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Sad story of 1938 Kindertransporte’ arrivals—retold 70 years on at same station

PUBLISHED: 14:53 03 December 2008 | UPDATED: 13:51 05 October 2010

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London’s Liverpool Street station became the stage yesterday for the sad events that occurred there 70 years ago this week. It was the London rail terminal where the first arrivals stepped off the ferry train from Ipswich of the Kindertransporte’ operation to get Jewish children out of Nazi Germany in December, 1938. The operation was re-enacted by a theatre group with marking the arrivals of the children with their suitcases

THE sad sight of refugee children escaping Hitler’s Germany in the 1938 Kindertransporte’ operation to save them from certain death...

...being re-enacted yesterday at Liverpool Street station 70 years later

Mike Brooke

THE platforms at London’s Liverpool Street station became the stage yesterday (Tuesday) for the sad events that occurred there 70 years ago this week.

Liverpool Street was the London rail terminal where the first arrivals stepped off the ferry train from Ipswich of the Kindertransporte’ operation to get Jewish children out of Nazi Germany in December, 1938.

The operation was re-enacted by a theatre group this week with a mix of site specific’ theatre and music marking the arrivals of the children with their suitcases.

They were the first of 9,500 the arrive before the rescue operation was halted nine months later when the Second World War broke out—trapping millions of others in Hitler’s Occupied Europe.

Tuesday’s performance of Suitcase’ was devised by Ros Merkin and produced by her sister Jane, daughters of Johanna Merkin who came from Vienna as a child on the Kindertransporte.

Small groups of audience were taken through the station concourse, stumbling on scenes played out by bewildered’ Kindertransporte children, waiting foster parents, transport organisers and bemused railway workers.

Very few children ever saw their parents again. Their stories are little-known and rarely acknowledged. Seventy years on it was time to put that right.


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