How the Journal reported on refugees arriving in Lowestoft back in 1938

Refugees arrive at St Felix School in Southwold.

Refugees arrive at St Felix School in Southwold. - Credit: Supplied

As people gathered at Lowestoft railway station to mark Holocaust Memorial Day recently, a look at the Journal archives reveals how we covered events back in 1938.

The Lowestoft Journal from 1938, detailing the arrival of refugees in Lowestoft.

The Lowestoft Journal from 1938, detailing the arrival of refugees in Lowestoft. - Credit: Nick Butcher

The Lowestoft Journal reported on December 17, 1938 that the refugees had arrived earlier that week - and gave observations about the children, a welcome by the mayor and a message printed in German to the refugees themselves.

The article began: 'There were scenes of the greatest animation at Lowestoft Central Station on Monday afternoon, when the special train from Parkeston Quay arrived with 520 child refugees, the majority from Vienna.

'Arrangement has been made for their accommodation at the Pakefield Holiday Camp, and during the week-end Mr. H. C. Barratt, and Mr. Butler (camp manager), had been hard at work making the necessary preparations for the children, the tragedy of whose lives was brought home to the large crowd which watched them transferred from the train to the buses which conveyed them to the camp.'

The group was met by the mayor, Dr Barraclough, and The Journal reported how 'the excited youngsters, their fears apparently dispelled on reaching British soil, waved and sang'.

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Dr Barraclough said: 'I do hope you will be very happy here, and I am sure you will be happier here than you have been recently.'

One of the older girls, Alice Gusowski, then read a message to the people of Lowestoft on behalf of the refugees.

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She said: 'Sir, in the name of all my friends, I wish to thank you for the kind welcome you have given us.

'We were all very happy to come here, and were much impressed by the reception which we were given at the station. We thank you very much, dear sir.'

In 1938 The Journal printed this message to the refugees, in German and in English:

WE GREET YOU The Lowestoft Journal greets you, Jewish children in the name of the inhabitants of Lowestoft, and wishes you all the best in your new life. We know the hardships you and your people have undergone, and you can be certain that our sincere sympathy is with you. To make up for a land whose scenic beauty attracts visitors from all over the world, we offer you a home in a land in which the oppressed have been welcome in all ages. Great as must be the joy of feeling yourselves once more free, we hope you will soon know the greater joy of reunion with your parents. Till then we say to you all, 'Good luck for the future.'

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