Thursday 15 December 2011

Stephen Smith “Remembering the Kindertranposrts”

This is a book I picked up at the Holocaust Centre simply because I liked the look and the feel of it.  It is in picture book format with far more text than is normal. It is the story of three Holocaust survivors, Steven Mendelsson, Vera Schaufeld and Lisa Vincent, who came over on the Kindertransport. It is aimed at young people though is a perfectly acceptable read for adults as well.  
All three of them were roughly the same age as Renate when she came over. Lisa even came from Nuremberg.
The accounts seemed particularly moving. Perhaps this is because these particular survivors make the effort to get down to the child’s level.
They mention much that is now becoming extremely familiar:
The gradual changes that came after the Nazis came to power.  
How it became particularly frightening in 1938
How they wore lots of clothes because they could pack so little in their tiny suitcases.
They wore “labels like you might put around cattle” said Lisa (11). Ironic that by wearing cattle-labels now they were avoiding cattle-trucks later.     
The white bread that seemed more like cake.
The enemy alien experience: you were treated like an enemy because you were German but you were only in England because you were persecuted by the Germans.
So much irony!
Some of the pictures are heart-breaking. There are a few photos but most are paintings by Hans Jackson. He fled Nazi Germany as a young man in 1939.     

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