Between December 1938 and the outbreak of war in August 1939, some 10,000 children, the vast majority of them Jews, from Germany, Austria, Poland, and Czechoslovakia were evacuated to Great Britain. The stories of 18 witnesses to this Kindertransport--children, parents, and rescuers--are recounted in Into the Arms of Strangers.
These first-person accounts are woven into a loose narrative of life before the Nazi era, the transport, and life in their new homes. The editors wisely remain in the background, allowing the survivor testimony to shine through. Their experiences were diverse: some stayed behind, such as Norbert Wollheim, a Kindertransport organizer who refused a number of chances to escape from Germany, knowing that if he did, the transports would be stopped. Lory Cahn was actually on a train when her father pulled her off; he was unable to let her go. Those who made it to England found challenges of their own: some remained in hostels for the remainder of the war; some were taken in by families to work as cheap servant labor; still others were taken in by loving families, but then had to deal with "survivor's guilt."
Years after the war, Vera Gissing asked her foster father why he and his family had taken her in. He answered, "I knew I could not save the world. I knew I could not stop the war from starting. But I knew I could save one human life." Into the Arms of Strangers is a moving tribute to this remarkable event. --Sunny Delaney [via]