Berlin to London: The Kindertransport commemorative bike ride
Between 17 and 22 June, something extraordinary is happening. 42 cyclists, aged between 14 and 81, are making their way from London, Leeds, Manchester, Israel, Indonesia and the USA to Friedrichstrasse Station in Berlin, where the very first Kindertransport train departed from almost 80 years ago.
These intrepid riders will then cycle the same route the Kindertransport children took, from Berlin via the Hook of Holland and ferry to Harwich, Essex, before ending in a final push to London Liverpool Street Station. They’ll be covering 600 miles in 6 days.
This unique cycling event is in commemoration of 80 years since our founders (then known as the CBF) were instrumental in making the Kindertransport happen. You can read more about our history here.
Each cyclist is riding to commemorate an individual ‘Kind’ (child), some because of a personal connection, others in memory of a child helped by World Jewish Relief in the 1930s and 40s. We are thrilled that a few of these surviving Kinder will be there to welcome the riders on their return at Liverpool Street station, the very location at which the Kindertransport trains arrived into London in the late 1930s.
All of the cyclists are remarkable, including one who came on the Kindertransport himself. Here are just a few of their stories:
Paul Alexander (in yellow) was just a one-year-old when his mother thrust him into the arms of a nursemaid and put him on a train to London. He now lives in Israel and is triumphantly returning for the ride, alongside his son Nadav and grandson Daniel, which he feels will be a powerful symbol of victory over oppression. Read more about Paul’s kindertransport story.
Phil Harris will be starting his journey from his grandmother’s old apartment in Berlin, the very same one she left from when she boarded the Kindertransport. Two days after his return he will be having a Jewish wedding to his gorgeous partner Philly.
Until a year ago, Ian Goldsmith didn’t know that his father and uncle were on the Kindertransport. It was only when he applied to World Jewish Relief’s archives to see if we had case files that could prove his German heritage that a whole new family history opened up to him. Read more about Ian’s kindertransport story.
We will be sharing regular updates from the ride on our social media pages so do keep an eye on our activities.
Follow the ride on Facebook.
Or check it out on Instagram.
The story of this inspirational ride has been covered in the press, you can read some of this coverage here:
Ride start press coverage:
Ride finish press coverage: