Friday, December 4, 2009

Fur das Kind Memorial

A few years ago when I was studying in England, I saw a small holocaust memorial in central London called "Fur das Kind" which commemorates the Kindertransport, a rescue mission that saved around 10,000 mainly Jewish children from Nazi occupied areas just before the outbreak of WWII. I saw the memorial being constructed in 2003, and when it was revealed it consisted of a statue of a small girl besides a transparent suitcase filled with memories from her home (books, toys, photographs of her mom and dad and other family members who almost certainly perished in the Holocaust). As the suitcase was transparent, it was not a good place to store actual memorabilia that children brought from their homes, so now there is simply a statue of a little girl with sad eyes.

This is perhaps one of the smallest memorials to the holocaust, but there is something so heart wrenching about it. Thinking of children who had to say bye to their parents, and parents who had to send their children away; knowing they would not see them again just gets to me. THe first transport arrived in England on December 2, 1938, bringing about 200 children from a Berlin orphanage that was torched by Nazis the previous month- the transport continued until the outbreak of the war. Most of the children on the transport are unknown but most were Jewish from Germany, Austria, Czechoslovakia, and Poland. Once the children arrived in London, they lived in transit camps until families came forward to take care of them. Older children were put into foster care, boarding schools or sent to the country's labor force
(probably not what their parents thought would happen to them, but better than the fate they would have received in their homeland). Many families though- Jewish and non-Jewish, stepped up to help these children. Most of the children survived the war, but few were reunited
with their parents.

The below picture is an actual child from the kindertransport

This is the memorial....I am happy to have read that it is being restored
You can read more about the new memorial HERE