Walter Kammerling and Herta Plaschkes ( a love story)
Walter and Herta’s incredible love story begins with them travelling on the Kindertransport from Vienna one month apart, not meeting until several years later in London.
Walter Kammerling was 15 when he arrived from Vienna, Austria in December 1938.
Herta Plaschkes was 12 when she arrived from Vienna, Austria on 12 January 1939.
It would be three more years before they would meet and begin a lifetime of happiness together.
Walter came on the Kindertransport alone, leaving his sister and his parents behind. After his arrival in the UK, he stayed briefly at a camp in Dovercourt, Essex and was then transferred, with a group of teenagers, to a farm in Northern Ireland where they worked hard and ‘grew up’. Walter then came to London to work.
Herta had travelled on the Kindertransport with her younger brother, Otto. Both went to a family in Liverpool, which was not a happy experience for them, and at 15 she came to London to work and live in a hostel.
It was here that Herta and Walter met when they both joined the left-wing Young Austria group. They fell in love and married while Walter was on Army Leave in Salisbury in 1944.
Sadly Walter's family did not survive the Holocaust and perished in Auschwitz.
After the war, Walter and Herta decided to return to Vienna to help build a better country. They had two children there but with the Russian invasion of Hungary in 1956 they were again forced to flee to the UK. They moved to Bournemouth near Herta’s parents who had managed to escape Vienna in the last few months before the outbreak of war.
Walter became an engineer and lecturer and Herta became a teacher and volunteer for various charities, which she continues to do into her nineties. Walter now spends his time giving talks to children in school. They have two sons, five grandchildren and one great granddaughter. Their amazing love story continues.
In 2018, their son Peter visited World Jewish Relief to receive his parent's original Kindertransport archive files which he said gave him a 'fascinating insight' into his parents earlier lives and he 'loved' that aspects of his mum's case file revealed her rebellious teenage nature! Peter explained
"The real beauty of these archives is that they exist, provide supportable evidence of what happened and will not be subject to alteration or forgetting as the people in it get older. It's tremendous that so many of these archives exist."