75 years ago (on 2nd December 1938) the first unaccompanied child refugees from Nazi-occupied Europe arrived in Britain, at the start of what became known as the Kindertransport. Over a period of eighteen months more than 9,500 children were saved from almost certain death. Very few ever saw their parents or extended families again.
Suitcase, an original theatre piece first performed at London’s Liverpool Street Station in 2008, has been touring Britain to mark the anniversary. There will be three performances at Lime Street Station on 22nd November (at 10.30am, 1pm and 7.30pm).
The play takes small audience groups on a journey across and through the station, recreating the scenes of bewildered Kindertransport children, the waiting foster parents, transport organisers and bemused railway workers and bystanders.
The production has been devised by director Ros Merkin and produced by her sister Jane, daughters of Jo Merkin who came from Vienna on the Kindertransport in December 1938. Ros Merkin says, The Kindertransport has always been an important part of our lives as our mother came to Britain on it with her two sisters. Moments from her story have always stayed with us – arriving in a coat made in the “English fashion”, travelling from Vienna to Sunderland, running away to London when she was 15 because the family she was placed with made her leave school to look after their baby. Suitcase wants to mark these moments and these stories – this will be the last major anniversary in which many of the kinder will be able to take part.’
Performances are free, but tickets should be booked in advance through www.suitcase1938.org or by calling 07551 050875.