Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Vera Gissing - April 22, 2006

Permission to Leave on Kindertransport

And then one day we were sitting--we were having supper and sitting around the table and mother was making tea and she suddenly put her knife and fork down and looked at father and she said, "I heard today that Eva and Vera can go." I'll never forget the look on father's face. Covered it in his hands. There was a deathly sigh and then he looked up at us and there were tears in his eye. He said, "Very well, we have to let them hide." Amazing how these things are still so much in my head and my heart, you know, that as if it was yesterday. And, of course, they saved our lives. And, you know, later on--much later on when I found out that my parents did not survive and my aunt--my mother's sister--she buried my mother in Belsen, two days after the end of the war. And those two young cousins from Prague--they went from camp to camp and as skeletons--they ended in Belsen. And auntie and my mother--before she caught typhus--saw them because they were standing by the fence or whatever which divided uh, the barbed wire, which divided the male camp from the female. And they were shouting "Kessner! Kessner! Kessner!" which was my mother's uh, maiden name and my auntie's name because she didn't--hadn't married. They didn't recognize the boys, they were just skeletons. And auntie--my Auntie Berta--she buried all three in Belsen all after the end of the war. And the youngest on his sixteenth birthday. Um, they were supposed to come--homes had been found for them, and they were due to come on that last transport, that fated trans...it was due to leave on 1st of September, the day uh, Hitler invaded Poland and all borders were closed.


Um, when I was writing the book on Nicky Winton, I did my best to research how many of those two hundred and fifty children had survived.

How many did you find?

Two. And those children were taken before, um, before the rest of them went to the camps to Palestine because their parents found enough money to give to the Germans to get their permission for them to leave. So all in all, none of them survived. Because the others, you know, weren't, weren't involved.

This is the seventh transport, seventh...

Uh, the eighth.

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