Future proofing the Kitchener project

We are very pleased to announce that the Wiener Library for the Study of the Holocaust & Genocide has now formally accepted our donation of this online Kitchener project. The handover will take place in 2019, as planned, to mark the 80th anniversary of the Kitchener camp rescue.

We are very relieved to be able to make this announcement, because we can now be assured that our Kitchener materials have a solid and secure home with this renowned library, which is located in the country that gave our families safe haven. It feels appropriate – not least because Alfred Wiener, who founded the library, came to Britain on a train that must have been very similar to the one our fathers and grandfathers travelled on – and he travelled for very similar reasons (http://www.kitchenercamp.co.uk/wiener-library/).

Wiener’s main concern was to counter with education and information the rise of the fascism that so decimated our families and traumatised the survivors. And there has always been a strong sense among survivors and their families that educating people about this history is one significant means by which to counter ignorance and antisemitism today.

I am a Kitchener descendant – like every family member who has put their faith in this project and offered their family histories to this joint effort to gain and record more knowledge about our shared history. I have been profoundly touched – and changed – by the people I have met over the last few months, by the histories that have been imparted, and by the confidences that have been exchanged.

If, together, we can open even one closed mind when it encounters this history, then the many hours of work – carried out in many different ways by many different people to achieve what this project is still becoming – will have been more than worthwhile.

We are very grateful to the Wiener Library: it has taken a lot of work to bring this about, and the result is an indication of how seriously our history is being taken.

Without the Kitchener families, the project would never have got off the ground; with our joint work, we have produced – and are still producing – something quite remarkable among us.

So – please do keep on spreading the word about what we are doing, and let us together keep adding to the knowledge and understanding of this remarkable Kitchener camp rescue.

For whatever its shortcomings and problems might have been, Kitchener camp is, after all, the reason that every one of us is here today to share our family histories.

When every other door closed, this one opened, at least for some.

And for each of us, and for our children and our grandchildren, it doesn’t get much more significant than that.