Saturday, May 31, 2008

Coverage in "Queens Courier"

New York's Queens Courier cited the Kindertransport numerous times in its recent set of Holocaust-related articles. Mentioned are at least three Kinder: Ellen Alexander nee Gladke, her sister Ursula, and Hannah Deutch.

In the article "The Will to Survive" (May 19, 2008), Jessica Lyons writes
About 10,000 children were able to find refuge in Great Britain through the Kindertransport, which is a German word meaning “transportation of children.” During the transports, which were held from December of 1938 to September of 1939, children left their parents to eventually live in foster homes.

Fresh Meadows resident Ellen Alexander, who was born in Berlin in 1929, went on the Kindertransport with her older sister Ursula. As a 10-year-old, she considered it a big adventure. She and her sister stayed with a couple previously unknown to the family throughout the duration of the war.
Lyons profiles Ellen Alexander here. From the profile:
"In 1945, right after the war ended, we got a telegram from my mother saying that she was alive and wondering if we had heard from my father, which of course we hadn’t because he had died by then," Alexander said. "He was sent on a death march to Auschwitz."

Alexander’s mother came to England to live with the girls and their foster parents in 1946. There were disagreements as to who should be in charge of the girls, and eventually Alexander, her mother and sister left for America, making it to the United States in 1947 after a 10-day sea voyage. Even after leaving England, Alexander said she kept in touch with her foster parents.
In "60 years later: Never ending anguish for survivors" (May 28, 2008), Noah Rosenberg mentions another Kind, Hannah Deutch. From her profile:
A great aunt, who had a cousin in charge of the child transport, or Kindertransport, in London, added Deutch, who was 18 at the time, to a list of around 150 children who were being sent to the U.K. Deutch’s mother and stepfather, unable to get visas to come to England, managed to get on the last ship leaving from Holland to Chile before war was declared.

Realizing she owed a debt of gratitude to England, Deutch became a registered nurse and joined the British Army. Based in London, Deutch came face to face with war casualties and collected "the arms, legs and heads" of a troop transport that had been bombed. Deutch heard the first "buzz bomb" floating above London and at one point she, herself, was bombed out.

"I can still feel the ceiling on my back pushing all the people down the stairs," she said....

She eventually learned that her aunt, uncle and grandmother, who had raised her for a time while her mother was ill, along with her two-year-old cousin, had died at the Riga concentration camp....

Deutch still reels from the fact that Nazi Germany destroyed her family, stole her German identity and forever altered the landscape of world Jewry.

"It’s something that doesn’t leave you. You put it away in your brain so it doesn’t hurt you from day to day," Deutch explained.

"But it’s there."

Thanks to Joseph Haberer for the lead.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Eva Kollisch: "The Ground Under My Feet"

Eva Kollisch, rescued in childhood from the Nazis by a Kindertransport, will read from her new book, The Ground Under My Feet, in New York City at the Morningside Bookshop (2915 Broadway at 114th Street, (212-222-3350) on Thursday, June 12th, 2008 at 7pm.

Kollisch is professor emerita at Sarah Lawrence College, where she taught literature for over 30 years. She is the author of Girl in Movement, a memoir of her early years inside a small American Trotskyist party during World War II.

Here's an excerpt from The Ground Under My Feet.

Siegmund Nissel, 86

Siegmund Nissel, second violinist in the Amadeus String Quartet (with Norbert Brainin, Peter Schidlof, and Martin Lovett) has died at the age of 86, according to the Telegraph.
Siegmund Walter Nissel (Sigi) was born in Munich on January 3 1922 and began playing the violin at the age of six. His mother died when he was nine and he was taken by his father to live in Vienna, where his teachers included Max Weissgärber. Father and son were touring Germany in 1936 and saw some of the Olympic events in Berlin. As Jesse Owens, the black American runner, won one of his four gold medals Nissel spotted Hitler in his box and observed the F├╝hrer's discomfort. He also told, in Daniel Snowman's book The Hitler Emigrés, of how, two years later, he watched: "with horror and incredulity as the stolid burghers of Vienna welcomed the Nazis as 'liberators'."

Nissel was to leave the city on one of the last Kindertransport trains. He made his way to Britain where, in order to save his father, he had to find a guarantor. He knocked on doors until the Farrer family in Twickenham – total strangers, and Anglicans to boot – agreed to offer the requisite guarantee. Nissel père arrived in August 1939, just days before the outbreak of war.

Initially young Sigi was an air raid warden in Richmond, but he was soon interned on the Isle of Man as a "friendly enemy alien" by a British government fearful that the Nazis might have planted spies in the country.

There he met Schidlof and later Brainin. He was released after the intervention of [Ralph] Vaughan Williams and Myra Hess and found employment in the East End of London working in a metals factory for the war effort.
Here the "Wolf Gang" plucks a Bartók movement.

Source (3:05)

Thanks to Joseph Haberer for the lead.