The Harwich Kindertransport Memorial and Learning Appeal is working to create and place a memorial statue and education programme for learning about the Kindertransport and the crucial role played by Harwich and Dovercourt.

Gateway to Freedom

The port of Harwich was the main point of entry for most of the 10,000 children who came to Britain on the Kindertransport, from December 1938 to the outbreak of war in September 1939. Nearly 2,000 children spent their first weeks at the Dovercourt holiday camp just two miles from the Harwich docks.

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We are well on our way to raising the £154,000 for the memorial statue – please help us to reach our target!

Existing memorials currently trace the journey of the children from Berlin, Vienna, Prague, Gdańsk, Hamburg to the Hook of Holland before reaching Liverpool Street Station.
Harwich is missing from this journey.

It is here that the story of the arrival of the children can be told.

Planning permission has been granted for this location for the new memorial on the Harwich quayside. This is close to the spot where the children first set foot on British soil – a gateway to life.

“We disembarked at Harwich and were taken out into some fields. The sun was shining, the air clean, the grass greener that any I had ever seen, and if ever freedom was a tangible thing, it was so that morning in Harwich.”

     – (John, later Rabbi, Rayner who arrived in Harwich as a boy from Germany in 1939)

Essex artist Ian Wolter is creating a bronze life-size statue which will evoke the arrival of the children by ship.

Wolter’s work has received numerous prizes including the Arte Laguna Prize (Venice, 2016) and RomArt Sculpture Prize (Rome, 2017) and he has been shortlisted for Passion for Freedom, London.

His most celebrated project The Children of Calais  (pictured) is a life-sized sculpture of six children in poses echoing The Burghers of Calais by Auguste Rodin, but dressed in contemporary clothing, recognising the plight of unaccompanied child refugees today.

Ian Wolter - sketch for Kindertransport Memorial in Harwich

Learning about the Kindertransport

With our partners the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust and Schools of Sanctuary, the memorial will generate a new education programme devoted to  Kindertransport history, encouraging young people to think about what it meant, and what it means, to be a refugee, who is fleeing racial violence and persecution.

We are grateful for the generosity of private donors, who have contributed to the commemoration of both the Kinder and their families.

The project is supported by The Association for Jewish Refugees (AJR), Tendring District Council, Harwich Town Council, Harwich Haven Authority, Essex Community Fund, The Bridges Impact Foundation and the University of Essex.

We are privileged to be endorsed by The Harwich Society, Liberal Judaism, and the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust (HMDT).