Rail station events will commemorate 80th anniversary of first Kindertransport into the region

Published on: Wednesday, 28 November 2018
Last updated: Wednesday, 28 November 2018

Greater Anglia rail stations will be transported back in time on Monday 3 December to the arrival of the first Kindertransport trains into the region.

Eighty years after the ‘Kindertransport’ rescue effort helped over 10,000 children to escape Nazi persecution in Germany, Austria, Czechoslovakia and Poland, local schoolchildren and theatre groups will recreate scenes of child refugees arriving into East Anglia by train at rail stations between Harwich and London Liverpool Street.

Working with the Harwich Surrender & Sanctuary Project, Eastern Angles Theatre Company, Splatt Theatre and Greater Anglia, children from local schools will perform short flash-mob style scenes at Harwich, Ipswich, Manningtree, Colchester and London Liverpool Street stations between 10.30am and 4pm.

At London Liverpool Street, between 11am and 2pm, schoolchildren and actors from the Splatt Theatre company will be re-creating a series of ‘freeze-frame’ scenes inspired by photographs taken at the time, infusing 'real life' drama with live music, to bring the scenes to life.

As they move between each scene they will hand out luggage labels and post cards to passers-by which contain real life stories of children who came to England via Kindertransport.

The events have been organised by the Harwich Haven Surrender & Sanctuary Project, a public history project which focuses on two internationally important events that happened in Harwich - the surrender of over 100 German U Boats in 1918, and the arrival of the first Kindertransport in 1938.

Kindertransport (German for "children's transport") was an organised rescue effort that took place during the nine months prior to the outbreak of the Second World War.

At first nearly 200 children arrived into Harwich on the 2 December 1938, and in the following 9 months almost 10,000 followed. They were then transported by train to foster homes, hostels, schools and farms. Often, they were the only members of their families who survived the Holocaust.

Community engagement officer for the project, Tabitha Runacres, said, “The recreations will serve as a poignant reminder of this amazing rescue effort, the part Harwich and East Anglia played in offering these children a new life, and how it relates to the modern refugee crisis the world is facing today.”

Greater Anglia’s Community Partnerships Manager, Paul Haynes, said, “We were pleased to help facilitate these re-enactments which commemorate the Kindertransport rescue effort that undoubtedly saved so many lives.”