Thursday, 20 October 2011
There are only actually about one thousand Kinder witness accounts. So, what we have actually only represents one tenth of the 10,000 children who were brought across on the Kindertransport. About 500 of those were treated well. Even they were not necessarily happy. Some were, however, only to have that happiness challenged again if they were reconciled with their parents. By then, six years or so on, they had become English and they had grown up; they were no longer little German children. And there was always the guilt. My mother-in-law was particularly isolated. She was not German, she was Jewish. She was not an orthodox or even practising Jew – in fact she was baptised as a Catholic. She was a Mischling. She was not separated from her parents – her mother came over to England two months after she arrived and she was reconciled with her father after the war. She never talked about any guilt but she did feel a lot of confusion. It was especially difficult for her when London and Nuremberg were being bombed. Her mother was in London. Her father was in Nuremberg. This is a major point in the novel. I hope I’m bringing it our well enough.