Beginning in 1938 in the months before World War II, more than 10,000 Jewish children were separated from their parents and evacuated from Nazi Germany and other countries. Boasting that no one would want these “undesirable” children, Adolf Hitler was upstaged by the people of Great Britain, the only nation to take in the children.
The operation came to be known as the Kindertransport.
To commemorate the event, Queensborough’s Harriet and Kenneth Kupferberg Holocaust Resource Center and Archives is hosting Kindertransport: a Unique Rescue Operation. It is an exhibit of photographs and first-hand accounts, vividly conveying the rescue mission.
Running July 12 – September 30, the exhibit opened with a ceremony to recognize the humanitarian role played by Great Britain in the Kindertransport. British Consul-General Danny Lopez accepted the Kupferberg Holocaust Center’s Freedom Award.
“The Holocaust was one of the bleakest episodes in human history, but via the Kindertransport, ordinary people across Britain rallied to the cause to support the 10,000 kinder that came to the UK,” said British Consul-General Lopez.
The Consul-General, who addressed a standing room only audience, was welcomed by Dr. Diane B. Call, Interim President of Queensborough Community College who said, “We are all grateful for the inspiring leadership and heroic actions of Great Britain to embrace the children of the Kindertransport.”
“When we teach of democracy in the Western world, most instructors begin with the Magna Carta. At the Kupferberg Center, we start with The Kindertransport and the unmatched dedication of the English people in rescuing 10,000 children from the Nazi terror,” commented Dr. Arthur Flug, Executive Director of the Kupferberg Holocaust Resource Center.
Kurt Goldberger, President of the Kindertransport Association, attended the event with his wife, Margaret, who was on the Kindertransport. She spoke of discovering—amongst her mother’s documents—an envelope dated 1939 that contained a lock of young Margaret’s long, dark hair.
Another survivor, Anita Weisbord, said, “My mother had the strength and foresight to put me on the Kindertransport. I am very lucky to be standing here to tell you I’m alive.”
British Consul-General Lopez added, “The Kindertransport story reminds us that action, compassion and charity can make a difference, and the British Government is committed to the preservation of Holocaust education for the next generation. I am moved by the efforts of the Kupferberg Holocaust Resource Center and the Kindertransport Association, and through your good work, the crucial lessons of the Holocaust will not fade.”
Queensborough Community College, established in 1960, is located on a lush 37-acre campus in Bayside, New York. The College offers a rich liberal arts and science curriculum as well as career and pre-professional courses. Comprising one of the most diverse populations of any college in the U.S., nearly 15,000 students pursue Associate degrees or Certificate programs and another 10,000 students of all ages attend continuing education programs. The College boasts Dual/Joint Degree programs in Nursing, Biotechnology, Criminal Justice and Education with its sister CUNY institutions— Hunter College, York College, John Jay College of Criminal Justice, and Queens College, respectively. Over half of the faculty holds doctorates, compared with 21 percent of faculty in other community colleges nationwide.