Talk by Helen Fry on Pioneer Corps – now on sale

Please remember – the tickets for this event are now on sale – *only* at the following link – and there is a limited number available:

https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/dr-helen-fry-digging-for-victory-refugees-in-the-pioneer-corps-in-ww2-tickets-49168686866

We’re excited and looking forward to it!

Hope to see you there.

(For information about future events you might find interesting in this context, please see the bottom of this post)


The Pioneer Corps was not the only outcome for Kitchener men when war broke out: some were too young to enlist, some were too old; some had poor health (and were rejected by the Army), especially following their time in German concentration camps, which resulted from their arrest during the events of November 1938; and some did not wish to fight for religious or ethical reasons, or because they had visas for onward travel and still hoped to be able to use these to rescue their families.

However, enlistment in the Auxiliary Military Pioneer Corps was a significant outcome for a large number of Kitchener men.

As we move into the autumn and Helen Fry’s talk, we will also be placing significant focus on the various other outcomes, including internment in the UK; internment overseas in Canada and Australia; other important war work carried out by Kitchener refugees.


To give some idea about how significant this part of our shared history is to the project, I have linked below to a few of the relevant items sent in by families over the last few months. My apologies that it is by no means a definitive list, but it will provide an indication of the interest in this part of our shared history – when Kitchener became a Pioneer Corps training ground in winter 1939.

Richborough camp 1939, Erich Peritz, Pioneer Corps
Kitchener camp 1939, Erich Peritz, Pioneer Corps
Kitchener camp 1939, Ferdinand Vulkan, Pioneer Corps, Off Duty Pass, 24 May 1940
Kitchener camp 1939, Ferdinand Vulkan, Pioneer Corps, Off Duty Pass, 24 May 1940
Kitchener camp, Vulkan family, Auxiliary Military Pioneer Corps
Kitchener camp, Vulkan family, Auxiliary Military Pioneer corps
Richborough transit camp, Siegfried Metz, 12 August 1940
Kitchener camp, Siegfried Metz, 12 August 1940
Richborough camp, Leo Rosengarten, Pioneer Corps, 1940
Kitchener camp, Leo Rosengarten, Pioneer Corps, 1940
Kitchener camp, 1939
From the series ‘Kitchener camp’,
by Hans Jackson, Kitchener resident
Richborough transit camp reference, Hans Blum
Kitchener camp reference, Hans Blum
Kitchener camp, Siegfried Michelson, Pioneer Corps book, photograph
Siegfried Michelson, Helen Fry, Pioneer Corps book, photograph
Kitchener camp, Theo Stern, in Pioneer Corps uniform
Kitchener camp, Theo Stern, in Pioneer Corps uniform
Werner Hirsch, Kitchener camp, 1939
Werner Hirsch, Kitchener camp, 1939
Max Heinz Nathan, 1940s
Max Heinz Nathan, 1940s
Kitchener camp, Hans Friedmann
Kitchener camp, Hans Friedmann
Otto Zwieback
Kitchener camp, Otto Zwieback
Kitchener camp, Willi Reissner, Pioneer Corps uniform
Willi Reissner, Pioneer Corps uniform
Pioneer Corps, Moses Mordko Scherzer, 1940
Pioneer Corps, Moses Mordko Scherzer, 1940. With kind permission from Helen Fry
Richborough transit camp, Pioneer Corps, 339 Coy, Walter Brill, Discharge of Aliens, 8 October 1945
Kitchener camp, Pioneer Corps, 339 Coy, Walter Brill, Discharge of Aliens, 8 October 1945
Pioneer Corps, Werner Weissenberg, Letter 7 October 1942, retrained Pioneer Corps to RAMC
Pioneer Corps, Werner Weissenberg, Letter 7 October 1942, retrained Pioneer Corps to RAMC

Also coming up – future events

The Wiener Library

Book Talk: Dunera Lives

Professor Jay Winter

Thu 10 Jan 2019

Time: 6:30pm – 8pm

https://www.wienerlibrary.co.uk/Whats-On?item=415


The Shifting Policy of British Internment and Deportation, 1939-1940

The Wiener Library

Roger Kershaw (The National Archives) and Naomi Levy (Second Generation Network)

Tue 9 Oct 2018

Time: 6:30pm – 8pm

https://www.wienerlibrary.co.uk/Whats-On?item=399


Curator’s Talk: Shattered: Pogrom, November 1938

Co-curators Dr Christine Schmidt and Dr Barbara Warnock

Thu 18 Oct 2018

Time: 6:30pm – 8pm

The Wiener Library – 6pm – doors open; private view of the exhibition

6:30pm – event begins

https://www.wienerlibrary.co.uk/Whats-On?item=409