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.

The exhibition

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.

A catalog was created for the exhibition, which is also available digitally.

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© 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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Friends of Yad Vashem e.V.
© 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 was curated by Ruth Ur and was created in cooperation with the Freundeskreis Yad Vashem e. V. (Friends of Yad Vashem). V., the International Holocaust Memorial Yad Vashem, the Vienna 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

The exhibition was shown from January 31 to February 23, 2024 in the hall of the Paul Löbe House in the German Bundestag.

Gregor Matthias Zielke

We mourn the death of Hella Pick, who passed away at the age of 94

Hella Pick attended the opening of the exhibition as a contemporary witness who herself was able to flee to Great Britain on a Kindertransport.

Hella Pick passed away on the night of April 4 at the age of 94.

After leaving school, Hella studied political science at the London School of Economics and later made a career as a correspondent for The Guardian newspaper, among other things.

She was considered a pioneer for female journalists, particularly in the field of foreign policy reporting. In Germany, she was best known for her appearances on the WDR programs Der Internationale Frühschoppen by Werner Höfer and the Presseclub.

We mourn the loss of a unique and impressive personality.

The Berthold Leibinger Stiftung team