In the early 1980's when my children were in elementary school, we spent many an hour at the public library. While the children were s-l-o-w-l-y finding books to check out, I took an interest in the Jewish Holocaust section. I had finished several of these Holocaust historical books when I checked out a book entitled Return to Auschwitz by Kitty Hart, a Holocaust survivor.
To my astonishment, I found the following reference to the Christadelphians on page 21:
"In fact, though, I did have a boy-friend who was later to become my husband. Ralph had come to England at the age of thirteen with the very last transport of pre-war refugee children aboard the Washington in 1939. His seven-year-old brother was not accepted, and in due course went with their mother into the Auschwitz gas chambers. His father was imprisoned in Flossenburg and was still alive in March 1945; he died just about a month before liberation. All other members of the family were wiped out save for one who reached South America. Ralph was quite alone. Like myself, he found the Jewish community less than helpful, but was looked after in a camp near Ipswich and then brought to Birmingham under the auspices of the Christadelphians. They were very kind to the children in their keeping, and never made the slightest attempt to sway any of them towards their own religious beliefs."
This book and all of the others I read on this subject had very few complimentary statements which, of course, was largely due to the horrors of the time period of which they wrote. The Jewish eyewitnesses reported with bitterness the humiliating treatment they received from Catholics and others who, as a condition of minimal "help," forced the Jews to bow to their "idols" and to participate in their religious "priestcraft." I feel Ms. Hart was pointing out that the Christadelphians' kindness had no strings attached as they "never made the slightest attempt to sway any of them towards their own religious beliefs."
Many of these Jewish children did, in fact, willingly embrace the Truth and were baptized into the saving name of Christ Jesus. We give our heartfelt thanks to those brethren and sisters who have shared their inspiring stories below:
Kindertransport Children Cared for by Christadelphians:
*"How My Mother, Sis. Hana Holman, Learnt the Truth", by Sis. Susan Waite, Canterbury Ecclesia, Victoria, Australia
*Bro. Gerhardt (Jim) Rosenthal, Melbourne Ecclesia, Victoria, Australia
*My Big Sister Ursula, by Bro. Mark Sawyer, South Brisbane Ecclesia, Queensland, Australia
*"A Brief History of The Kindertransport"
*A quote mentioning the Kindertransport work of the Christadelphians from an article entitled, "Winton's Wartime Gesture", from The Jerusalem Report, August 31, 1998, submitted by Bro. Ken and Sis. Dorothy Langston (North Houston Ecclesia, Texas, USA).
*"Get Them Out", an article from the July 1999 Christadelphian Bible Missionary magazine, written and submitted by Bro. Michael Barnes (Clevedon Ecclesia, UK).
Books about the Kindertransport that mention the Christadelphians:
Many of these books are available from Amazon.com. Amazon can even help in locating out-of-print books.
*Return to Auschwitz, The Remarkable Life of a Girl Who Survived the Holocaust, by Kitty Hart. ISBN: 0-689-11266-1 Manufactured by American Book-Stratford Press, Saddle Brook, New Jersey, USA 1982, Out-of-Print
[You will not be able to put this book down. I have read it several times and it will profoundly change your paradigm. Mrs. Hart survived Auschwitz and later married one of the Kindertransport children cared for by The Christadelphians.]
*And The Policeman Smiled, by Barry Turner. ASIN: 0747506205, Out-of-Print.
*Pearls of Childhood: The Poignant True Wartime Story of a Young Girl Growing Up in an Adopted Land by Vera Gissing. Paperback (July 1995) Parkwest Publications; ISBN: 0860519457, In Print.
[This is another well-written autobiography (with photos) by a Kindertransport survivor.
On page 87 Ms. Gissing relates how one of her dear school mates in England was cared for by the Christadelphians:
"[Honza] was then sent to a hostel for refugee boys near Rugby, run by a shopkeeper, Mr. Overton, a truly remarkable man. As a practising Christadelphian he had striven tirelessly even prior to the occupation of Czechoslovakia to convince the British government that Jews in occupied territories were in great danger and that something must be done to save the children, first from Germany and Austria, then later Czechoslovakia. He lobbied members of Parliament and gathered a circle of supporters to form a pressure group. Many years later, when Honza visited Mr. Overton, he brought down from the loft his proudest possession - a cardboard box with over two hundred labels - name tags that the children had worn round their necks when they arrived in England and came into his care; each tag represented a life that he had saved."
I was struck by the phrase "As a practising Christadelphian" which has caused me many hours of meditation and self-examination.]
Other Books about The Kindertransport:
*In My Pocket, by Dorrith M. Sim. ISBN: 0-15-20137-1. Harcourt Brace & Company, 6277 Sea harbor Drive, Orlando, Florida 32887-6777 USA, 1996, In Print.
[This is a large children's hardcover picture book, beautifully and colorfully illustrated. The Kindertransport story is simply and delicately told for younger children by a child being transported out of Germany to safety in the UK - Excellent.]
*Kindertransport, by Olga Levy Drucker. ISBN: 0-8050-1711-9 (hardcover) and 0-8050-4251-2 (paperback). Henry Holt and Company, Inc., 115 West 18th Street, New York, New York 10011, USA, 1992, In Print.
[This is an autobiography for ages 10 and up. Well-written.]
*Ten Thousand Children, True stories told by children who escaped the Holocaust on the Kindertransport, by Anne L. Fox and Eva Abraham-Podietz. ISBN: 0-87441-648-5. Behrman House, Inc., 235 Watchung Avenue, West Orange, New Jersey 07052, USA, 1999, In Print.
[This is a well-organized, nicely laid-out large paperback book with excellent background and historical material, and even a page-by-page marginal glossary to aid in the understanding of unfamiliar words (i.e., "Sieg Heil", "Fuehrer", etc.). It is filled with many pictures of the people and the events in the lives of these Kindertransport children. Excellent.]
We would love to hear more about the details of this honorable work from anyone who might have taken part or knew of those who did. (E-mail us below.)
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