Kindertransport Memory Quilts
About The Kindertransport Quilts
As the German government intensified the anti-Jewish legislation that threatened the lives of Jews living in Nazi-occupied Europe, efforts to rescue them were initiated throughout the Western world. Only Great Britain responded, following Kristallnacht, by changing its immigration laws to allow children up to the age of 17 to enter the country. This change led to the Kindertransport, the mass evacuation of nearly 10,000 children in the nine months before the outbreak of war in Europe. It was made possible through the selfless efforts of many individuals, and the commitment of Jewish and non-Jewish organizations working on behalf of the families and children.
From December 1938 to September 1939, desperate Jewish parents in Germany, Austria and Czechoslovakia said goodbye as they watched their children board sealed railroad cars for the first leg of their journey out of harm’s way. The second leg was on a ship that would take them to England. Once there, the children were placed with foster parents; in group homes, orphanages or hostels; on working farms and in domestic service. As they came of age, many fought as soldiers. After the war, they took their places as productive citizens in many different countries. Most of the children never saw their parents again.
In 1988, Anita Grosz, the daughter of Kindertransport survivor Hanus Grosz, conceived of the idea of preserving the memories of the Kindertransport experience through the art of quilting. The “Kinder”, now adults, created the squares that grew into the quilts in this exhibit. Sharing their experiences in this form opened an avenue for releasing what often were long-repressed memories too difficult to verbalize. The quilts also serve as a vital link in the recorded history of the Holocaust.
The exhibit is made possible through the financial support of the community and the Kindertransport Association. The audio presentation represents the individual Kindertransport memories that accompanied each quilt square. Some of the voices you hear are those of the actual “Kinder” who created these quilts.
The Kindertransport Memory Quilts have been loaned on a permanent basis to the Holocaust Memorial Center Zekelman Family Campus, by Kirsten Grosz and her family, in memory of Hanus Grosz, the Kinder and their brave parents.