Making considerable use of primary sources, Berne tells the affecting story of the Kindertransport, a rescue effort that brought thousands of mostly Jewish children to Great Britain from Nazi Germany between 1938 and 1940.
Following Kristallnacht, British Jewish and Quaker leaders appealed to the British government to permit the temporary admission of unaccompanied Jewish children, with priority given to orphans and those whose parents were in concentration camps. Among the leaders was Sir Nicholas Winton, a British stockbroker who died in 2015 at 106. Organized before the outbreak of war and the implementation of the Final Solution, the effort was planned under the assumption that families would be reunited. Most children whose parents were alive when they left Germany never saw them again, and many of the children were the sole members of their families who survived. Berne focuses on the stories of seven of these children. In their own words, the survivors poignantly recount the pain of leaving loved ones behind and their experiences as refugees. The final chapter briefly explains what became of each survivor after the war. That Berne tells this story in language that makes it accessible to middle graders is no small feat, and though it is a brief account, it does its best to encompass the enormity of the Holocaust, mentioning, for instance, that “gay people, people with disabilities, Jehovah's Witnesses, and people who disagreed with Hitler's political policies” were targeted as well as Jews.
A powerful, insightful perspective on the Holocaust. (photos, timeline, glossary, bibliography, source notes) (Nonfiction. 8-12)