Thousands of London school children attended performances of The Children of Willesden Lane this week, as part of the Holocaust Education Trust’s Willesden Lane project.
The multi-disciplinary education project is being delivered to more than 8,500 students from across 125 schools in London during 2018, to help them understand the experiences of those saved by the Kindertransport.
The project is based on ‘The Children of Willesden Lane,’ a book about Lisa Jura who was brought to England from Vienna on the Kindertransport aged 13, and who had dreams of becoming a concert pianist.
To pay for her lessons she became a maid, then a machinist in a factory making Army uniforms, ultimately earning a scholarship to the Royal Academy to start a career that saw her play internationally, later marrying and having children.
Inspired by her mother, daughter Mona Golabek also became a concert pianist and has written and performed her mother’s story – The Pianist of Willesden Lane – around the world.
Londoners were treated to a one-off gala performance of the show at Wigmore Hall in Marylebone on Sunday, as Mona took to the stage to retrace her mother’s steps.
Among the Kindertransport refugees attending the performances were Harry Bibring, who did a live webcast to over 8,000 students, and Kurt Marx and Hennie Franks, who both lived at Willesden Hostel at the same time as Lisa.
Vera Schaufeld and Eve Willman attended school performances whilst Bob and Ann Kirk attended the Gala performance.
The HET’s Karen Pollock said: “There is nothing like hearing from those who came to Britain on the Kindertransport, in their own words. This is why we have given students the chance to hear these stories first-hand through Lisa Jura’s story.”
Last week HET arranged for refugees including Vera Schaufeld, Kurt Max and Ann and Bob Kirk to meet at the Kindertransport memorial at Liverpool Street Station, to mark the remarkable rescue mission’s 80th anniversary.