A new memorial dedicated to the 10,000 Jewish children spirited out of Nazi Germany to Britain 70 years ago will be unveiled in Berlin. Designed by artist and eyewitness Frank Meisler, the sculpture depicts children about to board a train as part of the “Kindertransport,” which is how Meisler himself survived. Many of those children never saw their parents again.
The memorial, schedule to be unveiled on Nov. 30, will stand outside Berlin’s Friedrichstrasse train station, from which the first emergency transports of Jewish children from Germany and Austria took off for England on Dec. 1, 1938, less than a month after the Kristallnacht pogrom of Nov. 9, 1938. The transports stopped with the outbreak of World War II in September 1939. Meisler’s new sculpture has a counterpart outside Liverpool Street Station, which is where he arrived at the end of August 1939 with 14 other children from his home city of Danzig, today Gdansk, Poland. Another of his sculptures of Kindertransport children was dedicated last March at the Westbahnhof in Vienna. The artist and architect has lived in Israel since 1960. Berlin’s Mitte district council approved Meisel’s gift of the memorial sculpture, overcoming aesthetic differences with the city’s cultural department. Titled “Trains to life — and trains to death,” it depicts older children on their way to safety, taking leave of younger children not permitted to come along, who were ultimately deported and murdered. The project was coordinated by Lisa Sch??fer and supported by the Jewish Community of Berlin, the International Auschwitz Committee, the “Train of Remembrance” project, District Mayor Christian Hanke and Berlin’s Commissioner for Domestic Affairs Ehrhart K??rting.
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