The Kindertransport (Children’s Transport) was a unique humanitarian rescue programme which ran between November 1938 and September 1939. Approximately 10,000 children, the majority of whom were Jewish, were sent from their homes and families in Germany, Austria and Czechoslovakia to Great Britain.
Lord Shinkwin said in his speech that he is an “indirect beneficiary of the Kindertransport”, explaining that “had Hanus Weisl, the teenager who would become my orthopaedic surgeon, not made it on to the last train out of Prague before the Nazis closed the border in June 1939, the chances are I would not have made it here to your Lordships’ House”.
He emphasised: “Today I speak with gratitude and with a sense of debt, as someone who, like him, would have been regarded by the Nazis as Untermensch or subhuman. For both Hanus Weisl and I would have been destined for extermination—he for being Jewish, I for being disabled, as part of the Nazis’ Aktion T4 programme”.
Lord Shinkwin concluded his speech by underlining that “there could be no more fitting commemoration of both the Kindertransport and those who did not escape to safety than a renewed commitment, by all parties, to combat the racism that is antisemitism”.
CFI Honorary President said that the “80th anniversary of the Kindertransport is a reminder of acts of kindness and bravery, a commitment to one’s fellows and a striving for a better world”.
Read the full speeches here.