Kindertransport participant to tell her story at WSCC.

April 5, 2018

Edith Maniker

Kindertransport participant to tell her story at WSCC.

VICTORY TOWNSHIP — West Shore Community College, in partnership with The Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies in Muskegon, will host Kindertransport survivor Edith Maniker on Tues., April 17, at 12:30 p.m., in the college’s Center Stage Theater.

The Kindertransport was an organized rescue effort that took place during the nine months prior to the outbreak of World War II. The United Kingdom took in nearly 10,000 predominantly Jewish children from Germany, Austria, Czechoslovakia, Poland, and the free city of Danzig. The children were placed in British foster homes, hostels, schools and farms.

Edith Maniker left Leipzig, Germany, at age 8 with her younger sister and her 7-month old cousin. She was first housed in London and then sent to the country in 1939, only to be brought back to London and sent to the country again because of the German bombing of London, known as the Blitz.

She lived in a mansion, stayed in Plymouth and was moved to London as preparations began for the Allied D-Day invasion, only to be in the V-1 and V-2 rocket attacks on London. At the end of the war, she never returned to Germany, but came to Detroit to live with an aunt and uncle.

“Her story is filled with adventure and surprise,” said WSCC Professor Mike Nagle who is organizing the event. “This will be an amazing primary source for anyone wishing to learn about child survivors and the odyssey of children rescued prior to Germany closing the doors.”

The first Kindertransport arrived at Harwich, England, on Dec. 2, 1938, bringing 196 children from a Berlin Jewish orphanage burned by the Nazis during the night of Nov. 9. Most of the transports left by train from Vienna, Berlin, Prague and other major cities.

Children from small towns traveled to meet the transports, crossed the Dutch and Belgian borders, and went on by ship to England. Hundreds of children remained in Belgium and the Netherlands. The transports ended with the outbreak of war in September 1939. One very last transport left on the freighter Bodegraven from Ymuiden on May 14, 1940 – the day Rotterdam was bombed, one day before Holland surrendered – raked by gunfire from German warplanes.

The 80 children on deck had been brought by earlier transports to imagined safety in the Netherlands. Altogether, though exact figures are unknown, the Kindertransports saved around 10,000 children, most of them Jewish, from Germany, Austria, Czechoslovakia and Poland. None were accompanied by their parents; a few were babies carried by children.

The presentation is free and open to the public, but seats are limited.

For more information, contact Nagle at [email protected] or 231-843-5905 to make a group reservation.

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