The Other Kindertransport

As Nazis Closed In, 150 Teens Improbably Found Freedom

A Reunion Postponed: Judit Shaked left Czechoslovakia for Denmark in 1939. Recently, she reunited with some of the survivors of the second kindertransport.
Eliska Blazkova
A Reunion Postponed: Judit Shaked left Czechoslovakia for Denmark in 1939. Recently, she reunited with some of the survivors of the second kindertransport.

By Sarah Wildman

Published December 19, 2012, issue of December 21, 2012.
  • Print
  • Share Share
  • Single Page

(page 3 of 4)

I worked at home and also in the fields, in the vegetable garden. I learned to milk. All these were chores I had not done before, but I bore it. It was harder to adjust to the conditions of life, especially the lack of any private corner. Besides, I missed home very much. I was sad. Once a week we would meet, all the friends from the neighborhood, in a nearby town Naestved, in what was called the Centrum. We rode there on bicycles, 10 to 15 kilometers. We had instructors from He-Halutz, members of Hachshara. In our meetings we studied a little — Hebrew, Jewish history; we discussed current events; we played. There were different cultural activities, and mostly we talked, exchanged impressions, experiences, thoughts. These meetings with friends were my comfort and made the difficult time easier.”

Boys who were old enough began to agitate to enlist in allied armies. Some of the girls were sent to nanny for families. Dov Strauss remembers this time fondly. His Danish family embraced him and remained a part of his life forever. He continued to receive letters from his parents, and from an uncle who had escaped to Argentina.

Beginning in 1940, handfuls of the students were led overland and sea to Israel. Strauss was one of the first to go, a journey that went through Finland to Leningrad to Odessa, crossing the Black Sea by boat, then by train from Istanbul to Syria and Lebanon, finally to Rosh HaNikra. Shaked was among those chosen to travel to Israel in the next group. She entered Haifa on March 21, 1941. The ordeal took three weeks on buses, luxury boats and third-class trains. Strauss went to Kibbutz Geva.

Shaked went to Ben Shemen, a youth and education village. Life was good, but she was anxious. “News of what was happening in Europe began to arrive,” she said. Letters stopped, except for those rare, short, letters through the Red Cross. “At the end of the war, I found out my family’s fate: My parents and brother were deported to Terezin in 1942, and from there to Auschwitz in October 1944. All three perished. Only a few from my extended family survived. In those days I became close to a member of my group (who had also come through Denmark, but was not Czech). I married him in 1947. Before that, in 1945, we were among the founders of a new kibbutz, Gezer, and we lived there.”

But her trials were not over. She’d barely discovered that her parents had been killed when her young husband was killed in the War of Independence while defending the kibbutz.

The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.

Find us on Facebook!
  • “You will stomp us into the dirt,” is how her mother responded to Anya Ulinich’s new tragicomic graphic novel. Paul Berger has a more open view of ‘Lena Finkle’s Magic Barrel." What do you think?
  • PHOTOS: Hundreds of protesters marched through lower Manhattan yesterday demanding an end to American support for Israel’s operation in #Gaza.
  • Does #Hamas have to lose for there to be peace? Read the latest analysis by J.J. Goldberg.
  • This is what the rockets over Israel and Gaza look like from space:
  • "Israel should not let captives languish or corpses rot. It should do everything in its power to recover people and bodies. Jewish law places a premium on pidyon shvuyim, “the redemption of captives,” and proper burial. But not when the price will lead to more death and more kidnappings." Do you agree?
  •'s Allison Benedikt wrote that Taglit-Birthright Israel is partly to blame for the death of American IDF volunteer Max Steinberg. This is why she's wrong:
  • Israeli soldiers want you to buy them socks. And snacks. And backpacks. And underwear. And pizza. So claim dozens of fundraising campaigns launched by American Jewish and Israeli charities since the start of the current wave of crisis and conflict in Israel and Gaza.
  • The sign reads: “Dogs are allowed in this establishment but Zionists are not under any circumstances.”
  • Is Twitter Israel's new worst enemy?
  • More than 50 former Israeli soldiers have refused to serve in the current ground operation in #Gaza.
  • "My wife and I are both half-Jewish. Both of us very much felt and feel American first and Jewish second. We are currently debating whether we should send our daughter to a Jewish pre-K and kindergarten program or to a public one. Pros? Give her a Jewish community and identity that she could build on throughout her life. Cons? Costs a lot of money; She will enter school with the idea that being Jewish makes her different somehow instead of something that you do after or in addition to regular school. Maybe a Shabbat sing-along would be enough?"
  • Undeterred by the conflict, 24 Jews participated in the first ever Jewish National Fund— JDate singles trip to Israel. Translation: Jews age 30 to 45 travelled to Israel to get it on in the sun, with a side of hummus.
  • "It pains and shocks me to say this, but here goes: My father was right all along. He always told me, as I spouted liberal talking points at the Shabbos table and challenged his hawkish views on Israel and the Palestinians to his unending chagrin, that I would one day change my tune." Have you had a similar experience?
  • "'What’s this, mommy?' she asked, while pulling at the purple sleeve to unwrap this mysterious little gift mom keeps hidden in the inside pocket of her bag. Oh boy, how do I answer?"
  • "I fear that we are witnessing the end of politics in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. I see no possibility for resolution right now. I look into the future and see only a void." What do you think?
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?

We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.