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On this day: Jewish children saved from the Holocaust


75 years ago today, the first Kindertransport arrived in Harwich, Great Britain, bringing 200 children from a Jewish orphanage in Berlin that had been destroyed on Kristallnacht. These rescue efforts, organized by Jewish communal groups in Germany and Austria, would eventually bring more than 9,000 children to safe haven in Great Britain. Most would never see their parents again.

One of the children was Alice (Eberstarkova) Maters who was born in Czechoslovakia in 1925. Alice grew up in a small village. She was the middle of three daughters in a well-to-do, close-knit family. Her parents were religious and active in the Jewish community. After the German annexation of parts of Czechoslovakia in March 1939, antisemitism became more pronounced.

Alice's uncle, a businessman who had moved to Great Britain, helped her parents arrange to send Alice and her two sisters on a Kindertransport (Children's Transport) to Britain. The sisters lived in a children's home in the south of England, near the coast. They had to be evacuated from the area in 1941. Alice then attended school, graduated, and worked in a book shop in London for about a year. In 1943 or 1944, she began to work as a bilingual secretary for the Czech government-in-exile. Alice immigrated to the United States in 1948.

In 1995 Alice described arriving on a Kindertransport in 1939 and being taken to a home for refugee children in the south of England.

Use this link to hear Alice describes her arrival in England as a child in 1939.



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