About the Trail
Testimonies are central to The Journey exhibition. They are important because they give us direct access to the thoughts and feelings of Jewish children during National Socialism. They bring life to the stories behind the few special objects that refugees were able to bring to England and that can be seen here at The Journey exhibition.
You will listen to testimonies and learn about the precious artefacts of the following survivors as you explore the exhibition trail. Here are their brief biographies.
Bernard was born in 1923 in Lingen, Germany. Aged 15 years old, Bernard came over to England on the Kindertransport. Bernard’s father, mother and sister were all murdered by the Nazi regime.
Harry Bibring was born in Vienna in December 1925. Harry, his parents and sister Gerda lived in the centre of Vienna leading a full and happy life until Austria was occupied in 1938. Harry felt the change especially at school when his non-Jewish friends stopped talking to him and a barrier was now in place. Harry and his sister both came to England on the Kindertransport whilst his parents were left behind in Vienna. His parents tried in earnest to join Harry and Gerda in England but it never happened. Harry’s parents were both murdered by the Nazi regime.
Ruth David was born Ruth Luise Oppenheimer in March 1929 in Frankfurt, Germany. Ruth grew up in Fränkisch-Crumbach in Germany in a full and busy household with many siblings. Anti Jewish persecution escalated as the Nazis took hold of Germany, and this resulted in Ruth’s parents seeking refuge for their daughter and their other children. Ruth came to England on the Kindertransport in 1939 – she never saw her parents again as they were murdered by the Nazi regime.
Meet John Fieldsend. John grew up in Dresden, Germany, born to a Czech mother and a German father. He can remember when Hitler visited Dresden in 1935 and spoke in the town square. Because they were Jewish, John and his family locked themselves into their apartment but they could still hear Hitler’s terrifying shouting, ‘Die Juden, die Juden…those terrible Jews’.
Ellen Rawson nee Herrman was born in Königsberg, East Prussia in 1922. Ellen, her two brothers and parents lived happily until 1938 when Adolf Hitler came into power. The change was subtle, but when it became apparent that Jews would face increasing anti Semitism and prejudice in every facet of society, Ellen’s parents organised for Ellen to come to England on the Kindertransport. Ellen and her brother Gert were the only survivors of the Herrman family. Ellen settled in England and eventually married.
Simon was born in 1938, in Radzivillov which at that time was in Poland, and is now in Ukraine. He lived happily with his family until the Nazi invasion of Poland in 1939. In 1941 Nazi soldiers arrived in Radzivillov, and a ghetto was established. Simon and his family were held there until September 1942, when Simon’s father engineered their escape using some of the gold he had previously hidden. The family then went into hiding, and remained in hiding until just prior to the end of the Second World War when Russian troops liberated the area. Simon and his family moved from D.P camp to D.P camp before eventually coming to England and settling in Nottingham.
Janine Webber was born in 1932 and lived in Lwów, then Poland, with her family. Lwów had a large Jewish community which diminished under Nazi occupation. Janine’s family fled Nazi persecution and went into hiding. Janine hid with several families during the Holocaust, having been separated from her own family. Many members of Janine’s family were murdered at the hands of the Nazis. Janine came over to England in 1956 where she settled.