Saturday, 5 April 2014

The Kinder



This is the name given to those people who came to England as children on the Kindertransport. Renate Edler is one of these Kinder. Almost 10,000 children came on those trains. About 1,000 have told their story. Roughly half of those were treated well and about half of those who were treated well felt happy. However, we have to consider why the other 9,000 have not spoken about their experiences. It could be that:
  • No one ever asked them about it.
  • It never occurred to them.
  • They want to forget all about it.
  • There is nothing to report. Life is good.
  • They prefer to keep their private life private.
Renate Edler seems to have been lucky compared with many:
·         She lived without the fear beforehand, only finding out just before she came to England that she was Jewish.
·         Her mother did join her.
·         She was treated very well.  
·         She made a lot of very good friends.
·         Her father also survived the war.
In fact, it didn’t occur to Renate to tell her story until she was contacted by former German friends she had been at primary school with. She didn’t finish her story as she became ill and died before then.
Even though Renate was very fortunate in many ways, there is also some unhappiness in her story.   
There are several collections of accounts by some of the Kinder:
Fox Anne L. and Eva Abraham-Podietz. (1999). Ten Thousand Children. Springfield: Behrman House.   
Greschler, Lori.. (2009) The 10,000 Children That Hitler Missed. London: Book Surge. 
Leverton, Bertha and Shmuel Lowensohn (eds) (2000), first published 1991. I Came Alone: The Stories of Kindertranpsorts. London: Book Guild
There are also several on-line accounts. However, most accounts are from memory and there is only a little in the way of letters and diaries. These reflective accounts are influenced by what the Kinder have become. 

Read more about the Kinder and the Kindertransport. 

Food for thought: 

Some believe we should have offered homes to whole families. Why do you think we didn't?
How could we decide which ones to help?
What would you think if your family wanted to send you away for your own safety?   


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