Journey of Hope: Retracing the Kindertransport after 85 Years

George Shefi, Paul Alexander & Walter Bingham near the Kindertransport memorial at Liverpool Street Station in London (Credit: Sam Churchill)

International Holocaust Remembrance Day:
Honoring Kindertransport Survivors

In the Shadow of the Hamas Terror Attack, March of the Living Joined Kindertransport Survivors on a Historic Journey Retracing their Escape from Nazi Germany 85 Years Ago

Marking International Holocaust Remembrance Day, International March of the Living is launching a special documentary on the Kindertransport initiative to rescue some 15,000 Jewish children from Nazi Germany, Austria and Czechoslovakia 85 years ago. The film will premiere on January 24, 2024, at a special reception honoring Kindertransport survivors in Israel, hosted by the President of Israeli Isaac Herzog and first lady Michal Herzog.

“Journey of Hope: Retracing the Kindertransport after 85 Years”

On October 8th, as war broke out in Israel following the horrific terror attack by Hamas, the survivor – who were due to travel to with March of the Living to retrace their escape from Nazi Germany – decided that their mission to remember the horrors of the Holocaust was more important than ever. The terror attack on Israel on October 7th brought back harrowing memories of the danger of antisemitism and hatred.

Walter Bingham, Paul Alexander, and George Shefi Credit: Sam Churchill

The three Kindertransport survivors, Walter Bingham (100), Paul Alexander (85), and George Shefi (92), retraced the journey they took as children 85 years ago, as part of a documentary produced by the International March of the Living. The film is dedicated by the Moskowitz Family in memory of Henry Moskowitz z”l and in honor of Rose Moskowitz.

Henry Moskowitz z”l (courtesy)

Together with International March of the Living CEO Scott Saunders and Deputy CEO Revital Yakin Krakovsky, the survivors – who now all live in Israel – flew back to their birthplace in Germany. In their former home, they visited the places where they grew up, walked the streets they once walked, entered the schools they once attended, and viewed the homes they once lived in. Accompanied by family members, they then travelled from Germany by train through the Netherlands, by boat to England, and then again by train to London’s Liverpool Street Station – the same journey they took 85 years ago.

From left to right: George Shefi, Scott Saunders, Walter Bingham, Revital Yakin Krakovsky, Paul Alexander (Credit: Sam Churchill)

Revital Yakin Krakovsky, Deputy CEO, International March of the Living, said, “We couldn’t have foreseen the events in Israel when planning this project. But against this backdrop, we nevertheless went ahead with this historic journey, reuniting three Holocaust survivors who were rescued from Nazi Germany 85 years ago. With this film, March of the Living continues to broaden its Holocaust education mission, by reminding the world where antisemitism and hate can lead. Never Again is Now.”

The International March of the Living is grateful to the film’s sponsors: the Moskowitz family, the Ghetto Fighters’ House Museum in Israel, El Al Israel Airlines, and Leonardo Hotels for their contribution to the film: “We were touched by their immediate desire to take part in this historical educational initiative,” said Revital Yakin Krakovsky.

On Kristallnacht, the Nazi soldiers, along with some German civilians, burned or vandalized over 7,000 Jewish homes, businesses, and synagogues. They also murdered 91 Jews and arrested 30,000 Jewish men, sending them to concentration camps. It marked a turning point in the Nazi persecution of the Jews and many people subsequently made the difficult decision to send their children away, alone. The Kindertransport Program helped see some 15,000 Jewish children find refuge and shelter, with most of them arriving in the UK.

Walter Bingham was born in 1924 in the city of Karlsruhe, Germany. As a child he witnessed Hitler rise to power and saw first-hand the growing antisemitism in Germany. After returning to Israel following the journey he said, “What we have seen in Israel, October the 7th is not just a reminder of the past. It is the past repeating itself. We must educate the whole world about this terrible hatred of Jews and remind them what happens when people stand by in silence and indifference.”

George (Spiegelglas) Shefi was born in Berlin in 1931. During the journey he said, “During Kristallnacht I was 8 years old. I slept through that night, and I was not allowed out of the home for three days. I will never forget what I saw when I went out: stores smashed, stores marked, and my synagogue and school completely burned. Seeing Jewish homes burned with families in them on October 7th is something that I never imagined could happen.”

Paul Alexander, who was one year and seven months old when in July 1939 his mother put him on the train from Leipzig in the arms of a stranger in order to save his life, said: “I was born a year before Kristallnacht pogrom. As an infant child I did not experience antisemitism directly, my parents did. I was saved from the Holocaust because my parents had the extraordinary courage to send me away after the pogrom. Now, at the age of 85, when I see the extreme level of antisemitism around the world, I feel it as if it is directed to me. It is horrific and totally unacceptable.”

The film will be broadcasted on I24 news on International Holocaust Remembrance Day, January 27th, on 11:00 AM Israel time (4:00 AM EST); 8:30 PM Israel time (1:30 PM EST); Sunday January 28th 4:00AM Israel time (9 PM EST on 27th). The film will also be available on the International March of the Living website and social media channels.