We were a family of four living in Berlin in the 1930’s. In October 1938 my father, who was Polish born, was deported to Poland and, having spent three days and nights at the frontier on account of the Polish authorities’ reluctance to admit those who did not hold a Polish passport, he was finally admitted and spent the next nine months there.
In the meantime my mother and her two sisters-in-law, who also lived in Berlin, felt it might be safer for the children to be sent to Holland, where we had an uncle and his family and also our grandmother. It was arranged that three of my cousins and I would go to stay with our uncle. I was the only girl and the youngest and the eldest two cousins were to look after me.
When we arrived at the frontier we were refused entry, as our papers were not in order, and we spent the next two nights with a couple of Jewish families and were then put back on the train to Berlin. This doubtless saved our lives, as the entire family in Holland were killed and all four of us children survived the war. Of the three cousins, two came to Great Britain with their parents two months before the outbreak of war and the other cousin spent the war years in Berlin, the final two and a half years in hiding with his mother.
My mother managed to procure a transit visa for herself and my father to go to Palestine via Great Britain, whereupon my father had permission to return to Berlin for four weeks and my parents, my baby brother and I were all able to leave Germany together . We traveled on a cargo ship and arrived at the London Docks the night of 30th August 1939. As war was declared on 3 September, we did not continue our journey and Britain became our home.
|From 'Quakers in Britain'|
|George and Peter Summerfield|