OPINION: Statue compels us to embrace today’s kinder
search

The latest Jewish News

Read this week’s digital edition

Click Here
Analysis

OPINION: Statue compels us to embrace today’s kinder

The Liverpool Street Kindertransport memorial is an educational resource fascinating passers-by, tourists & school children, writes Michael Newman of AJR and Paul Anticoni of WJR

Liverpool Street Station Kindertransport memorial
Liverpool Street Station Kindertransport memorial

2 December, marks the 83rd anniversary of the arrival of the first Kindertransport, an unprecedented act of rescue that saved the lives of some 10,000 mostly Jewish children who fled Nazi oppression.

Their experiences and contributions have become part of the fabric of society and are cited as the example in contemporary calls to move the youngest victims of terror and war out of harm’s way.

In 2006, World Jewish Relief and The Association of Jewish Refugees (AJR) were honoured and delighted to inaugurate the Kindertransport statue that adorns the entrance to Liverpool Street station, the principle arrival point for many of the kinder. Designed by Frank Meisler, a kind who came from Danzig, the monument depicts five disorientated children, including a four-year old Sir Erich Reich.

World Jewish Relief played an instrumental role alongside other agencies, faith groups and altruistic individuals in instigating and implementing the Kindertransports, and the AJR has for eight decades been the national organisation representing the Jewish refugees, their dependents and descendants.

Both agencies to this day play critical roles in their support of refugees with World Jewish Relief at the forefront of the Jewish community’s response to current crises, while the AJR disburses social welfare and financial support to enable our members to live in dignity, comfort and security.

To coincide with this year’s anniversary of that first arrival, we are equally delighted to have arranged for a deep clean of the statue, which had become tarnished, in order to restore the monument to its original vibrancy.

In so doing we also want to acknowledge and thank all those who clear away litter from the statue, including staff from the restaurants that overlook the statue, all of which helps preserve the sanctity of the monument.

The statue is a national symbol honouring the children who came but also their parents who sent them to safety and all those involved in their rescue and re-settlement.

From the clothes worn by the children to flourishes like the violin on the boy’s suitcase, the statue reflects the culture and heritage of the child refugees but also serves as a warning and a permanent reminder of where unchecked antisemitism can lead as well as the dangers of inaction in the face of persecution. In an era when the number of people feeling conflict worldwide is a staggering 82 million and when the complexities of migration appear insurmountable, the statue reminds us of our Jewish responsibility to welcome the stranger and save a life.

The monument is an educational resource fascinating passers-by, tourists and school children alike.

Together with the unique archive of World Jewish Relief and the audio-visual and written archives of the AJR, the statue is used to deliver Holocaust education while at the same time is a precious resource that helps to combat Holocaust denial and distortion and antisemitism.

Many of the kinder, like other waves of refugees and those who have come to this country as migrants fleeing persecution, went on to make disproportionate contributions to their adopted homeland.

We would be all the poorer were it not for Dame Stephanie Shirley’s innovation and Lord Alf Dubs’ advocacy while Sir Erich Reich’s fundraising has enabled charities to benefit from extensive support.

 

Michael Newman

Chief Executive, Association of Jewish Refugees

 

Paul Anticoni

Chief Executive,
World Jewish Relief

Plaque below the Liverpool St monument

Support your Jewish community. Support your Jewish News

Thank you for helping to make Jewish News the leading source of news and opinion for the UK Jewish community. Today we're asking for your invaluable help to continue putting our community first in everything we do.

Unlike other Jewish media, we do not charge for content. That won’t change. Because we are free, we rely on advertising to cover our costs. This vital lifeline, which has dropped in recent years, has fallen further due to coronavirus.

For as little as £5 a month you can help sustain the vital work we do in celebrating and standing up for Jewish life in Britain.

Jewish News holds our community together and keeps us connected. Like a synagogue, it’s where people turn to feel part of something bigger. It also proudly shows the rest of Britain the vibrancy and rich culture of modern Jewish life.

You can make a quick and easy one-off or monthly contribution of £5, £10, £20 or any other sum you’re comfortable with.

100% of your donation will help us continue celebrating our community, in all its dynamic diversity...

Engaging

Being a community platform means so much more than producing a newspaper and website. One of our proudest roles is media partnering with our invaluable charities to amplify the outstanding work they do to help us all.

Celebrating

There’s no shortage of oys in the world but Jewish News takes every opportunity to celebrate the joys too, through projects like Night of Heroes, 40 Under 40 and other compelling countdowns that make the community kvell with pride.

Pioneering

In the first collaboration between media outlets from different faiths, Jewish News worked with British Muslim TV and Church Times to produce a list of young activists leading the way on interfaith understanding.

Campaigning

Royal Mail issued a stamp honouring Holocaust hero Sir Nicholas Winton after a Jewish News campaign attracted more than 100,000 backers. Jewish Newsalso produces special editions of the paper highlighting pressing issues including mental health and Holocaust remembrance.

Easy access

In an age when news is readily accessible, Jewish News provides high-quality content free online and offline, removing any financial barriers to connecting people.

Voice of our community to wider society

The Jewish News team regularly appears on TV, radio and on the pages of the national press to comment on stories about the Jewish community. Easy access to the paper on the streets of London also means Jewish News provides an invaluable window into the community for the country at large.

We hope you agree all this is worth preserving.

read more:
comments