Jewish Kindertransport of WW2

The Kindertransport Memorial in London

The Kindertransport (German for “children’s transport”) was an organised rescue effort that took place during the nine months prior to the outbreak of the Second World War. The United Kingdom took in nearly 10,000 predominantly Jewish children, of whom many were accommodated by Refugee Children’s Movement local committees in rural North and Mid Wales (Colwyn Bay, Rhyl, Llandudo and Bangor, Aberystwyth, Builth Wells, and Llandrindod) as well as South Wales’ urban centres such as Cardiff, Swansea and Newport.

“Organised by banker Nicholas Winton, over 130 Czech-Jewish children were transported to the small Welsh town of Llanwrtyd Wells in 1943. Educated in English at the makeshift school in the Abernant Lake Hotel, the community became a home for many of these children, acting as both a source of happiness during war and as solace when news of murdered loved ones arrived. Many returned to the town as adults (several having become naturalised British citizens) to erect a seat in honour of Joe Jones (a local shopkeeper who drove the children to sports events because they had no parents of their own doing so), plant a maple tree, and place a plaque stating ‘Llanwrtyd Wells, the smallest town in the land remains the greatest in our hearts.’ In 1985, descendents presented mayor Bryn Jones with a gold link, the first in the mayoral chain. In 2015 the people of Llanwrtyd Wells organised a visit to their twin town Český Krumlov in the Czech Republic. Llanwrtyd Wells is noteworthy for illustrating the type of connections formed during the war that endure across the decades into present day.” 

Excerpt from Welsh Jewish History WW2 Blog.

Over 6,000 descendents are alive in 2016 from the quiet work of Nicholas Winton, touchingly celebrated in 1988 by Esther Ranzen’s “That’s Life” episode (clip below); and many thousands more from the efforts of individuals and communities throughout Wales.