Rescued twice: the French Kindertransport

Peer reviewed article published in the Jewish Historical Studies journal.

Most Kindertransport research focuses on the British Kindertransport but the United Kingdom was not the only country that welcomed Jewish children prior to the Second World War. Kindertransports also went to Sweden, Belgium, France, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Palestine, and the United States. If you count all these child rescue efforts together, we can say that a little over 15,000 unaccompanied minors were saved on a Kindertransport. This is considerably higher than the 10,000 children usually cited in connection with the British Kindertransport.

This paper will explore the French Kindertransport, which in later years became a French–American Kindertransport. Looking at the French Kindertransport also offers the opportunity to re-examine certain aspects of the British Kindertransport. The experiences of the French Kindertransport children varied widely from those sent to the UK, mainly because they were placed collectively and not with foster families. The following analyses will therefore focus on the differences and similarities between these two child rescue efforts.

The insights shared in this paper stem from extensive archival research in France, Austria, and the United States and more than a dozen oral history interviews I conducted for a book I recently published about the French Kindertransport, the biography of Arthur Kern, one of the French Kinder.

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Rescued twice: the French Kindertransport
Differences from and similarities to the British Kindertransport

Jewish Historical Studies: Transactions of the Jewish Historical Society of England

An English language open access journal by UCL Press publishing high quality papers for Anglo-Jewish historiography.

Publication date (Electronic): 27 April 2020
Volume: 51, Issue: 1; ISSN (Electronic): 2397-1290


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