Photo taken in:Cockley CleyYear when photo was taken:1940Country name at time of photo:United KingdomCountry name today:United Kingdom
This is one of the many letters that I wrote from England in 1940, to my parents, Wilhelm and Johanna Schischa [nee Friedmann], in Austria.
I was 13 years old at the time and had emigrated to England with a Kindertransport. My parents were extremely worried about me as well as about my brother, Edi [Eduard] Schischa, who had fled to Palestine in 1938. I tried to calm down my parents in my letters but at the same time I was worried about them. I never gave up hope that they may still be able to emigrate to Palestine or flee to another country.
My uncle Gottfried Freudmann had connections with the Bnei Brit lodge, a Jewish social organisation. Bnei Brit means 'Children of the Covenant', and those lodges exist all across the globe. Back then they helped to save the lives of Jewish children.
The proceeding was such that someone had to guarantee that the child wouldn't be a burden on the British state. Children who had such a guarantee received a permit and were allowed to emigrate to England with a Kindertransport but without their parents. There were girls, boys and even babies in these Kindertransports - it's hard to imagine what it was like today. No one ever told me that my parents would follow me to England, but I never gave up hope they would.
I only realized how courageous my parents were later, when I already had children of my own. It must have been terrible for them to bring me to the railway station. I was excited back then and understood that it was better for me to go away. I wasn't angry with them for sending me away. At the time I didn't even think of the possibility that I may not see my parents again.
Each child had a red plate with a number put around the neck. A plate with the same number was put onto each child's suitcase. That's how I arrived in England. I didn't speak a single word of English. Three children of our convoy were dropped off at the train station in London and taken into a hostel from there. The hostel belonged to the Bnei Brit lodge, and there were mainly children from Germany there, so everyone just spoke German.
I dearly loved my parents as well as my brother Edi, my grandmothers and my many aunts, uncles and cousins. Of course I missed them a lot and was looking forward to see them again soon. Despite their worries about us, it must have been a relief to my parents to know that me and my brother had escaped the danger, which wasn't all that obvious at that point. My parents had tried to leave Austria, too, but they didn't succeed because they didn't have enough money. I wrote many letters to my parents and still have all these letters.