Heartfelt tributes have been paid to two Kindertransport refugees, Walter Kammerling and Marc Schatzberger, who have died in their mid-90s.
Holocaust educators remembered the Vienna-born survivors, reflecting on their contributions to teaching about the Shoah and the trauma they went through, escaping after Kristallnacht.
Born in 1923, Walter Kammerling was just 14 when Nazi Germany invaded Austria. His parents sent him to Britain on the Kindertransport after the pogrom against Jewish businesses in 1938.
After the Holocaust he learned that his parents and other sister had been sent to Auschwitz-Birkenau, where they were murdered.
Arriving in the UK, he worked on a farm in Northern Ireland for three years, and joined the British Army in March 1944, serving in Belgium and the Netherland.
While on embarkation leave, he married Herta, who arrived in London from Vienna on the Kindertansport, with the couple moving back to Austria in 1946, having two sons, before they returned to the UK in 1957.
Paying tribute, Karen Pollock, Chief Executive, Holocaust Educational Trust said Walter “built a successful and fruitful life in the UK. He dedicated his later years to travelling the length and breadth of the UK, sharing his testimony with students through the Trust’s Outreach Programme, ensuring that the human history of the Holocaust lives on.”
Calling him a “kind and gentle man” she said “not long ago, he travelled back to Northern Ireland with the Trust, to speak to post-16 students who have completed the Trust’s Lessons from Auschwitz Project. The impact he had over the years is immeasurable and we will all remember him fondly. Walter will be greatly missed, and our thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends.”
The Association of Jewish Refugees’ chief executive, Michael Newman said: “In mourning Walter’s passing AJR are honoured to be the custodian of the interview he gave to our Refugee Voices archive in which he describes his life story from childhood, pre-war life in Vienna, escape to Britain and rebuilding his life here.
“The value of his testimony and others in the archive takes on even greater importance with the passing of the first generation.”
He died aged 97, and it was not coronavirus related.
Tributes were paid to Marc Schatzberger, also Vienna-born, who escaped the Nazis on the Kindertransport aged twelve.
Born in 1926, he fled in wake of Kristallnacht, and arrived in Britain where he was first cared for in a Jewish children’s hostel, and then by an uncle and aunt, who had gained entry as domestic servants.
While in England he discovered his parents and other family members had been murdered at Auschwitz during the Holocaust, and spoke about the trauma when he gave testimony.
In 1947 he gained an Honours Degree in Electrical Engineering at what is now known as the University of Manchester Institute of Science and Technology (UMIST), and married a Viennese Jewish woman called Rosl.
He joined a large company manufacturing building materials as Assistant Chief Engineer, later becoming Group Chief Engineer and Divisional Technical Director.
Karen Pollock of HET paid respects, saying “he spoke in many schools across the north east of England. Marc was a kind and thoughtful man and was adored by the students he met. We will greatly miss Marc and our thoughts and prayers are with his family.”
Schatzberger died aged 94, and it was also not Covid-related.
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