Sir Erich Reich, the smallest boy in railway Kindertransport statue, dies aged 87

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Sir Erich Reich, the smallest boy in railway Kindertransport statue, dies aged 87

The philanthropist and survivor was knighted for his charitable work twelve years ago

Jenni Frazer is a freelance journalist

Sir Erich Reich standing next to the Kindertransport statue outside Liverpool Street station
Sir Erich Reich standing next to the Kindertransport statue outside Liverpool Street station

Tributes have been paid to the philanthropist and Holocaust survivor Sir Erich Reich, who died suddenly on Wednesday, aged 87.

Manna, the UK branch of the Israeli charity Meir Panim, said: “We are hugely saddened by the passing of Sir Erich Reich, our honorary president, former chairman and friend.

“For many years, he generously supported and championed the important work that Manna Meir Panim does in Israel, and we greatly appreciate the time and kindness Sir Erich gave to us.

“Our heartfelt condolences go out to his family.”

The Association of Jewish Refugees also paid tribute.

In a statement, the AJR said: “Sir Erich was a long-time prominent member of the AJR, a former trustee and chair of AJR’s Kindertransport group, a role which he embraced with great responsibility.

“He was always ready to advocate for and represent his fellow Kinder.

“Sir Erich was proud to be the smallest boy depicted in the famous Kindertransport statue by Frank Meisler at Liverpool Street Station, yet he had few memories of his own journey to the UK in 1939, at the age of four.

“Born in Vienna in 1935, Sir Erich never saw his parents again after they made the decision to send him and his brothers to safety; he later found out that his parents were murdered at Auschwitz.

“In 2010 Sir Erich was knighted for his charitable work which has enabled thousands of people to raise millions of pounds through sponsored challenges such as bike rides and treks.”

Michael Newman, chief executive of the AJR, added: “We are all deeply shocked and hugely saddened by this terrible news. Erich was a great personal friend and mentor to me, and a popular presence at any AJR gathering.

“We will all miss him terribly. We send our sincere condolences to his family and will greatly treasure the happy memories we have of him.”

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