Refugee Week Event in Harwich

Friday 23 June 2023 3.30-6.30pm

Come join us in Historic Harwich on Friday 23rd June!

As asylum seekers keep arriving or sadly perish at sea, it is apt to hold an event in the framework of the Refugee Week Festival, next to the evocative Kindertransport memorial – where we can share stories of child refugees, and be inspired by the Safe Haven they reached.

For the very first time, we are holding a Refugee Week event in memory of the thousands of Jewish children who arrived here alone in the months before WW2 erupted.

The event will involve creative activities that will highlight the positive elements of the Kindertransport response to child refugees: Kindness, Tolerance, Respect, Diversity in Culture, Intercultural Exchange, Multilingualism.

The theme for this year’s Refugee Week (19-25 June) is ‘Compassion’. In Harwich, which was the first and main point of entry for thousands of unaccompanied Jewish child refugees, Harwich Kindertransport Memorial and Learning Trust is using the synonym KINDNESS – derived from the Kindertransport – the name of the unique rescue project that saved 10,000 children from Nazi persecution in 1938-1939 in response to burgeoning violence against Jews. The vast majority would never see their parents again. (‘Kind’=child in German). Participants will be encouraged to learn about the journey of child refugees, prompted by Kinder and survivors’ stories and poems, and express their thoughts and feelings through different artforms. 

This event will offer an exciting and enriching opportunity for local children that reminds them of our history but also filters in very nicely with their learning objectives in many subject areas.

The creative activities will focus on life stories, books and poems by, about, and for child refugees. The Electric Palace Cinema and The Harwich Arts Festival will host and creatively support this event.

The event will also be supported by Harwich Town Council and other local organisations. 

The event will include a tribute to Graham Crame RIP, our former Director, a great friend and veteran of many humanitarian aid convoys for Hope and Aid Direct. His compassionate and mindful legacy will continue to guide our work in building the Kindertransport Memorial in Harwich, his beloved hometown, and the development and implementation of the educational programme.

Creative Facilitation: We are collaborating with a group of volunteers, consisting mostly of qualified and experienced educators, specialised in primary schools education and / or Holocaust Education. Also supporting their facilitation on site are Arts professionals and academics.

It is a pilot event where we are inviting some local children to attend workshops that aim to highlight the plight of refugees with references to the past (children arriving here) but looking to the now, encouraging compassion through creative activities of art, poetry and craft.
Exhibition opening at 6pm: A display of creative output will be inaugurated in a unique space – The Red Box, run by local creative professional Rachel Matthews, as well as in other public spaces in Historic Harwich.

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