I said, 'Auf Wiedersehen'

85 years of Kindertransport to Great Britain

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85 years ago, over 10,000 mostly Jewish children had to say goodbye to their families. It was a farewell that enabled the children to escape Nazi persecution. They arrived in Great Britain on the so-called Kindertransport in 1938/39 and were placed in foster families or shared accommodation. Parents and children hoped that they would soon be reunited.

I said, 'Auf Wiedersehen'

The initiative to save mainly Jewish children and young people from National Socialist persecution is the focus of the exhibition I said, 'Auf Wiedersehen' in the Paul-Löbe-Haus of the German Bundestag from 31.01. - 23.02.24. The exhibition presents selected letters from five Jewish families - five documents are shown in the original. Each document conveys an aspect of the painful separation of parents and children. The letters provide an insight into the ambivalent emotions of the parents left behind in the Nazi state, who vacillate between the hope of a reunion and the fear of permanent separation.

© Courtesy of Raymond Gilbert

Farewell: Ursula Brann

Ursula Brann came to England on the Kindertransport in 1939. In an autobiographical interview (2007), she reads ten of her father Ferdinand's guiding principles from a prayer book. She received this as a gift from him when she said goodbye. The book was lost after her death. Ursula's parents and her sister remained in Berlin until 1943 and were eventually deported to Auschwitz and murdered. Ursula remained in London for the rest of her life. She died in 2015.

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© AJR Refugee Voices Archive/Association of Jewish Refugees
© The Vienna Holocaust Library Collections

New home: Ilse Majer

Ilse Majer was sent on a Kindertransport from Vienna to England in 1939 when she was ten years old. The correspondence between Ilse's parents Berthold and Lilly Majer and her foster parents gives an insight into Ilse's new world: friendships, language, intellectual development.

In June 1942, Ilse's parents were deported to the Izbica ghetto in Poland and later murdered. Ilse remained in England until she died in 2003.

© Yad Vashem, with kind permission of Henry Foner

Alienation: Heinz Lichtwitz

In February 1939, Heinz Lichtwitz escaped at the age of six on a Kindertransport to Wales. Heinz took the name Henry Foner and almost completely lost his mother tongue within a few months. The cards express his father's love, but also his concern about his son's alienation. ‍

Max Lichtwitz was deported to Auschwitz in December 1942 and murdered. Henry Foner is now 90 years old and lives in Jerusalem.

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© The Vienna Holocaust Library Collections

Longing: Gerda Stein

Gerda Stein arrived in England on a children's transport in March 1939. She lived there with Trevor Chadwick, who helped organize her transport and rescued many other children from Czechoslovakia. Her father Arnold sent his daughter letters with drawings, Gerda's mother Erna wrote her poems: signs of her desperate efforts to encourage her child.

Neither of her parents survived the Holocaust. Gerda died in 2021 as a recognized poet.

© Courtesy of private archive of Ann Kirk/ Association of Jewish Refugees

Uncertainty: Hannah Kuhn

Hannah Kuhn, born in 1928, fled from Berlin to England on a Kindertransport in April 1939. Hannah's parents Herta and Franz Kuhn were in contact with their daughter and her foster mothers, first via letters and later via telegrams from the German Red Cross.

Both her parents were murdered in Auschwitz. Hannah Kuhn is now called Ann Kirk and lives in London. In preparation for this exhibition, we visited Ann in London.

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The exhibition of the Berthold Leibinger Stiftung is curated by Ruth Ur and was created in cooperation with the Freundeskreis Yad Vashem e.V., the International Holocaust Memorial Yad Vashem, the Wiener Holocaust Library, the Association of Jewish Refugees and the German Bundestag.

Under the patronage of

Jill Gallard CMG CVO, Ambassador of the United Kingdom to Germany

Miguel Berger, Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany to the United Kingdom

When, how, where?

When

The exhibition will be on display in the hall of the Paul-Löbe-Haus from January 31 to February 23, 2024. It can be visited Monday to Friday from 9 am to 6 pm. On Thursdays, the exhibition is open from 9 am to 7 pm.

Visit

To visit the exhibition, you must register by e-mail to ausstellungen(at)bundestag.de or via the Bundestag website at least two working days before the desired visit date.

For organizational reasons, visits can only begin on the hour. The latest start time for visits is 5 p.m. and 6 p.m. on Thursdays.

Where

The exhibition is accessible via the west entrance of the Paul-Löbe-Haus, Konrad-Adenauer-Str. 1, 10557 Berlin. Please meet the staff at the West Entrance 15 minutes before your visit to allow sufficient time for admission control.

Guided tours

Tuesdays 11 am

Wednesdays 11 am and 3 pm

Thursdays 6 pm

You can register for the guided tours using the registration form, stating the time of the desired tour.