July 20, 2024
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An Open Letter From the Kindertransport Association

In November 1938, on the cusp of World War II, England agreed to rescue 10,000 Jewish children residing in Europe. This rescue operation, which continued through September 1939 when war broke out, was named the Kindertransport. Only children under the age of 17 were permitted to participate, escaping by boat and train to England. Their parents had to make an unreasonable choice—to part with their children, perhaps forever, or to keep them home to face unknown, unspeakable dangers. In fact, a vast majority of the children, who even included infants, never saw their parents again. Their parents, grandparents and relatives were taken to concentration camps and murdered by the Nazis.

We who are writing are the children of those children who escaped the Nazis via the Kindertransport.

The Kindertransport Association was formed to educate and inform the “next generations” and the public so that the critical role of the Kindertransport during the Holocaust would not be forgotten. But that is only one part of our mission. As the children of Holocaust survivors, we carry the burden of ensuring that the horrors imposed by the Holocaust on our families and the world shall not be forgotten.

We believe that we have a moral imperative to educate future generations so that no one will be forced to make the choices our grandparents made.

With this mission in mind, the Kindertransport Association condemns the January 2022 ban of Art Spiegelman’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel “Maus” by the Board of Education of McMinn County, Tennessee. “Maus” has been held in wide esteem and used by educators to teach children about the Holocaust. The “graphic” nature of “Maus” is central to its integrity. It is a nonfiction work depicting Art Spiegelman, an acclaimed American cartoonist, interviewing his father about his experiences as a Polish Jew and Holocaust survivor. We believe that the banning of “Maus” as “too graphic” is a pretext and furthers the agenda of those who would prefer to forget or even disclaim the existence of the Holocaust. The banning of “Maus” evokes memories of books being burned by the Nazis and the demise of democracy in Germany.

Our parents, Holocaust victims, had us with the greatest hope that future generations would live in a peaceful world.

We believe education is at the root of hope for a peaceful future for all mankind. We believe, in these particularly fraught times of unrest all over the world, that banning “Maus” not only sends the wrong message, but that it sets a dangerous precedent.

Ora Gordon
Executive Vice President Kindertransport Association
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