Concerns are mounting for a cherished Kindertransport memorial missing for almost four years from outside a train station where 124 children were given safe passage from the Nazis.
The statue by British-Israeli artist Frank Meisler, similar to one by late sculpturist on display at Liverpool Street Station, was removed in early 2019 from outside Gdańsk station – the Polish town where Meisler was born – to allow for renovations to the concourse. Entitled ‘Kindertransport – The Departure’, it had been in place for almost a decade.
Following its removal, local authorities assured Rabbi Michal Samet of Gdańsk synagogue that the statue would return “within two months”. Now, almost four years later, fears are mounting among the local Jewish community that the iconic artwork – marking the place where four Kindertransports took youngsters to safety before September 1939 – may not return to public display.
Tamara Meyer, a member of the Kindertransport Dialogue Facebook group, has appealed to Gdańsk’s mayor, Aleksandra Dulkiewicz, for information.
She said: “I received an email saying that renovation works are still underway at the railway station, all these years later. So the monument is still dismantled and in a warehouse. Apparently there is a chance for it to finally reappear next the spring but it’s been so long we’re not holding our breath.”
Meyer, whose mother fled Germany as a child before the war, added: “We need to bring the statue back where it belongs, in front of the train station where many Jewish children said goodbye to their parents for the last time.”
Inspektor Patryk Rosińsky from Gdańsk City Hall told Jewish News: “The exact date (of the monument’s return) is not yet known. It could be by next spring.”
Frank Meisler’s daughter, Marit, told Jewish News: “I hope the monument is returned to us eventually as a reminder of what these children, including my father, went through.”
Frank Meisler died in Israel in 2018 at the age of 92. A plaque was unveiled by the local mayor on the wall of the building which today stands on the site of his childhood home in Gdańsk (formerly Danzig).
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