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Schools to play part in Holocaust Day

PUBLISHED: 09:33 04 December 2009 | UPDATED: 15:30 06 July 2010

THE horror of the Holocaust is something that must be remembered forever.

Approximately six million European Jews were systematically killed during world war two, as Adolf Hitler's troops swept across the continent in a way that will hopefully never be seen again.

THE horror of the Holocaust is something that must be remembered forever.

Approximately six million European Jews were systematically killed during world war two, as Adolf Hitler's troops swept across the continent in a way that will hopefully never be seen again.

To commemorate the victims and honour the survivors of the Holocaust and other genocides, Holocaust Memorial Day was established. On January 27 - the anniversary of the liberation of the infamous extermination camp Auschwitz-Birkenau - a whole host of events take place across the globe to tackle the prejudice, discrimination and racism that still take place today, while remembering the tragic loss of life this has caused.

To help mark this special event, Waveney District Council will be working in partnership with local schools and organisations to tell the story of how our region helped to house many Jewish refugee children 71 years ago.

In December 1938 Lowestoft railway station welcomed a train of young Jewish evacuees who were being sent to Pontins Holiday Camp in Pakefield as part of Kindertransport.

It was an evacuation that took place in 1938 and 1939, as the UK opened its borders to around 10,000 children who were fleeing Austria, Germany, Poland and Czechoslovakia.

Unaccompanied children between the ages of 5 and 17 were brought into the country as the British government relaxed immigration controls following the horrific events of Kristallnacht - an organised night of attacks on Austrian and German Jews in November 1938.

Charitable organisations such as the Red Cross helped to organise the evacuation, saving the lives of thousands as they were transported away from danger before the outbreak of war in September 1939.

Many children were sent to London while others were transported to holiday camps across the country as they waited for families, hostels, group homes or farms to offer them a room.

Locally, St Felix school in Southwold stepped forward to accommodate 200 Jewish refugee boys over the Christmas and New Year period of 1938, and the school's role will be recognised in the region's commemoration of Holocaust Memorial Day next year.

“It has been noted that the 'warmth of the welcome they received at St Felix overwhelmed them'. It was also noted that the voluntary efforts of the school staff and good friends of Southwold and the surrounding district made this such a success',” said Jo McCallum, of Waveney District Council, who is part of the organising group.

Anyone with any views, memories or photos of the arrival of Jewish evacuees to Lowestoft and Southwold is asked to contact Jo by calling 01502 523186 or emailing jo.mccallum@waveney.gov.uk


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