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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.