THE STORY OF THE SQUARE

Kindertransport Memory Quilt Square

Quilt 2, Square 3

Artist: Ilse Herz-Koven

...My father was taken to Dachau on Crystal Nacht but at the time we had no knowledge of where they took him.  My mother, in her untiring effort to find out where my father was, heard from a cousin that they were sending her two boys on a children’s transport sponsored by the Quakers. With that information, my mother registered me to go wherever the next transport that had room was going.

We received three different dates for my departure and all were cancelled.  Finally on January 6, 1939, I was to leave for England.  My mother and I spent the night in Ludwigshaven with a relative because we had to be in Mannheim at 7 am where I boarded a train full of children. The children were watched by SS and SA guards who examined all papers and passports. Those, like me, who only had papers were put in a separate car from the others.  I was sure that they would send us back.  Everybody was very quiet.

We arrived at the Hook of Holland late evening.  We were taken to a restaurant where we had dinner while the townspeople stood outside watching us through the windows.  They wished us good luck.  We went to a waiting ship where we were assigned to cabins with four to six bunk beds in each.  They called “lights out.’’  When we woke up we were in Harwich, England where buses waited to take us to a summer camp (Dover Court).  Here we received rain gear and boots. There were a lot of children in the camp who came on transports.  It was cold and raining.  I was there for five days after which I was asked if I wanted to go to Bath where a family would take care of me.  I was delighted.  They sent me to a private school and were very good to me.

At the age of 16, I had a tribunal where the court decided that I had to be 30 miles from the sea since I was an enemy alien because England was at war now.  I went as a governess to an eight-year-old boy.  His father was a Member of Parliament and very influential with the transports.  I started nurses training until I got shipped to the U.S.A.

I never saw my parents and grandma again.  They were taken to Lublin to the gas chambers....

 

Ilse Herz-Koven

 

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