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Rooks Heath College

Rooks Heath College

Opportunity through Learning

Kindertransport

A2 English Literature students are studying the play ‘Kindertransport’ by Diane Samuels, as part of their course and were lucky enough to have a visitor who lived through the Holocaust.

A2 English Literature students are studying the play ‘Kindertransport’ by Diane Samuels, as part of their course and were lucky enough to have a visitor who lived through the Holocaust. John Fieldsend recounted his experience of discrimination against Jewish people in Hitler’s Germany. As a seven year old child, John (and his older brother) were persecuted and even their former friends turned on them. He showed photographs of classrooms where almost all the students were wearing the uniforms of ‘Hitler Youth’, making those who did not, the Jewish children, easily identifiable for prejudice and bullying.

He and his family fled to Czechoslovakia (Czech Republic) but Hitler’s power spread. John’s parents were able to get him and his brother to England through the organisation Kindertransport, set up to transport Jewish children by train from Nazi Europe to Great Britain. Approximately 10,000 children were able to escape this way. John and his brother were fostered in different families in Sheffield but were able to keep in touch.

After the war, John received a parcel from his old home with photo albums and a final letter from his mother. The letter was very moving, telling how all his relatives had perished in Nazi Death camps, including his 93 year old great-grandmother. John’s parents knew that they were about to be taken to a camp themselves. This was a very sad but inspiring talk which provides us with personal insight into the tragic events of history.