Voice of the Jewish News: The children who lost their childhood

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Voice of the Jewish News: The children who lost their childhood

This week's editorial reflects on significance of Germany's decision to give compensation to Kinder who fled the country’s Nazi regime as children

Kindertransport statue at Liverpool Street station
Kindertransport statue at Liverpool Street station

This week, Germany finally agreed compensation for those who fled the country’s Nazi regime as children on the Kindertransport. Each of them, now in their 80s or older, are to receive one-off payments of around £2,300.

These are the children tortured by a lifetime of faded memories of mums and dads who found the inner strength to do the unimaginable – send their little ones into the unknown to save them from Nazi terror. Most never saw their parents again – the fathers and mothers they waved behind among the six million.

In all more than 10,000 children were rescued. About 1,000 of those who boarded Kindertransport trains are alive today, the majority living in this country.

To its credit, the German state has been punctilious about the claims process. Since 1952, more than £55billion has been paid to more than 800,000 victims. Previous survivors have had claims accepted for loss of education and livelihood, but this is first time there has been recognition of loss of childhood.

The kinder, by virtue of fleeing their parents and their homes, are said to have lost their childhood, even if they found sanctuary in sympathetic families.

It’s a paltry sum, but anything given can’t compensate for what was taken.

The fund begins processing eligible applications on 1 January. The application form can be found at www.claimscon.org


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