The Kindertransport (children’s transport) was a rescue mission that saved the lives of nearly 10,000 Jewish children from Nazi-occupied territories in the nine months leading up to the outbreak of the Second World War. The first Kindertransport arrived in Harwich, Essex, on 2 December 1938 with 200 children, most of whom were from a Jewish orphanage in Berlin which had been burnt down during the Kristallnacht pogrom.

Some found shelter in the homes, schools and hostels that opened in Surrey specifically to accommodate Jewish children escaping Nazi oppression. The children had been admitted to Britain on temporary travel permits with the idea that they would later rejoin their families. Most never saw their parents again.

Stoatley Rough School in Haslemere was founded by Dr Hilde Lion in 1934, initially catering mainly for refugee Jewish children. The school’s main archive is held at the London School of Economics, but Surrey History Centre holds some records relating to the closure of the school and to reunions of former ‘Stoatley Roughians’. Some published reminiscences of the school can also be found in Surrey History Centre’s local studies library. Further information about the school can be found here.

Rowledge House near Farnham served as a Jewish Bachad hostel for evacuee, refugee, and Kindertransport children from 1942 to 1945. Surrey History Centre’s archives include film footage and papers relating to the hostel’s history and the unveiling of a commemorative plaque in 2012. Further information about Rowledge Hostel can be found here.

After the war, Weir Courtney in Lingfield (the home of Sir Benjamin and Lady Drage) served as a hostel for a number of young Holocaust survivors who were cared for by Alice Goldberger and her staff. Records of Jewish children at Weir Courtney in 1947 appear in the Dormansland school registers in Surrey History Centre’s archive (SHC ref. 8666/1), and Surrey History Centre’s library contains published recollections of the hostel and of some of its occupants.

Orphaned Jewish children in the garden at Weir Courtney, c.1946.
Reproduced courtesy of Hazel Hawkes. (SHC ref. Z/448/1a)

Do You Recall A German Boy Who Came To Guildford As A Wartime Refugee?

In August 1939, Kurt Rosenfeld arrived in Britain as a Kindertransport refugee and was taken in by a kindly, elderly couple, Major and Mrs Shelley, who lived in Guildford. When he arrived, Kurt could not speak English, but he soon adjusted to the Guildford way of life, becoming a member of a local scout troop and a keen rugby player.

Kurt’s nephew, Andrew Schindel, visited Surrey History Centre recently as he is keen to find out as much as he can about his uncle’s time in Guildford. Can you help?

Read the full article on the Guildford Dragon website.


2013 was the 75th anniversary of the beginning of the Kindertransports to Britain.

Other links:

Article on entrepreneur, Sir Erich Reich, who arrived on the last Kindertransport and was fostered by a Dorking family:

The Kindertransport Association:

Association of Jewish Refugees:

Imperial War Museum:

Royal Holloway University of London Holocaust Research Centre.

Wiener Library:

Jewish communities in Surrey

One thought on “Kindertransport”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *