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Sheffield’s connection to flight from Hitler

Image of ‘Trixie’ Inga Joseph's doll which accompanied her when she left Vienna for Britain as one of the Kindertransport refugees in June 1939

‘Trixie’ who accompanied her young owner –Inga Joseph– when she left Vienna for Britain as one of the Kindertransport refugees in June 1939. IWM EPH 3922

The Holocaust Exhibition was ten years old last year, and giving talks about its impact is a rewarding thing to do.  Visitor figures – at 7-800 a day – are still high. The subject has become mainstream after years of being marginalised, and films, tv programmes and books still appear each month with new slants, and new questions.

Today I am talking to the Sheffield branch of the Association of Jewish Refugees.  I know one of the members well – Inga Joseph, who came as a Kindertransport refugee in 1938 and it is through her that I was invited along.  Inga gave the IWM two dolls which she brought with her as a child refugee from Vienna – Trixie and Peter – and has written up her early life in three highly readable books written under the name of Ingrid Jacoby.

Giving my talk, I cannot help thinking that the audience have the more interesting stories to tell.  Everyone started life in pre-war Europe – and was forced to flee, in many cases coming as child refugees like Inga.

Afterwards I chat to a camp survivor and learn that as a child she spent time in Mechelen internment camp  – the former barracks in Belgium from which between 1942 and 1944 nearly 25,000 Jews were deported to the Nazi death camps.   I ask if I can put the Mechelen museum authorities in touch with her – I know they are gathering testimonies from former survivors for their new exhibition.

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