This week, the Hollywood press announced that Sir Anthony Hopkins is set to bring the story of the Kindertransport to a mass global audience when he stars in a forthcoming biopic about Sir Nicholas Winton.
Beginning in November 2019, the Association of Jewish Refugees (AJR) made its own foray into popularizing this historical episode – albeit one that garnered less attention. Its 10-episode documentary series "Kindertransport: Remembering & Rethinking" concluded in August 2020 with an emotional finale looking at the legacy and contemporary relevance of the Kindertransport.
User reviews compiled by Chartable, the company responsible for tracking podcast metrics, award a unanimous 5-stars to “Kindertransport”.
The documentary podcast series makes use of the AJR’s Refugee Voices testimony archive, consisting of the recorded life stories of more than 250 Holocaust survivors and refugees. Over the course of each podcast episode, these invaluable first-person accounts weave together a nuanced story about the Kindertransport. The detailed recollections that emerge demonstrate that the history of the Kindertransport was far more complex than the straightforward redemptive tale of rescue that many people know.
Praise for "Kindertransport: Remembering & Rethinking"
Prominent voices from across the Holocaust education and remembrance sector agree on the value of the podcast.
Lord Pickles, Head of the UK delegation to the IHRA and the UK Special Envoy for Post-Holocaust issues said: “The AJR’s brilliant Kindertransport podcast series is the first of its kind – using first-person accounts to tell the story of the Kindertransport from multiple different angles and raise challenging moral questions. The work of the UK Holocaust Memorial Foundation is centred on exploring Britain’s actions during the Nazi era in all their complexity, and this podcast encourages listeners to do exactly that.”
Antony Lishak, Chief Executive of Learning from the Righteous, called it an “Unbelievably important resource. Proof, if proof was needed, that the authentic voice of the eye-witness can forever remain at the heart of learning and commemoration of the Holocaust.”
Sir Erich Reich, who himself arrived in Britain in 1939 at the age of 4 on a Kindertransport, said: “I wholeheartedly recommend this first-class series on the Kindertransport, which movingly explores this unique episode of European history, the lives of the Kinder, and the legacy of refugee policy, and is a lesson to us all regarding today’s unaccompanied children refugees.”
Danny Kalman, who is the son of a Kindertransport refugee and the Chair of the AJR’s Kindertransport group, said: “By so closely examining the Kindertransport in all its complexities, this series brings awareness of lesser-known aspects of this unique act of rescue and shows that the Kindertransport brought more than salvation.”
The podcast series is produced and hosted by the AJR’s Head of Educational Grants and Projects, Alex Maws, who is also a member of the IHRA's UK delegation and part of the Education Working Group. A long-time Holocaust educator, Maws says he consciously sought to encourage listeners to examine difficult moral questions and challenge their assumptions.
“The story of the Kindertransport is one that raises countless questions,” Maws said. “Rather than attempting the impossible task of providing simple answers, the podcast aims to be thought provoking, encouraging listeners to embrace the ambiguities because that is what is required to truly understand the history of the Kindertransport.”
"Kindertransport: Remembering & Rethinking" is available on all major podcast platforms.