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Wednesday, November 13, 2019

More than 70 years after fleeing Nazi-occupied Germany on the Kindertransport, the survivors who are still living are entitled to benefits. Their families are now able to retrieve records of their ancestors who were part of the famed rescue effort.

The Garnethill Synagogue in Scotland is home of the Holocaust Archive Center. That Center turned out to be the perfect venue for Andrew Marcus of North Brunswick to search for the Kindertransport records of his nonagenarian mother, Erica. (See article from The Jewish Link of New Jersey, “Kindertransport Child Reconnects With European ‘Family’ in South Orange,” August 6, 2015.) A visit to the center in the spring of 2019 resulted in Marcus conferring with an original organizer of the Center there and being prompted to contact the World Jewish Relief organization (WJR).

After writing to the WJR for the file of his mother’s journey to the United Kingdom on the Kindertransport, Marcus soon received the archived records. That was shortly after Erica, born Erika Weinmann, who left her homeland in Germany shortly after Kristallnacht, celebrated her 95th birthday at her home in Monroe, New Jersey.

Marcus added more information from the WJR file, including the name Jo(e) Lurie, who signed for his mother upon her arrival in Edinburgh. Supplied with the information of her initial residence, Marcus made his way to the house, took pictures and boldly knocked on the door.

The current resident had no knowledge of the Lurie family. Marcus concluded, however, that there is a high probability his mother lived with the Lurie family in Edinburgh from the time of her arrival in December 1938 until 1940, when she went to live with the Craster family. She worked for the Crasters in Middlesbrough in northern England until she immigrated to the United States in 1948.

After more than 70 years of living in the United States, Erica’s family was finally able to secure her Kindertransport records.

Tanya Fox, a WRA volunteer, wrote to Marcus stating that, “World Jewish Relief opened case files for many people who came to the United Kingdom fleeing Nazi occupied Germany and Austria before the Second World War. These records include those children who arrived on the Kindertransport and those young men who were sent to the Kitchener Camp.” Fox further stated that “files for over 700 orphaned child survivors, known as ‘The Boys’ who were brought over after the war,” are also in their records.

In her email correspondence, Fox informed Marcus that the German government is compensating child refugees who were on the Kindertransport to Britain and are still alive. The eligible survivors are entitled to a one-time payment of 2,500 Euros, even if they previously claimed a compensation award. She further clarified that the eligible applicants have no income limit.

Fox concluded, “It would be very much appreciated if you would spread the word regarding this Archive as World Jewish Relief is intent on ensuring as many families as possible benefit from the material we hold to fill in many of the gaps they may well have in their family history.”

The forms for the compensation claims are now on the Claims Conference website at http://www.claimscon.org/what-we-do/compensation/background/kindertransport-fund/. For help in completing the forms, Fox suggests contacting Rosemary Peters or Melanie Jawett at AJR by calling +44 20 8385 3070.

By Sharon Mark Cohen