Tuesday, 11 August 2015

The Monument to the Evacuated Children in Gdansk

12th August 2015 
Next to the main railway station in Gdansk thee is an interesting monument presenting children with their suitcases. It commemorates Jewish children  which were evacuated from Gdańsk to Britain ( 1938-1939)  in what became known as ‘kindertransports’. Sculptor Frank Meisler was one of them, and on May 6, 2009 his memorial to this exodus was unveiled outside Gdańsk Główny train station.


The monument commemorates the transports of Jewish children from Germany and other territories occupied by Germany to the United Kingdom, whose government agreed to admit an unlimited number of children. By September 1, 1939, when the final transport arrived, over 10,000 children had been taken, including some 100 from Gdansk. The bronze monument depicts five children of different ages standing on a platform right before the train leaves.

The first monument commemorating the Kindertransport effort was erected in London in 2006 on the initiative of the Jewish Care organisation under the auspices of Prince Charles. The monument stands near Liverpool Street Station, which was the destination of the Kindertransports and depicts a group of Jewish children with hand luggage and a train rail which symbolises the journey into the unknown. The second Kindertransport Monument was unveiled in autumn 2008 by the Friedrichstrasse train station in Berlin. The Monument’s name is Zuge in das Leben - Zuge in den Tod (Trains to Life – Trains to Death) and depicts two groups of children on train tracks: a smaller group which was saved thanks to the Kindertransports and a larger group which went to the Nazi death camps. The Gdansk monument completes the entire cycle. The artist’s concept is that the children in the Gdansk Monument are the same figures as those who get off the train at Liverpool Street Station in London. In Gdansk, the primary subject is departure, saying goodbye to your birthplace and parting – most usually forever – with your families. The bronze monument was designed by Frank Meisler, a sculptor born in Gdansk who was himself one of the children of the Kindertransports. It was at the train station in Gdansk that he saw his parents for the last time. The sculpture is very emotional, it depicts five children of different ages waiting for the train with their modest luggage. 



Some people who are waiting for trains sitting there.. 



9 comments:

  1. Sad, very sad. Man's inhumanity to mankind.
    I presume this monument has various translations
    on the plaque?
    Colin

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  2. It is a moving monument. How cool that the sculptor was one of them.

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  3. Good that there is this sad but nice reminder.
    Even today it is emotionally hard for me to ride the older trains in Eastern Europe-- part of that old collective memory problem.

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  4. Awesome post, Gosia, and thanks so much for joining in to the challenge today. In our travels to Germany and Poland, we have seen many monuments based on that awful time in history, but this one has escaped us. Again, thanks for the history lesson.

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  5. This is the darkest age in history. A sad reminder.

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  6. A lovely sculpture by one of them as a reminder of those dark days...they will not be forgotten.

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  7. A lovely reminder of a sad time for the world.

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  8. so very terrifying that must have been for them!

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  9. Sad and so very moving! I am so glad the monument has been erected to these children.

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