A special interest group of the AJR, the Kindertransport represent the children who fled Nazi-controlled Germany, Austria and Czechoslovakia between 1938 and 1939 and prior to the start of the Second World War.
The Kindertransport management also arrange regular activities and outings and members receive the quarterly KT Newsletter (click here for recent editions). For more details about the activities of the Kindertransport please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Following the closure of the AJR Centre at Belsize Square Synagogue, from April 2014 the Kinder Lunches will be held at Alyth Synagogue (North Western Reform Synagogue) Alyth Gardens, London NW11 7EN.
For catering purposes, we will need to know in advance if you plan to attend, so please let Andrea Goodmaker know if you can come along by emailing her at email@example.com or by calling 020 8385 3070.
75th anniversary commemorations
The Last Train to Tomorrow
The Association of Jewish Refugees (AJR) was deeply honoured to welcome His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales as our special guest at the London premiere of The Last Train to Tomorrow at the Roundhouse on Sunday 9 November.
Commissioned by the Halle Orchestra, The Last Train to Tomorrow tells the extraordinary story of the Kindertransport through a sequence of ten songs that was composed and conducted by the internationally acclaimed artist Carl Davis and performed by The Finchley Children’s Music Group.
The event also featured The Marriage of Figaro Overture by Mozart and Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto. The music was performed by City of London Sinfonia together with Louisa Staples, a young violin soloist from The Yehudi Menuhin School.
Natasha Kaplinksy, the newsreader and television presenter, and member of Prime Minister David Cameron’s Holocaust Commission, introduced the event. As 9 November marked the anniversary of Kristallnacht, the concert began with a dedication given by Rabbi Jonathan Wittenberg together with six Kinder lighting memorial candles. Among the honoured guests were Lord Dubs - himself a Kind who fled Czechoslovakia - and representatives of the Ambassadors of Germany, Austria and the Czech Republic.
The devastation of Kristallnacht led to the mass emigration of Jews from Germany and Austria and persuaded the British government to create the Kindertransport, through which some 10,000 children, aged between three and 17, found refuge in Britain from Nazi oppression.
The premiere concluded the series of events that The AJR has organised in recent months to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the Kindertransport.
The symbolism of the anniversary of Kristallnacht and that the Roundhouse was formerly a turning point for trains and is located near Swiss Cottage, the area in London where many of the escaping refugees settled, helped make the concert memorable and historic.
AJR Chairman Andrew Kaufman and Chairman of the AJR-Kindertransport Speical Iinterest group, Sir Erich Reich, said: “The AJR was deeply honoured and enormously proud that The Prince of Wales personally decided to honour us with his presence. Having met Kinder at events to mark the 70th and 75th anniversaries of the Kindertransport, we feel very privileged that he could be part of this historic occasion."
To see pictures taken by the event photographer Blake Ezra click here and to view photos shot by the father of one of the girls in the choir click here (any reproductions must be fully credited).
Given the popularity of the souvenir brochure that was available at the concert, the AJR is to issue a reprint. If you would like a copy, please send a cheque for £5 to the AJR, Jubilee House, Merrion Avenue, Stanmore, Middx HA7 4RL.
We were delighted to organise a series of events throughout 2013 to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the creation of the Kindertransport.
St James's Palace reception and reunion at JFS
We were deeply honoured to enjoy the generous hospitality of His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales at a fabulous reception at St James's Palace on Monday 24 June.
AJR members, including several from overseas, were thrilled with the opportunity to meet and chat to Prince Charles and to continue the conversations they had at the Kindertransport reunion that took place at the JFS the day earlier when we were thrilled to welcome nearly 600 guests.
As part of the programme at JFS, guests heard from the former Foreign Secretary, the Rt Hon David Miliband, whose parents were refugees from Nazi oppression, and the comedienne and actress Maureen Lipman, who starred in The Pianist. As part of the proceedings, JFS pupils performed a re-enactment of the debate in the House of Commons that precipitated the creation of the Kindertransport and the JFS choir sang a selection of evocative songs.
Guests also heard from Baroness Hanham, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government and from the UK Envoy for Post Holocaust Issues, Sir Andrew Burns.
Rabbi Jonathan Wittenberg, whose grandfather Dr Georg Salzberger was the Rabbi of the Westend Synagogue in Frankfurt am Main, the interior of which was destroyed on Kristallnacht, and Rev. Bernd Koschland, a member of the KT planning committee, led a service of remembrance and guests had the opportunity to view the Wiener Library's new exhibition, Child Refugees: Five Portraits from the Kindertransport.
Above all there was a unique opportunity for Kinder to socialise and renew acquaintances and to introduce old friends to their children and grandchildren.
Kindertransport Reunion DVD
We are delighted to announce that a special commemorative DVD with footage of the Kindertransport Reunion at JFS and the reception with His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales at St James’s Palace is now available for purchase.
Filmed and produced by Alan Reich, the DVD will serve as a poignant memorial to the two historic gatherings of Kinder and their families that took place in June 2013 as part of the events the AJR organised to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the Kindertransport.
To receive your copy, (£5 incl. packing and postage, unless overseas), please call Andrea Goodmaker
on 020 8385 3070 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Rededication of the plaque and commemorative Tea in Parliament
We were delighted to organise a special gathering on 20 November 2013 to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the debate in Parliament that led to the creation of the Kindertransport.
The event began with a special ceremony to rededicate the commemorative plaque erected in June 1999 in gratitude of Parliament’s decision of 21 November 1938 to create the Kindertransport. In paying tribute to the Kinder, current Speaker of the House, Rt Hon John Bercow MP, reflected on his own family’s migration to Britain and the huge strides that have been made in the protection of human rights since the Holocaust. Also present at the rededication ceremony were Baroness Betty Boothroyd, who was The Speaker when the plaque was installed, and Lord Alf Dubs, himself a Kind, who was rescued by Sir Nicholas Winton.
Following the rededication, some 60 Kinder then joined Lord Dubs and Baroness Boothroyd for a celebratory Tea in the Strangers Dining Room and the chance to socialise and reminisce. There was even a chance reunion as the wife of the couple who had travelled from the US for the event happened to be sitting next to a lady who had come over to Britain on the same Kindertransport from Germany.
Welcoming fellow Kinder, Sir Erich Reich, Chairman of the AJR Kindertransport Committee, made reference to the pivotal role played by Philip Noel-Baker, the member of Parliament who initiated the debate on 21 November 1938 following the events of Kristallnacht with the words, “I beg to move, That this House notes with profound concern the deplorable treatment suffered by certain racial, religious and political minorities in Europe, and, in view of the growing gravity of the refugee problem would welcome an immediate concerted effort amongst the nations, including the United States of America, to secure a common policy.”
Sir Erich said, “This special occasion gives us cause to celebrate but also to recognise the significance of the debate that led to our rescue for which we, and our families, will be eternally grateful.”
Click here for pictures
Liverpool Street station
To round off the year, World Jewish Relief, in conjunction with the AJR, arranged a memorial service at Liverpool Street Station on Sunday 1 December to mark the 75th anniversary of the arrival of the first Kindertransport on 2 December 1938 of a group of children from an orphanage in Berlin.
Hook of Holland statue
Supported by the Association of Jewish Refugees (AJR), a statue dedicated to the Kindertransport was unveiled at a moving ceremony in the Hook of Holland in November 2011. Designed by internationally acclaimed sculptor Frank Meisler, Channel Crossing to Life, commemorates the role played by Dutch people in helping to save the lives of Jewish children fleeing Nazi oppression.
Kinder who now live in Germany, Switzerland, USA and Israel as well as a group of 15 AJR members from the UK, joined school children from the Hook of Holland, who carried lanterns lighting the path to the statue and presented Kinder with roses.
After speeches from Frank Meisler and the Mayor of Rotterdam, Ahmed Aboutaleb, Sir Erich Reich, Chairman of the AJR Kindertransport committee, gave thanks to the Dutch people who helped ensure the safe passage of the children to Britain. Speaking ahead of the unveiling Sir Erich said, “This statue is a fitting memorial dedicated to all those who perished at the hands of the Nazis and will be a permanent reminder of the continuing need to fight intolerance, racism and anti-Semitism”.
Guests at the unveiling included the Vice President of the Bundestag, Petra Pau, and the families of Kinder including their children, grandchildren and great grandchildren.
The date of the unveiling was also symbolic, marking the eve of the 73rd anniversary of the first Kindertransport that left Europe.
Frank Meisler has also created statues commemorating the Kindertransport at Liverpool Street station in London, at Gdansk in Poland and at Berlin's Friedrichstrasse station.
AJR member Professor Leslie Baruch Brent, who attended the unveiling, gave an address at the opening of the plenary of the Task Force for International Cooperation on Holocaust Education, Remembrance and Research which was meeting in The Hague the same week.
Kindertransport Survey ‘Making New Lives in Britain’ completed
A unique survey entitled ‘Making New Lives in Britain’ has recorded the Continental background, journey to Britain, reception and subsequent experiences of 1,025 (some 11%) of the almost 10,000 predominantly Jewish children of the Kindertransport. The survey was conceived and its contents designed by leading members of the AJR’s Kindertransport special interest group. For more information click here
Liverpool Street station statue
in association with World Jewish Relief (WJR) we were delighted to arrange for a commemorative sculpture in honour of the Kindertransport to be located at Liverpool Street Station.
Unveiled in September 2006, the bronze sculpture, designed by the renowned Israeli artist and former Kindertransport refugee Frank Meisler, will be surrounded by 16 milestones each bearing the name of a city from where the Kindertransports departed.
Andrew Kaufman, Chairman of the Association of Jewish Refugees (AJR) said, “We are delighted to be the principal benefactor in this important project to commemorate the lives of the youngest victims of Nazism. The statue also pays tribute to the vital role Britain played in saving thousands of children from certain death and serves as a timely reminder of the need to remain vigilant of intolerance and prejudice.”
To read the article that appeared in the Jewish Chronicle click here
The Plaque below was unveiled by the Speaker of the House of Commons,
Betty Boothroyd, in the Palace of Westminster on 14 June 1999.