Kindertransport and Adoption


From November 1938 to 3 September 1939 a British organization, The World Movement for the Care of Children, helped 9,254 mostly Jewish children (but including 1,772 gentiles) escape from the imminent Nazi Holocaust. The children, mostly girls, whose ages ranged from a few months to 17 years, had to leave without their parents.

They traveled by train from Germany, Austria and Czechoslovakia to the Netherlands, from where they were sent by boat to England and safety. Many never saw their homelands or their parents again; about 80% were orphaned by the Holocaust.

Since about 1988 the historian of the movement, Bertha Leverton, has kept track of the later progress of the children. There is an international organization for the children, Reunion of Kindertransport, and also national associations in countries where the children have dispersed since the war. Some have never recovered psychologically and have spend the past 50 years in mental institutions. Most have lived relatively normal lives, considering the traumas of their childhood. Others have become high achievers in many walks of life. See also: Nazi Germany and Shoah.


Samuels, Diane. Kindertransport [play]. (New York: Plume, 1995) Baumel, Judith Tydor. Unfulfilled Promise: Rescue & Resettlement of Jewish Refugee Children in the United States 1934-1945. (Juneau: Denali Press, 1990) Drucker, Olga Levy. Kindertransport. (New York: Henry Holt and Company, 1992) We Came as Children: A Collective Autobiography, edited by Karen Gershon. (New York: Harcourt, Brace & World, 1966) Solomon Schonfeld: His Page in History, edited by David Kranzler and Gertrude Hirschler. (New York: Judaica Press, 1982) I Came Alone: The Stories of the Kindertransports, edited by Bertha Leverton and Shmuel Lowensohn. (Sussex: The Book Guild Ltd., 1990) Whiteman, Dorit Bader. The Uprooted: A Hitler Legacy: Voices of those who Escaped before the "Final Solution." (New York: Insight Books, 1993) Eden, Thea Feliks. A Transported Life: Memories of Kindertransport: The Oral History of Thea Feliks Eden. (Santa Cruz: HerBooks, 1995) Buruma, Ian. "Churchill's Cigar," Granta, 65 (Spring 1999), pp. 311-43