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Saving 10,000 Jewish children from the fate the Nazis had planned for them

Although the Nazis had been making life miserable for Jewish families in Germany since taking power in 1933, there had been no large scale attacks on Jews and their institutions. Until November 9th and 10th 1938—Reichspogromnacht, when scores of synagogues were burned, Jewish shops looted, and Jewish men were beaten and sent to concentration camps.


Austria had already been subsumed into the Reich; Czechoslovakia would soon fall. In every Jewish home in these three countries,  families desperately sought ways to get out—and if they couldn’t, at least to send their children away.


But who would take them? Where could they go?  

Click here to access the US Holocaust Memorial Museum’s history of the Kindertransport


"And I never saw them again."
Stories of the Kindertransport
a Centropa film - commissioned by The Conference on Jewish Material Claims against Germany

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In November 2018, the 80th anniversary of the Kindertransport, the Claims Conference and the German government reached an agreement to provide compensation payments for unescorted Jewish children who had been brought to safety in England in 1938 and 1939.


Most of the parents who had made the terrible decision to send their children off to another country could not get out of Nazi-occupied Europe and the majority were murdered. At war’s end, most of the “Kinder” remained in England, the country that had given them shelter. 


In January 2019, the Claims Conference asked Centropa to travel to London and Leeds to interview twelve Kindertransport survivors. These time witnesses, most in their 90s, tell us their stories in this 24-minute film, shot and produced by Wolfgang Els and Edward Serotta.


Special thanks to The Claims Conference and London’s Association of Jewish Refugees for their help in making this film possible.

Centropa's multimedia films

based on Kindertransport interviews

"And then their letters stopped."

Lilli Tauber

A Suitcase Full Of Memories

Lilli Tauber grew up in a small town in Austria, Wiener Neustadt, where her parents tended the family store. Then came 9 November 1938--the pogrom known as Kristallnacht. Her father was arrested, Lilli was thrown out of school, and when her father was released, her parents got Lilli onto a kindertransport to England. From her refuge in Great Britain, Lilli wrote countless letters to her parents. And they wrote to her--not only from Vienna, but from a ghetto they were sent to in Poland. At war's end, Lilli returned to Vienna to look for them. Perhaps they too would return. But the letters Lilli found in a suitcase told a terrible, heartrending story. And then there were the pictures her father had sent back.

"For my mother, it was just too late..."

Kitty and Otto Suschny

Only A Couple Of Streets Away From Each Other

Kitty and Otto Suschny both grew up in Vienna, only a couple of streets away from each other, but they never met while growing up. After the Reichspogromnacht in November 1938, both fled Austria for their lives; Kitty went to England, while Otto emigrated to Palestine. After the war, they returned to Vienna, desperate to find out what had happened to their parents. That´s where they met, and they never separated again...

The film

Read Centropa's personal stories

on the Kindertransport

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Centropa Stories
The Podcast

Journeys through an oral history archive

After the pogrom of November 9th, 1938, some 10,000 Jewish children were taken by their parents to train stations in cities like Frankfurt, Danzig, Breslau, Berlin, Prague and Vienna. They would find refuge in the United Kingdom while most of their parents did not survive.At war’s end in 1945, few of those “Kinder” wanted to return to the cities of the birth. But a few did, and we offer three poignant stories from Centropa’s Vienna interview archive.

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