King thanked for ‘loving kindness’ in ‘fractured world’ at Kristallnacht event

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King thanked for ‘loving kindness’ in ‘fractured world’ at Kristallnacht event

Chief Rabbi Sir Ephraim Mirvis praises monarch for “connecting so meaningfully” with Kindertransport refugees on 85th anniversary of the 'Night of Broken Glass'

King Charles III meets Kindertransport refugees and guests, from the Association of Jewish Refugees, during a visit to the Central Synagogue in central London to commemorate the 85th anniversary of Kristallnacht.  Picture date: Thursday November 9, 2023. Aaron Chown/PA Wire
King Charles III meets Kindertransport refugees and guests, from the Association of Jewish Refugees, during a visit to the Central Synagogue in central London to commemorate the 85th anniversary of Kristallnacht. Picture date: Thursday November 9, 2023. Aaron Chown/PA Wire

The King has been hailed as an “outstanding exemplar of loving kindness” in a “fractured world” after he met with a group of Kindertransport refugees in commemoration of the 85th anniversary of Kristallnacht.

Translated to Night of Broken Glass, Kristallnacht was a wave of Nazi co-ordinated violence against Jews across Germany which began on November 9 1938 that is so called because of the debris left from the destruction of Jewish properties and synagogues.

As a result of the violence, the UK Government began to allow unaccompanied Jewish children into the country as refugees, a movement that came to be known as the Kindertransport.

At the Central Synagogue in London last Thursday, Chief Rabbi Sir Ephraim Mirvis referenced the Israel-Hamas conflict as he thanked Charles for his support and for “connecting so meaningfully” with the “Kinder” after the King unveiled a plaque commemorating his visit.

“At this moment, parts of our world are broken,” the Rabbi said.

“There is hatred, there is conflict and there is a tragic war raging in Israel. Our world desperately needs outstanding exemplars of chesed – loving kindness – and this is exactly what Our Majesty the King is.”

The audience chanted “hear hear”.

The Chief Rabbi added: “Thank you for your contribution towards healing our fractured world.”

Charles was looking down during the address and joined everyone in saying “Amen” at its conclusion.

Before the short speech, the King spoke with the Kinder, many of whom are now in their eighties and nineties, in the event jointly organised with the Association of Jewish Refugees.

He told the first table: “How you have managed to endure all of this is truly remarkable.”

Before he left to sit elsewhere, he said: “You make me very proud.”

At another table, he joked about his memory, saying it started to get worse after he turned 70.

Anne Woolf-Skinner, 86, from Epsom, Surrey, was sitting next to him as he made the quips.

Of his visit to the synagogue, she told the PA news agency: “I think it means everything really. I know he’s very, very interested in the Holocaust survivors and I think it’s wonderful that he can find the time to do it. He’s so lovely with everybody.”

Ruth Jacobs, who came to the UK with her brother Harry Heber when she was 10 and he seven, told PA the King was “patient” with them.

The siblings grew up in Austria and “had to leave” after Kristallnacht.

“We were taken under escort to Vienna,” she said.

“We had two hours’ notice to leave our home.”

One man wished Charles a happy birthday as he left his table.

The King responded: “You are very well-informed.”

The Kindertransport brought some 10,000 children aged between three and 17 to safety from Germany, Austria, Czechoslovakia and Poland in the lead-up to the Second World War. Most were Jewish and more than half the children never saw their parents again.

The first transport, from an orphanage in Berlin, arrived into London Liverpool Street station on December 2 1938 while some of the children rescued went to Southampton by boat. The first transport from Vienna left on December 11 the same year.

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