פורטל הנשים הראשון בישראל
  www.wol.co.il
נש"ר נשים ברשת
יום ב', טו’ בשבט תשע”ט
    דף הבית  |  הרשמה לרשימת תפוצה  |  יצירת קשר  
 
13:42 (07/01/13)
אילנה כהן
כנסו לבלוגים של נש"ר http://nashimbares het.wordpress.com/
 
Melissa Hacker, Chairman of the Kindertransport organization, in an interview with WOL, brings the ,story of her mother Ruth Birnholz and other Kindertransport children .KTA organization and activites and about her movie "My Knees Were Jumping; Remembering the Kindertransports"
16:44 (17/02/18) אילנה כהן
תגיות: My Knees Were Jumping; Remembering the Kindertransports, Kindertransports, Melissa Hacker

Melissa Hacker, Film director and Chairman of the Kindertransport organization, arrived in Jerusalem for the second generation Kindertransport convention, which took place in Jerusalem on December 2017 In our interview online , she tells us about the KTA organization and how she came to direct the movie about.her mother and the children of the Kindertransport She strongly emphasizes that many persons and committees participated in.organizing the rescue of 10,000 children from Germany, Poland, Austria and Czechoslovakia to Britain1 How did you get to the organization? I was just starting to do research for a film that I was making and I learned about the first Kindertransport conference in London which I was very sad to have missed but I found out that there were people who had just created a new Kindertransport organization and were putting together a conference in New York state. I contacted them and they very generously welcomed me to film at the first conference in the Catskill Mountains (which is an area with a long Jewish history as a place where people would go for summer vacations to hotels with activities and Jewish entertainers) and that was where I did the first filming. A few years later when the film was finished, I was asked to show it at a conference in Florida. I was so nervous to show it before an audience of Kindertransportees and families, but they were very happy with the film. I was soon asked to become involved with the Kindertransport Association, and I was honored to be asked. I agreed to run for election to the board and I've been serving as a volunteer on the board of directors of the Kindertransport Association for many years and was just 2 years ago elected to be President. I am the first member of the second generation to be president of the Kindertransport Association 2. The kinder transport organization in USA was established only in 1991.Why did it take such a long time to form it? In the years after World War II, Kinder gathered together. Groups of Kindertransportees who had lived in the same hostel, school, foster home, farm, even castle (200 Kindertransportees had spent the war years in Grych castle in Northern Wales) in Britain held reunions over the years, creating and sustaining family ties. But many felt, as they were making new lives for themselves in new countries, many without parents or family, that hey were the lucky ones, that nothing really happened to them as they escaped the Reich and had not been in concentration camps, ghettos or in hiding. But of course they were deeply affected by what did happen to them. It wasn’t until 1988, the 50th anniversary year of the Kindertransports, that Bertha Leverton, a Kind from Munich living in London, had the idea to hold a reunion for everyone who had fled their childhood homes via Kindertransport. In June 1989 over 1,200 Kinder, partners and children came together in London. They came from throughout the United Kingdom, North America, South America, Europe and even Nepal, for two Reunions of Kinder. Eddy Behrendt, a Kind from Danzig who had traveled from New York to attend the reunion, wrote after that until the London reunion “I had rarely thought or spoken about the early experiences of my childhood, and knew of no one else who had fled the Holocaust to England on a Kindertransport. At these meetings I ... even met some that came to England on the same train as I ... I wept for the first time in many years.” Eddy was determined to build on this life-changing experience, and for months after, on evenings and weekends, Eddy worked to gather Kinder together and to create a new organization. A name, the Kindertransport Association, was chosen, by-laws written, and an all-volunteer board of directors, consisting of Kinder and a member of the second generation, was formed. With the assistance of two national Jewish organizations, Eddy reached out to Kinder in the United States.3 It is thought that nearly 2,500 Kinder immigrated to the U.S.A. and Canada, and the response was immediate. Hundreds of Kinder, and their spouses and children, joined the nascent organization. Eddy was determined to create something that was more than “just hugs, kisses, talk and memories.” It should be more permanent, involve the
entire Kinder family and work toward helping children in need and in danger throughout the world as they, the Kinder, had been helped. The first national KTA Conference took place in October 1990 at the Nevele Hotel in the Catskill Mountains of New York state. Bertha Leverton was an honored guest. From 1991 – 2015 the KTA held biennial national reunions, featuring prominent speakers and workshops on themes - historical, psychological, generational, educational - suggested by the membership. Conferences have taken place in California, Washington DC, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Arizona, and Florida. The KTA held its last independent conference, organized by members of the second generation, in Farmington Hills, Michigan in 2015. In 2016, the KTA joined with the World Federation of Jewish child survivors of the Holocaust and descendants to co-host their annual conferences. 3. What are its main objectives? * To locate, reunite, and bring together those individuals who, many years ago, were directly involved in the Kindertransport and who have since emigrated to North America. * To educate and inform the "Next Generations," as well as the public in general, regarding the story of the Kindertransport as an important part of Holocaust History. * To be involved with charitable work, particularly as it pertains to needy children without parents, regardless of race, creed, color or religion. 4. Did your mother and other members knew who organized the kinder transport? Many people organized the Kindertransports, it was the work of committees in Germany, Austria, Great Britain, Czechoslovakia, and social workers in the Jewish communities in Germany, Austria, Czechoslovakia, Poland, and Danzig. Members of the British government who argued in parliament for the rescue of unaccompanied children were important. Members of the Society of Friends/Quakers did much work. Some significant people include: Geertruida Wijsmuller-Meijer, Rabbi Solomon Schonfeld, Nicholas Winton, Norbert Wollheim, and of course the British people who took the Kindertransport children into their homes. My mother remembered the nuns who lined a train station in Holland and offered the children oranges (a fruit my mother had not seen before) and hot cocoa. This was the first time in many months that strangers were welcoming the Jewish children, not attacking them. 5.When did they hear the first time about Wilfrid Israel? and how? It is not certain that Wilfred Israel had a significant role in the Kindertransports, though he did do other good work just before the war. Please read the notes from historians at the end of this email. 6.Why Wilfrid's role was excluded? I have contacted historians on this point, read all of the materials sent to me by the makers of the recent film on Wilfrid Israel, and it is not clear if Wilfrid Israel had a significant role in the Kindertransports. He did much work for Jewish emigration to Palestine, but there is no historical evidence that he played a significant role in the Kindertransports. Please see notes from historians that I attach to the end of this email. 7.What are your suggestions in order to preserve his role? I would suggest serious historical research to learn whether or not he did have a role. The people from the Kibbutz named after him, who are making claims in the film they have made that he was an organizer of the Kindertransports are doing this from wishful thinking without historical factual basis. Activities in Israel. America in Schools, organizations etc The KTA, now 27 years old, is a not-for-profit, tax-exempt organization, headed by an all-volunteer membership-elected national Board with chapters in Florida, Northern California, Southern California, Washington DC and New York. Informal Kinder networks exist in other parts of the United States and Canada. There is also an active KT2 member in Australia. The KTA held its last independent conference, organized by members of the second generation, in Farmington Hills, Michigan in 2015. In 2016, the KTA joined as a co-sponsor of the annual conferences of the World Federation of Jewish Child Survivors of the Holocaust and Descendants, of which the KTA is a longtime member. The KTA continues to publish a quarterly journal, The Kinder-Link. The KTA Speaker’s Bureau
 coordinates requests for speakers and assists members who would like to speak in schools
and other venues. The traveling exhibit The Kindertransport Journey, created by Robert Sugar, a Kind who spent the war years at Millisle Farm in Northern Ireland, is available to community centers, schools and museums. The Kindertransport Memory Quilt project, initiated by Kirsten and Anita Grosz, the wife and daughter of Hanus Grosz, a Kind from Czechoslovakia, and created with quilt squares contributed by Kinder and their families, created three quilts which are on permanent display at The Holocaust Memorial Center in Farmington Hills, Michigan. Replicas of the quilts are available for display at community centers, schools and museums. The KTA website (www.Kindertransport.org) shares information and resources and answers queries received daily from students, researchers, and people searching for information about their families, located throughout the world. The KTA Speakers Bureau helps KTA members to speak in schools and at Holocaust memorial events. The KTA’s Charitable Donations Chairperson researches and recommends organizations helping children today that the KTA supports. The KTA hosts informational and social gatherings for members– spring lunches, theater parties, and Chanukah celebrations. In the 1990’s members of the second generation (KT2s) created the KTA Oral History Project. Members of the oral history team videotaped life history interviews of Kinder and rescuers, and have collected photographs, documents and memorabilia for future use by researchers and historians. Copies of the Oral History Project video interviews are available to researchers through the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington DC, the Wiener Library in London, and the Oral History Division of the Avraham Harman Institute of Contemporary Jewry, Hebrew University of Jerusalem. The archives of the KTA have been donated to the Holocaust Memorial Center Zekelman Family Campus in Farmington Hills, Michigan. In 2013, the 75th anniversary year, the KTA launched World Kindertransport Day, a program to increase public awareness of the Kindertransports, and continues to offer special programs on December 2nd of each year, recognizing the date in 1938 that the first Kindertransport arrived safely in England. We are planning activities for 2018 the 80th anniversary year of the Kindertransports. 8.Please tell us a few words about your mother's story and how did you make the movie? My mother Ruth Birnholz was born in Vienna and fled on a kindertransport in January 1939. I was in college and studying film with a wonderful documentary film professor, George Stoney, and I thought to make a short portrait film of my mother as I knew she had come to New York City as a young teenager with her parents who very luckily got out of Vienna just before the war started. They came to New York with nothing and my mother had made a successful career for herself as a costume designer in film and theatre. I knew she was a strong yet very fragile woman, and I wanted to honor her. However, I grew up knowing only bits and pieces of her story. I knew that she had been sent on a train from Vienna to London but I didn't know that she was one of nearly 10,000 children. Once I learned this and I realized that very very few people in the United States knew of the Kindertransports, I knew that I had to make a film about the Kindertransport and my mother's life story. My Knees Were Jumping; Remembering the Kindertransports was the very first feature-length documentary made on the Kindertransport. It was very difficult as the Kindertransport was a subject no one knew and I was a first-time filmmaker, but I feel very lucky and honored that so many Kindertransportees and their children welcomed me into their homes and lives and allowed me to film The film has been seen around the world and often used to open up communications in families where things were unspoken, there were secrets between the generations and I'm very happy that the film is used in many ways - to educate people about the Kindertransports, a previously hidden part of Holocaust history, as a tool to open intergenerational discussion in families, and as an engaging cinematic experience.