This year's guest speaker was Mrs Kay Fyne. She spoke to girls from year 9 and above about the Kindertransport. Kay grew up in Bavaria, southern Germany, in the 1930s. She talked of her life as a young Jewish girl during the time when the Nazis were in power. She explained how Jewish people were not allowed to be in the same schools as other non-Jewish children and how the Jewish population were not allowed to go in to certain shops, the cinema or the newly built swimming pool.
Her father heard that Britain was allowing 10,000 Jewish children into the country and her parents arranged for Kay and her four brothers and sisters to go. This transport of Jewish children is known as the Kindertransport. Her parents built it up as a big adventure and Kay and her siblings were exited at the prospect of going to Britain. They were told that their parents would be following in a month or two. The reality was hidden from them.Â
Each child had a number and Kay's was 9557. They left Germany on 27th August 1939 and arrived in Holland, the following day. Five days later, Germany invaded Poland and three days after that World War Two started. Kay's train was the last successful Kindertransport to leave Germany. The one after was halted by the Germans.Â
Kay spoke of her life in England when she arrived. It was very strange; a different culture and a strange language. She learned English very quickly in a boarding school. They also received Red Cross letters from her parents. These were only allowed to be 25 words long and so were her replies. In 1942, these letters stopped.Â
After the war, her eldest brother was in the army and visited the village and friends of the family from before the war. These friends had kept two letters, hidden from the Nazis, one from their father and one from their mother. The brother took the letters but as they were written in old fashioned German, he could not read them and in the chaos of the aftermath of the war he put them away and forgot about them. He also tried to find the names of his family on the list of survivors from the concentration and death camps but without luck.Â
A few years later, Kay was living in Israel and went to Yad Vashem. This is the Israeli holocaust memorial but also a research centre into what happened in the camps. It was then that she found out that her entire family, all who had remained in Germany, has been killed by the Nazis in the death camps. The authorities did not know in which Death Camp they had died, only the holding camp that they were sent to. Kay lost 13 members of her family. Her parents, uncles and aunts as well as all their children, some they same age as Kay who did not go on the Kindertransport. She also found out about the letters that her brother had and had them translated. Her parents wrote about how awful their life was in Germany between 1940 and 1942.Â
Last year, Kay and her entire family went to the town they lived in before the war. They were so warmly welcomed. Some of the elderly people remembered them and the young people of the town were lovely to them. The town had built a memorial to the Jews of the town who had died in the Holocaust. The names of Kay's family are amongst those on that memorial. A few months later, some of the German families came to Liverpool.
To conclude, Kay spoke two groups from the school. What was meant to be small groups of 30 ended up being groups of 70 plus as year 11's and sixth formers came in. I have never witnessed a classroom of so many girls in silence and absolute awe of what they were being told. Kay, 82 years old and quietly spoken, had them in the palm of her hand and the girls applauded and asked her lots of questions. During her third talk to year 10 GCSE history classes her voice gave out and I told the group the story. Kay came in at the end and again was bombarded with question which, despite the poor voice and the cough, she willingly answered.