Note: This post has beenchanged following an email from the artist Flor Kent. The Fur Das Kind in Vienna is not the one that used to be at Liverpool Street station.
Like so many other suburbanites I commute to work in central London. Living in Romford the rail terminus I use is Liverpool street station in the City. Rather than get directly on the underground I usually cut across the City to Mansion House.
This takes me through Hope Square just outside the station’s main entrance. In 2003 Sir Nicholas Winton unveiled a memorial there called “Fur das Kind” to commemorate the Kinder transport – a rescue mission that saved around 10,000 mainly Jewish children from Nazi occupied areas just before the outbreak of WWII. At the time the, memorial consisted of a statue of a small girl beside a transparent suitcase filled with memorabilia brought by the children, including books, toys and, poignantly, photographs of family members who almost certainly perished during the Holocaust. Sadly the case did not turn out to be an ideal environment for the memorabilia so it was removed leaving just the base and the statue of the child. The whole memorial was replaced by a different statue in late 2006. Sadly Fur das kind statue is currently homeless.
I received this press release a few days ago. I am delighted to hear that another Fur Das Kind is to go on display again in Austria.
AUSTRIAN COMMEMORATIVE SCULPTURE TO HONOUR BRITAIN
A Commemorative Sculpture in honour of the British People is to be unveiled on Friday 14th of March at the Westbahnhof railway station in Vienna. Under the patronage of the Ministry of Transport of the Republic of Austria, the sculpture Für Das Kind-Vienna by artist Flor Kent, celebrates the British role in rescuing thousands of Austrian children, mostly Jewish, through operation Kindertransport from 1938 to 1939. The tribute is to be unveiled by Minister of Transport Mr. Werner Faymann. Most of the rescued left for Great Britain from Westbahnhof Station.
The ceremony will take place to coincide with the 70th anniversary of the “Anschluss” – the Annexation of Austria by Nazi Germany. Hitler announced the legislation of the Anschluss on the 13th March 1939. Opponents of the new regime as well as the Jewish people, who were expropriated and deprived of civil rights, were arrested and deported to concentration camps. By a change in British Parliament’s legislation, thousands of vulnerable children were saved from a desperate future under Nazi terror at the onset of World War II. The rescue movement was unique in that Jews, Quakers, and Christians of many denominations worked together to rescue the children.
An international group of “children”, saved by different rescuers including Dr Rabbi Solomon Schonfield, the Quakers, the Christadelphians and many others, now in their seventies and eighties and living in different parts of the world, will be attending the event along with other official guests.
I originally thought that this was the Fur das kind that statue that had graced Liverpool Street station I hope it gets a new home. I do miss it: it was more attractive than its replacement. I am delighted, though, that the kindertansport is being commemorated in Austria. It may have been overshadowed by the terrible events that followed but it shows the very best of humanity in action.
Click Here , here, here, here and here for my previous Kindertransport related posts.