Fleeing Nazi Oppression

The Kindertransport

"She was on a train; she had a cousin around the same age who was travelling with her."

“My grandfather found a Polish Jew who, for a hefty sum, was helping transport peoples’ home effects; furniture, linens, silverware, whatever, out of the country and he was able to – he told my grandfather to pack up some trunks and be prepared – prepare to have them sent out. My mom says she – my grandmother sewed some jewelry into some of the linens and they sent it to England.

"My grandfather had pneumonia at the time [my mother was to leave], and so he was not able to go to the station. My grandmother took her to the station, she was on a train, she had a cousin around the same age who was travelling with her, and I believe they had an older cousin who was actually accompanying some of the Kindertransports to England.

“They went through, is it called Hof Van Holland? That would have been their first stop. They had some friends that lived there who kind of met them and sort of – then they continued going on to – across the town.

"I know [my mother] was instructed when she got to London, to the train station, that she was supposed to go to the baggage keep, to the baggage claim area and inquire to see if the trunks had arrived, which apparently they had and she had been instructed to write a postcard that said, you know “the children have arrived” as a kind of a code word."

Editor’s Note: The first location Dora’s Kindertransport stopped at when she was leaving Germany and heading for Berlin was Hof Van Holland in the Netherlands. Dora and a few of her cousins were able to get on Kindertransports and flee Germany in February, followed by her sister in April and her parents in August or September. There were some family friends who were meeting them in England since they were not accompanied by their families at the time. Upon arriving in England, Dora could speak French from learning it in school but not English. Before they sent her to England, Dora’s mother had arranged for her to have private English lessons. Despite the private lessons, Dora was not very confident in her English-speaking ability, and recounted practicing saying “I do not speak much English” when she arrived at the train station. Jackie mentioned having a mental image of her mother as a child sitting on her suitcase and waiting to be received by her escorts.