KC Reviews and news

Kitchener Camp Review

Just to let you know that we’ve been sent another issue of the Kitchener Camp Review. We will add it to the website as soon as we can – and hopefully by end of day tomorrow.

Kitchener Camp Review, no. 7, September 1939, page 1
Kitchener Camp Review, no. 7, September 1939, page 1

These reviews provide a tremendous amount of information about Kitchener in the months up to the end of October 1939. Do have a read through them: http://www.kitchenercamp.co.uk/research/the-kitchener-camp-review/

The tickets for the Helen Fry event, Digging for Victory, are all sold out. There is a waitlist on Eventbrite, so do put your name down if you’d like to attend but haven’t yet been able to get a ticket. Sales end on October 15th.

All being well, Dr Fry’s talk on the Pioneer Corps will be filmed. When they’ve had time to edit it and so on, it will go up on the Wiener Library’s Youtube Chanel. I’ll let you know when it’s up.

We’re so pleased that Dr Fry has generously agreed to this, and fingers crossed that the filming will go well. We know that Kitchener folk living too far away in the UK and overseas do miss out, so hopefully this will enable us to bring everyone together at least digitally.


A number of overseas families especially are asking about a date for the Kitchener commemoration of the 80th anniversary of the rescue in 2019.

So far, we have been unable to source a suitable venue at a cost that makes this possible. As most of you know, we have no funding for the Kitchener project – one of the downsides of it not (yet!) being a ‘recognised’ part of the history. Venues approached so far have all asked well in excess of anything we can consider taking on.

If you may be able to offer a suitable central venue – bearing in mind our international travellers – for a day of workshops/talks and an exhibition space, we would very much like to hear from you via the usual contact page.

This year marks the 80th anniversary of one of our sister rescues – the Kindertransport, which was funded and organised by the same groups that organised and funded the Kitchener camp rescue and Domestic Service visas.

Acting together as the Council for German Jewry, the Central British Fund (now World Jewish Relief), the American Joint Distribution Committee and others brought around 10,000 children to Britain from the end of 1938 until the declaration of war in September 1939.

The Nottingham Playhouse, for example, are currently running a well-reviewed drama about the Kinder – do go along if you live close enough.




“Didn’t it ever occur to you that I might have wanted to die with you. Because I did. I never wanted to live without you.”

“In this 80th anniversary year, this timely revival tackles the story of thousands of Jewish child refugees who were separated from their parents and uprooted from Europe to England during World War II.”

For the performance on 16th October, there is also a talk by Amy Williams, a Kindertransport scholar from Nottingham Trent University (NTU), and Professor Bill Niven, an expert on memory of the Holocaust.

“The Kindertransports were a series of transnational rescue operations which saved the lives of thousands of Jewish refugee children who had fled from Nazi persecution. Between 1938 and 1940, Britain alone rescued 10,000 of these children.

After the Second World War memory of the Kindertransports faded from public discourse, but over time, it has gradually moved to the centre of Britain’s memory of Nazism and the Holocaust.

Amy and Bill will discuss the reasons for this, but also why they think Britain’s national narrative needs to more transnational, complex and comprehensive.”


The Wiener Library is currently hosting ‘Shattered’ – an exhibition about the events of November 1938, which were the trigger for the Kitchener rescue.


I was chatting to the Deputy Director of the library at the opening of the exhibition the other day, and she mentioned they have recently found that some families had photographs taken of the men when they left the camps, specifically to assist with trying to get them out of the country.

I was reminded of a photograph of my own dad, in fact, looking rather gaunt and with very short hair. I have no idea whether this is an example of what she described – they had to have so many photographs taken for exit purposes – but you might want to look again at some of the images you have of your grandfathers and fathers, bearing this in mind.

Shattered - exhibition at the Wiener Library, October 2018
Shattered – exhibition on November 1938 at the Wiener Library, October 2018

Finally, for now, a reminder that “A Service of Solemn Remembrance and Hope on the 80th anniversary of Kristallnacht will be held at Westminster Abbey at 6.30pm on Thursday 8th November 2018.”


Those of you who are members of the Association of Jewish Refugees will already have heard about this. Perhaps we can look forward to what may be the first such formal commemoration that might include a Kitchener contingent!