I’ve seen a few Kindertransport sculptures and memorials around Europe, not least in Gdansk and at London Liverpool Street railway station. This memorial in Harwich is titled Safe Haven and was sculpted by Ian Wolter (https://ianwolter.com/safe-haven/), having been unveiled at Harwich Quayside on 1 September 2022.
It’s located here as nearby on 2 December 1938 a ferry docked which included 200 mostly Jewish children from Germany, a Kindertransport designed to save their lives. Around 10,000 children, mostly from children’s homes, were brought to Britain as part of the process and many were sent to the nearby Dovercourt Bay Holiday Camp. The first transportation took place just days after Kristallnacht, the organised campaign of terror against Jewish communities across Germany.
It’s a beautiful and touching sculpture with an information board nearby to explain the concept of the Kindertransport. The imagery is powerful, these five scared children walking down a plank to a new world which would have no doubt been frightening to them, but it was likely a journey that saved their lives. I’ve noted before that every time I write about this subject, I feel the need to mention Sir Nicholas Winton, one of the greatest humanitarians of the twentieth century. Some politicians today might perhaps be better served, or at least the country would be, by being inspired by his politics of compassion rather than deciding to opt for hatred and scaremongering.
The memorial has its own web-site which has plenty more information about its history and what the children involved went through.