Arrival in Britain
What the journey means to those of us with mothers and fathers, or grandmothers and grandfathers, or aunts and uncles – who were rescued at the eleventh hour …
Yesterday the cyclists crossed into the Netherlands – an emotional moment.
As with our fathers and grandfathers, the moment the Kindertransporte children crossed the border was often marked by cheers and shouts – and more – as you can see in the video below, posted on Facebook by World Jewish Relief.
“We had to stop at Cologne, it was at night, we didn’t see much of Cologne, we never got off the station you see. And then we went to, we went over the border at Arnhem in a van, and then hurray, you know and then we went over to Dover and from Dover to Sandwich. ... there were one or two compartments reserved for us” Interview, Richard Hymann, Kitchener camp, 1939, Refugee Voices, Association of Jewish Refugees: http://www.kitchenercamp.co.uk/research/interviews/
The youngest cyclist is Daniel – the grandson of Paul Alexander whose story is outlined below, and great-grandson of a Kitchener man. He could still use some fundraising help to reach his target.
If you can share his page on your Facebook or Twitter account – please do.
I don’t know the family, but this is an extraordinary undertaking for such a young lad, and it’s good to acknowledge that:
Hope to see some of you at Liverpool Street station tomorrow, to help cheer the riders home!
If you’d like to support a fellow Kitchener descendant on his amazing 600-mile Kindertransporte commemoration bike ride – Paul Alexander was both a baby on the Kindertransporte, and (like many of us, he has only recently found out) he is also a Kitchener descendant!
The link to further information is here:
And the link to his direct fundraising page is here: https://www.worldjewishrelief.org/paulalexberlinlondonride
PS I’ve volunteered to help at the finishing line on Friday. If anyone else is doing the same, do drop me a message and we can team up!
Also, a link to Paul’s grandson’s fundraising page is here: https://www.worldjewishrelief.org/daniel-berlin-london-ride
Let’s give him a hand – he’s cycling 600 miles, age 14!
World Jewish Relief fundraiser
So, generally, we keep to a no-advertising policy, except to let families know about events they might be interested in attending.
However … while I doubt that many of us will want to don lycra to join in with this one, it is such an iconic event in relation to one of our sister rescues, the Kindertransporte, I hope you will forgive us this one.
Update: We have received some lovely messages of support for this cycle ride, including the following:
“Subject: The Kitchener Camp
My thanks to the British people who made this possible.”
In commemoration of the start of the Kindertransporte in 1938, some World Jewish Relief staff, friends, and some of those who were around in the 1930s (!) – are staging a 600-mile bike ride from Berlin to London Liverpool Street station.
The riders are setting off from Berlin on Sunday morning, on the 17th June, and are due to arrive in London during the afternoon of Friday, 22nd June.
And it seemed to me that many Kitchener folk would want to know this is going on.
You may be relieved to hear that there are various ways we can participate without actually getting out our bicycles and shorts …
You can follow the cyclists’ progress from the start of the race, live, on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/WorldJewishRelief/
And you can post good luck notices there too. You can bet they will be reading them during lunch breaks and supper time, as will their families.
The fund-raising the riders are looking for provides what feels like an appropriate opportunity for some of the Kitchener families who have asked me how they can contribute to some of the organizations who helped their families survive.
The event has had a number of mentions in the media, with today’s in The Guardian helping them to reach even more people with this uplifting challenge.
Here’s hoping the riders hit their targets.
An amazing expedition – a good cause, close to most of our hearts.
The Kitchener connection
It’s also worth knowing that there is a very direct connection to our Kitchener history, in the figure of Paul Alexander, the gentleman who appears in the video below.
(If you click to enlarge the video, the sound comes through fine)
Paul Alexander was on the Kindertransporte, and he is one of the cyclists undertaking this 600-mile journey. His father Alfons Minikes got out of Buchenwald thanks to a permit to come to Kitchener camp, where he worked as the Spanish teacher for his fellow men.
Für das Kind
Worth remembering: the predecessors of World Jewish Relief helped to save around 65,000 German Jews through the 1930s, and you can ask them if they still have your family records.
About half of these records still exist. Tragically, the vast majority are for people who did not make it to safety in time.
This is a chance to support an amazing endeavour, as WJR people once supported us.
As our US friends say – it’s an opportunity to ‘pay it forwards’.