The Chief Rabbi lit the first Chanukah candle at a moving commemorative ceremony at Liverpool Street Station to mark the 80th anniversary of the Kindertransport. It was on Sunday 2nd December 1938 that the first group of children from Germany arrived in Britain as part of the unique rescue mission.
The audience listens to German Ambassador Peter Wittig at Liverpool Street Station
More than 250 people braved the wind and rain to attend the ceremony in Hope Square, next to Frank Meisler's Kindertransport Statue, including around 30 Kinder and their families along with the ambassadors of Germany, Israel and Slovakia and the Chief Rabbi.
Rabbi Willy Wolff with Bob Kirk who came to Britain on the Kindertransport
The walkers from Liberal Jewish Synagogue at Liverpool Street Station
They were joined by a group of walkers who headed off from the Liberal Jewish Synagogue in St John's Wood at lunchtime to walk to Liverpool Street, taking approximately 10,000 steps for the 10,000 children saved by the Kindertransport.
Ruth Barnett speaks about her experience as a Kindertransport child
Ruth Barnett spoke about her experience of coming to Britain as a four year old on the Kindertransport from Berlin and called for tolerance and kindness towards refugees. Ruth spends her time travelling the UK sharing her experience with a wide range of schools, faith groups and community organisations.
German Ambassador Peter Wittig speaks to the crowd during the ceremony
Ambassador Peter Wittig, the German ambassador to the UK, said that amid the ‘blind racial hatred of the Nazi regime’ the Kindertransport represented a ‘beacon of humanity in inhumane times’.
Rabbi Jackie Tabick read the memorial prayer for those who perished in the Holocaust including the families of the children who were saved by the Kindertransport.
The Chief Rabbi and Valerie Mirvis sitting next to Harry Bibring, who came on the Kindertransport
The Chief Rabbi spoke movingly about the Kindertransport and then led the crowd in an emotional rendition of Maatzoor.
Harry Heber (above) and his sister Ruth Jacobs (below) came on the Kindertransport together aged 7 and 10. You can read more about their story here.
Rafi Cooper, Director of Communications for World Jewish Relief said:
“It was an honour to share the commemorative event with the Kinder and their families. They are such a special group of people who have made outstanding contributions to British society. Their stories inspire World Jewish Relief’s work today, particularly in supporting people who have fled their homes with nothing and had to rebuild lives and livelihoods. The Kindertransport will continue to be a shining light for humanity and I look forward to the 90th anniversary celebrations!”
The Kinder with the Chief Rabbi