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!
  • PHOTOS: 10,000 Israel supporters gathered for a solidarity rally near the United Nations in New York yesterday.
  • Step into the Iron Dome with Tuvia Tenenbom.
  • What do you think of Wonder Woman's new look?
  • "She said that Ruven Barkan, a Conservative rabbi, came into her classroom, closed the door and turned out the lights. He asked the class of fourth graders to lie on the floor and relax their bodies. Then, he asked them to pray for abused children." Read Paul Berger's compelling story about a #Savannah community in turmoil:
  • “Everything around me turns orange, then a second of silence, then a bomb goes off!" First installment of Walid Abuzaid’s account of the war in #Gaza:
  • Is boredom un-Jewish?
  • Let's face it: there's really only one Katz's Delicatessen.
  • "Dear Diaspora Jews, I’m sorry to break it to you, but you can’t have it both ways. You can’t insist that every Jew is intrinsically part of the Israeli state and that Jews are also intrinsically separate from, and therefore not responsible for, the actions of the Israeli state." Do you agree?
  • Are Michelangelo's paintings anti-Semitic? Meet the Jews of the Sistine Chapel:
  • What does the Israel-Hamas war look like through Haredi eyes?
  • Was Israel really shocked to find there are networks of tunnels under Gaza?
  • “Going to Berlin, I had a sense of something waiting there for me. I was searching for something and felt I could unlock it by walking the streets where my grandfather walked and where my father grew up.”
  • How can 3 contradictory theories of Yiddish co-exist? Share this with Yiddish lovers!
  • "We must answer truthfully: Has a drop of all this bloodshed really helped bring us to a better place?”
  • "There are two roads. We have repeatedly taken the one more traveled, and that has made all the difference." Dahlia Scheindlin looks at the roots of Israel's conflict with Gaza.
  • 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.