FAU and Kindertransport Association Commemorate the 75th Anniversary of the Kindertransport
BOCA RATON, Fla. (December 4, 2013) – Florida Atlantic University’s Center for Holocaust and Human Rights Education and the Florida Chapter of the Kindertransport Association (KTA) will commemorate the 75th anniversary of the Kindertransport on Sunday, Dec. 8 at 6 p.m., at Spanish River Library, 1501 Spanish River Blvd., in Boca Raton.
Boca Raton Deputy Mayor Susan Haynie will read to Kinder, their descendants and friends, a proclamation officially commemorating the Kindertransport which evacuated children in danger from Nazi Germany to Britain. Also scheduled to speak is Kevin McGurkin, the British Consul General, Miami. Students from Park Vista High School Debate Team, under the guidance of teacher Bonnie Cohen, will re-enact the Refugee Crisis Debate that occurred on the floor of the House of Commons on Nov. 21, 1938. Several Kinder will be interviewed regarding their experiences during their time in Britain. Afterward, Cantor Stephanie Shore from Congregation B’Nai Israel will lead special music with her band, The Acoushticks.
In the months between the Kristallnacht Pogrom of Nov. 9-10, 1938 and the start of World War II, nearly 10,000 mostly Jewish children were sent without their parents out of Nazi Germany, Austria, Poland and Czechoslovakia to safety in Great Britain. The first Kindertransport arrived at Harwich, England on Dec. 2, 1938, bringing 196 children from a Berlin Jewish orphanage burned by the Nazis. Most of the transports left by train from Vienna, Berlin, Prague and other major cities (children from small towns traveled to meet the transports), crossed the Dutch and Belgian borders, and went on by ship to England. Hundreds of children remained in Belgium and Holland. The transports ended with the outbreak of war in September 1939. Many of the children saved by the Kindertransport rescue movement in 1938-1939 are living as adults in South Florida now. Kindertransport survivors frequently speak to school children through the Center for Holocaust and Human Rights Education’s Speaker’s Bureau.
“This decision to rescue Jewish children from Nazi Germany reminds us of what dedicated, politically involved humanitarians can do in short order to respond to human suffering and effectively to preserve life,” said Rose Gatens, director of the FAU Center for Holocaust and Human Rights Education.
Anita Hoffer, president of the Florida Chapter of the KTA, said, “It is difficult to imagine that it has been 75 years since I was put on a train for Britain in June 1939. I cried and screamed. No one had told me that I was leaving a warm, loving family and going to live with strangers in a foreign country. Now it is 2013, and as president of the Kindertransport Association of Florida, I am happy to be alive and able to celebrate this event.”
The commemoration event is by invitation only, and because of space limitations, is not open to the public. Members of the press are invited to attend.
-FAU-About Florida Atlantic University:
Florida Atlantic University, established in 1961, officially opened its doors in 1964 as the fifth public university in Florida. Today, the University, with an annual economic impact of $6.3 billion, serves more than 30,000 undergraduate and graduate students at sites throughout its six-county service region in southeast Florida. FAU’s world-class teaching and research faculty serves students through 10 colleges: the Dorothy F. Schmidt College of Arts and Letters, the College of Business, the College for Design and Social Inquiry, the College of Education, the College of Engineering and Computer Science, the Graduate College, the Harriet L. Wilkes Honors College, the Charles E. Schmidt College of Medicine, the Christine E. Lynn College of Nursing and the Charles E. Schmidt College of Science. FAU is ranked as a High Research Activity institution by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. The University is placing special focus on the rapid development of three signature themes – marine and coastal issues, biotechnology and contemporary societal challenges – which provide opportunities for faculty and students to build upon FAU’s existing strengths in research and scholarship. For more information, visit www.fau.edu.
About the Center for Holocaust and Human Rights Education at Florida Atlantic University:
FAU’s Center for Holocaust and Human Rights Education was established in 1996 by the Florida Department of Education to support teachers implementing the state’s mandate for Holocaust education. Through its training, programs and resources, the Center seeks to educate students about the Holocaust in order to nurture citizens who recognize prejudice and hatred, including anti-Semitism and racism; understand that such beliefs can lead to genocide; know how to intervene against prejudice and hatred; be prepared to act on behalf of others, even those you may not know; and understand citizen’s responsibility for upholding democracy in a pluralistic society.
bout The Kindertransport Association (KTA)
The KTA is a not-for profit organization, headed by a membership-elected national Board of Directors with active chapters in Pennsylvania, Florida, California, Toronto, Washington DC, and New York. Informal Kinder networks exist in many other parts of the United States, Canada and in Israel. The KTA publishes a quarterly journal, Kinderlink, and the Speaker’s Bureau provides materials and speakers for public forums. The KTA sponsors regional informal and social gatherings and holds national conventions, usually every second year, which feature prominent speakers and workshops on a variety of themes – historical, psychological, generational – suggested by the membership. The KTA also raises funds to help children in danger and need, as we once were. For more information, visit www.kta.org