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!
  • Vered Guttman doesn't usually get nervous about cooking for 20 people, even for Passover. But last night was a bit different. She was cooking for the Obamas at the White House Seder.
  • A grumpy Jewish grandfather is wary of his granddaughter's celebrating Easter with the in-laws. But the Seesaw says it might just make her appreciate Judaism more. What do you think?
  • “Twist and Shout.” “Under the Boardwalk.” “Brown-Eyed Girl.” What do these great songs have in common? A forgotten Jewish songwriter. We tracked him down.
  • What can we learn from tragedies like the rampage in suburban Kansas City? For one thing, we must keep our eyes on the real threats that we as Jews face.
  • When is a legume not necessarily a legume? Philologos has the answer.
  • "Sometime in my childhood, I realized that the Exodus wasn’t as remote or as faceless as I thought it was, because I knew a former slave. His name was Hersh Nemes, and he was my grandfather." Share this moving Passover essay!
  • Getting ready for Seder? Chag Sameach! http://jd.fo/q3LO2
  • "We are not so far removed from the tragedies of the past, and as Jews sit down to the Seder meal, this event is a teachable moment of how the hatred of Jews-as-Other is still alive and well. It is not realistic to be complacent."
  • Aperitif Cocktail, Tequila Shot, Tom Collins or Vodka Soda — Which son do you relate to?
  • Elvis craved bacon on tour. Michael Jackson craved matzo ball soup. We've got the recipe.
  • This is the face of hatred.
  • What could be wrong with a bunch of guys kicking back with a steak and a couple of beers and talking about the Seder? Try everything. #ManSeder
  • BREAKING: Smirking killer singled out Jews for death in suburban Kansas City rampage. 3 die in bloody rampage at JCC and retirement home.
  • Real exodus? For Mimi Minsky, it's screaming kids and demanding hubby on way down to Miami, not matzo in the desert.
  • The real heroines of Passover prep aren't even Jewish. But the holiday couldn't happen without them.
  • 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.