Saturday, September 15, 2007

Kinder Transport

Yad Vashem is one of the places young girls aged 18, who for religious reasons do not join the Army, can do their National Service.
They get intensive training preparing them to be guides. As part of the course the girls are given assignments to give a workshop on various subjects.
One day I get a phone call from my friend in Tel Aviv, whom I am working with on preparing a paper about Jews who helped Jews before and during the Holocaust, telling me that she gave my phone number to a young girl who is in need of help to prepare a workshop about Kinder Transport, that I am considered an expert on.

Many days past before the girl called me. Very hesitatingly she enquired if I knew something about Kinder Transport. In turn I asked her what she wanted to know and what she already knew about the subject. Actually nothing she said, she was just given the assignment. She needed it for the next week. The long New Year holiday ahead of us we fixed a date for the following day in afternoon after her lectures.

That same day in the morning I had an appointment in Yad Vashem, introducing Digne Marcowicz, the author of “Massel” a new picture book about the Shoa. She had interviewed and photographed 12 survivors (one of them being myself) and told their stories laced with pictures from than and now. We also showed the book in the pedagogic center.
Just as we were through the young girls workshop came out on a break. I asked for the girl who had phoned me and introduced myself to her. She was pretty astounded but pleased to know whom she will go to in the afternoon. I told her that she could bring a friend along, knowing that it would ease the situation.

About 5 o’clock two girls turned up at my house, one just under 18, the other just turned 18 years of age. We immediately set to work.
Together we checked what they did know about the Jewish situation in Germany and Austria in the prewar period 1938-1939 and putting that into perspective within the boundary of their knowledge. I had prepared a few pictures showing refugee children on their way to England.
The Kinder Transport being the biggest prewar saving action of Jewish children, some 10 000 children, most of them Jewish, having found refuge in England
We went to my computer and together looked at my Power Point Presentation, The Connecting Path, The Story of my Family, that I use when giving testimony to pupils, students or soldiers.
She asked for the printout of it, which has not only the pictures but also the text to each picture and she promised to return it to me. I also gave to her the Hebrew translations of my mother’s letters, which she send to me after I left home with a Kinder Transport at the age of 15.
There is little academic literature available on the subject. To her the whole subject was new.
I wonder how she is geting on with the preparation of her assignment.

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