Generations After

David Grace - back to Members page

I think my mother's life might have been saved by the Kristallnacht (“Night of Broken Glass”). My mother lived in Dortmund, Germany and attended the local Jewish school. She spoke mainly Yiddish not German. Later on my parents used Yiddish when they didn't want us kids to understand so my Yiddish skills are very limited. My grandfather Max Chilovitz was born in Grodzick, Poland 9/18/1896 and it is believed he migrated to Germany to escape persecution. My grandmother Frieda nee Rabner was born in Dortmund 6/28/1896.

After the Kristallnacht (November 9 and 10, 1938) the British Jewish Refugee Committee appealed to Parliament to help. In an act that to this day still amazes me, the British Parliament agreed to let in an unspecified number of children up to the age 17 (click for more details on the Kindertransport).

My mum says it was November 1938 she came out but historical records indicate it was most likely in December 1938. At the tender age of 8 she said goodbye to her parents and boarded a train to Holland. From there to England and ultimately to Glasgow, Scotland where she still lives today and is an active member of the local Kinderstranport group.

Like many of her generation my mother never spoke of the Holocaust. Later, much later I started asking questions and mum tells me as much as she knows. She doesn't know how she got on the Kindertransport, she thinks that maybe her dad was hidden before the war as he was away for extended times. She recalls that her mum didn't come to the train station, it was only her dad. I think now of the bravery and unselfishness of their act. It can't have been easy to put your kid on a train not knowing if you would ever see them again.

Shortly before WW2 breaks out my grandparents manage to send our their 3 1/2 year old daughter (my aunt Ruthie) who is passed hand to hand by the Red Cross before she too arrives in Glasgow, Scotland. I am beginning to think my grandparents must have had connections somewhere to make both these events happen.

Among the many mysteries of the Holocaust is what exactly happened to my grandparents. A great aunt who survived Belsen said they perished there but the camp records do not show that. From research done by my aunt, who corrsponded with and went to Bad Arolsen, it would seem they probably died in Rega, Latvia where they were sent by the Germans from Belsen. I really can't say if it is better to know or not.

Letter From My 16 Year Old Niece To My Mum After She Visited Auschwitz (PDF)

My aunt Ruthie's German Travel Document, on the left hand side you can see, in English, the British entry stamp.


Note the big red J for Juden stamped on her paperwork.


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