Kindertransport Memory Quilt Square

Quilt 3, Square 8

Artist: Susan Burrill

I came to England on a Children’s Transport on the 3rd, July 1939 on the American liner “Washington” from Hamburg to Southampton.

Through my brother, my mother knew of a family living on a farm in Sussex and that is where I lived for the next year until, in September, just before my sixteenth birthday, I had to leave as the farm was within 20 miles of the coast and therefore out of bounds to enemy aliens.

I had an aunt, my father’s sister, who was matron at a hostel for Jewish refugees who had been in Holland and managed to escape just before the German occupation.  I made many friends there and on the whole was quite happy.  (I did some domestic work and went to the local art school in the evening, as that was what I really wanted to do.)  However when I reached the age of eighteen, I had to go either into a munitions factory or join the forces.  I decided on the latter.  During that time I met my future husband and we married after the war.

The reason for the picture of the farm in Sussex is that for me, coming from Berlin, it was a complete culture shock, and although I received nothing but kindness from the family concerned, there was no real understanding.  They were devout chapel-goers and took it for granted that I would do the same.  It was not easy to protest as I was very much beholden to them.  So, in a way, the farm is my first and very lasting impression of England.

Susan Burrill
Hornsea East Yorkshire

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