To kick it off, we’re taking a look at a group memorial found just outside Liverpool Street Station and dedicated to the thousands of Jewish children who arrived in the UK as refugees over nine months in 1938 and 1939, having fled the Nazis in Europe after the anti-Semitic attacks of the Kristallnacht.
Called Kindertransport – The Arrival, the group of bronze statues representing children with their luggage having just stepped off a train at the station were unveiled in 2006 in Hope Square. A short stretch of railway tracks lays behind them.
The memorial is the work of Frank Meisler – himself a child who travelled on a Kindertransport train from Danzig – and bears an inscription: “Children of the Kindertransport. In gratitude to the people of Britain for saving the lives of 10,000 unaccompanied mainly Jewish children who fled from Nazi persecution in 1938 and 1939. ‘Whosoever rescues a single soul is credited as though they had saved the whole world.’ Talmud.” It is dedicated by the Association of Jewish Refugees and the Central British Fund for Jewish World Relief.
Around the statue group are a series of blocks upon which is inscribed the names of the cities from which the children fled. They include the cities of Cologne, Hanover, Stuttgart, Frankfurt, Munich, Danzig, Breslau, Prague, Hamburg, Leipzig, Berlin and Vienna along with others.
The statue is one of four, all created by Meisler, which have been erected along the route the children took to reach safety. Others can be found at the main railway station Gdansk in Poland, Friedrichstraße railway station in Berlin, and another in Rotterdam, The Netherlands.
Hope Square also contains another plaque which dedicates the square to the children of the Kinderstransport “who found hope and safety in Britain through the gateway of Liverpool Street Station”.
In late June, an event was held in the St James’s Palace to mark the 75th anniversary of the Kindertransport.