KINDERTRANSPORT 77 YEARS

Harwich 1st July 2016

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What are we trying to achieve?

  • Raise as much money as possible to directly help refugees in the world today in need of help - and especially children.
  • Educate our younger generation about the Kindertransport story and its enduring relevance to our world today and our future.

In addition we may hope for the following spin-off benefits:

  • Give the surviving Kinder and their families an occasion, venue and event to remember.
  • Give due recognition and credit to some of the unsung heroes of the Kindertransports.
  • Extend the scope of this and future events from purely the Czech Kindertransports (which account for 669 children rescued) to the wider Kindertransport operation which accounts for a recorded 9,354 children rescued.
  • Help dispel the media myth of the ‘one-man operation’ - but without detracting anything from Sir Nicholas’ crucial role in the operation. In reality it was very much a team effort.

Why are we proposing this?

The main reason is that the story of the Kindertransports is still so relevant to the world today and particularly the younger generation. One might have hoped that the full realisation of the horrors of Auschwitz and the other camps may have put an end to ethnic and racial hatred and genocide, that the terrible destruction of World War 2 may have put an end to industrialised warfare, but unfortunately it is not so. One day there will be no original Kinder left and that will be a very sad day. Before then we should take the opportunity for our younger generation to learn and hear at first hand the story of how our country gave refuge to those 9,354 endangered children, what it means to them and the implications the story has for the world in which we live today.

Final thoughts…

On 31st December 1938 a 29-year-old stock broker, Nicholas Winton, boarded a plane to Prague, having just taken a decision to cancel a 2-week skiing holiday to Switzerland. Two months earlier on 13th October 1938 Doreen Warriner had arrived in Prague’s brand new Ruzyne airport, having herself taken a decision to cancel a trip to the West Indies with her Rockefeller Fellowship where she had intended to study economic conditions. Trevor Chadwick threw up his job as a school teacher in Swanage to run the Prague end of the Czech Kindertransport operation, where the problems - and risks to himself - were very considerable. Truus Wijsmuller-Meijer found herself in Paris at the time her country, the Netherlands, was overrun by the Nazis. Nevertheless, she got herself to Amsterdam, hired 5 buses amidst the considerable chaos of an unfolding invasion, and transported 75 mostly Jewish children from an orphanage to the city’s port where she persuaded the captain of a freighter to take them out of the country.

None of these people HAD to do what they did, they chose to. Most of us would say “Not my problem”, “I’m too busy” or simply wait for someone else to act. What motivated them to take the decisions and the actions that they did? None did so for any personal gain or enrichment, but purely to help others less fortunate than themselves. These people - and countless others who helped - should be an inspiration to each and every one of us. Their example proves that all of us as individuals can “make a difference” in the decisions we take and the actions we choose in our lives. The Nicholas Winton Foundation exists to encourage every individual to be aware of injustice, to make a stand when something needs doing, to get actively involved and make a positive difference rather than waiting for someone else. Read more about the Nicholas Winton Foundation here…