The Albert Wisner Public Library, located at 1 McFarland Dr. in Warwick, will show the film “Into the Arms of Strangers” on Holocaust Remembrance Day, Mon., Apr. 24 at 1 p.m. Linda Dubin, who introduced the Holocaust movie “The Courageous Heart of Irena Sendler” last year will introduce the movie and provide some information on the Holocaust and the Kindertransport. This event is free and open to the public.
The film tells about a rescue mission called The Kinder (Children’s) Transport which took place from Dec 2, 1938 to Sept 1, 1939. Ten thousand Jewish children were saved when they arrived in England from Germany, Austria, Czechoslovakia and Poland, unaccompanied by their parents.
How was the Kindertransport set up & why was it needed?
Although Hitler’s campaign against the Jews began as early as 1933 when Hitler was elected Chancellor of Germany, it escalated during Kristallnacht on Nov. 9 and 10, 1939. Throughout Germany, bands of brown shirts (Nazi’s) deliberately destroyed Jewish synagogues, businesses, and homes and attacked and arrested many Jewish people. Many of the building were burned and there was a pall of smoke hanging over the cities of Germany. So many windows in the synagogues, businesses and homes were destroyed that these two days were known as Kristallnacht or “night of the broken glass.”
On Nov 15, 1938, five days after Kristallnacht, a delegation of British, Jewish and Quaker leaders appealed to the Prime Minister of Great Britain, Neville Chamberlain, and requested that the British government permit the temporary admission of Jewish children without their parents. A Bill in Parliament was quickly passed to allow up to 15,000 children, from infants to age 17, to enter Great Britain. A number of charitable agencies combined to fund it, guaranteed 50 pounds Sterling for each child, and helped find foster homes for the children. The first group of 200 children arrived at Harwich on Dec 21, 1938, just three weeks after Kristallnacht. In the following nine months, 10,000 Jewish children traveled from Germany, Austria, Czechoslovakia and Poland to Great Britain until Sept 1, 1939, the day Poland was invaded by Germany. On Sept. 3, 1939, England and France declared war on Germany and WWII officially began in Europe.
“Into the Arms of Strangers” tells the stories of some of these kinder (children), their families and life in Europe in 1938. Many photos from 1938 are included in the film. The movie is also about the English families who took these children in and gave them a home, at a time when the world looked the other way.
Despite the horrors of the Holocaust, the Kindertransport showed that there is goodness and compassion in the world. Even in the worst of times, people can still act with foresight and charity. For more information call 986-1047, ext. 3 or visit www.albertwisnerlibrary.org.