of Holocaust Memorial Day to a younger audience.