Where Did Kindertransport
 Children Live?

The Quaker’s were at the forefront of those bringing and finding homes for many of the 10,000 children fleeing from Nazi Germany to Britain - a foreign country.  Each child would be a stranger and probably spoke a foreign language to their host(s).

At the end of the war each one had his or her own story to tell.  Below are two examples of the many who helped and where they lived.

The first is a letter written by (then Sir, now Lord) Richard Attenborough, reference Irene Goldschmit and Helga Waldman (from Berlin, USA) telling how the Attenborough brothers, Richard, David and John, acquired’ two sisters (from ‘I Came Alone’ by Bertha Leverton and Samuel Lowensohn, The Book Guild 2007)

The second, Otto Deusch remembers

The third (from ‘Water From Wendover,  The Story of the Wendover Arm Canal’, 2002) by Shelley Savage tells how a house on the river  near Little Tring was knocked into into one cleaned out and then used for refugee


Lord (then Sir) Richard Attenborough  C.B.E


                                                                                                                                 12th June 1989  

Sidney, Samuelson, Esq.,


You asked me to let you have some gen about my two adopted sisters. My father chaired a committee when Principal of Leicester University College devoted to bringing Jewish refugees out of Hitler's Germany. In a large number of cases it merely meant housing them for a relatively brief period of time while they obtained visas to go to relatives in either the United States or Canada (this applied particularly to children).

On the particular occasion, my Mama - known as Mary, my father being known as the Governor - went to London to collect two girls whose father was one of the medical officers for Berlin.  They arrived back home, Irene aged 12 and Helga 9, the former with a dreadful nervous mannerism and the latter almost covered in sores.

As far as my two brothers and I were concerned, they were just two further lost children who seemed to inhabit our house every few weeks. However, the difference was that during their time with us, war was declared. One day on our return from school, David, John and I were asked to go and see the Governor in his study.  Mary was also there. They both explained to us that the two girls who were at present staying in the house were by virtue of the threatened war totally stranded. They had little news of their father, their mother and elder sister were in concentration camps (perhaps 1 should add that by some miracle their elder slater survived, but they never saw their mother or father again). Equally there was now no possibility of a visa to go to America and so Mary and the Governor had decided that with our agreement the. two girls hould remain with us for as long as the war lasted and until they could rejoin their family. My parents were adament that there was only one condition under which this was possible and it was that they should to all intents and purposes adopt the two girls. It would mean, they explained, that we would no longer be a family of five but a family of seven, and that the family would only engage in any form of activity - holidays, outings, supply of clothes etc - that we could afford an a family of seven. The girls would be treated in exactly the same way and that my parents would love them as they loved their three sons. In other words, they were to become our ''sisters” on a totally equal standing with the three of us, the only difference being that whereas we referred to Mary and the Governor as Mother and Father, the girls would call them Aunt and Uncle, naturally in the expectation that they would eventually be reunited with their own parents.

The decision, the Governor said, is up to you boys. If they are to live with us, your Mother and 1 are convinced that this is the only proper way in which we should anticipate the future. Naturally the three of us agreed at once and I am sure David and John would agree that it was one of the best decisions we have ever made.

We became devoted to Irene and Helga and have remained so for the last 50 years. They both live in the United States now, both were married (although sadly Irene’s husband Sam Goldschmit has died), but Helga remains married to Herman Waldman and they have two daughters.  

So, my dear Sydney, that is how David and John and I came to acquire two sisters.