My earliest memories reflect the strong and extended family ties surrounding me. I lived in an apartment flat one floor away from my maternal grandparents and two away from my Aunt Yette and cousin Vera Ribetski, In 1936, the Kindertransport Program began through which approximately 10,000 young people were saved by putting them on unescorted trains headed for England where they would be placed in children’s caps and foster homes. My Uncle Leo was in charge of this in my hometown. His efforts ensured that my sister, four cousins and I escaped.
I left Leipzig in June 1939 and was taken in by my mother’s first cousin, Dora Binke, in London. One month later, my sister came to London and moved in with Dora’s daughter, Rosie Jacobson. On August 22, 1939, eleven days before the war broke out, my three other first cousins left on the Kindertransport and also moved in with the Binkes. I always made sure my sister and cousins were taken care of.
In August of 1939, the Refugee Committee, to avoid the expected bombing in London, evacuated my cousins, sister and I to Cambridge and then to Devon. In the spring of 1940, I returned to London to live with the Binkes. Letters from my family in Germany stopped at the end of 1940 and I was desperate to learn about their condition.
I went back and forth between Cambridge and London and always made sure my sister and cousins were in safe homes. After three years in London, with the constant bombing and air raids, my sister and I moved back to Cambridge and lived in a hostel arranged through the Refugee Committee. Zilla joined us and we stayed there until it closed in the summer of 1945.
After the war, I extended my search for my parents and learned my father was killed in Dachau in April 1945, two weeks before the end of the war. Only in 1993, did I give up the search for my mother’s plight, based on the Red Cross’ suggestion.