FAMILY members of Jewish child refugees who arrived in the UK through the Harwich port during the Kindertransport movement in the lead up to the Second World War were welcomed to the town this week.

The Kindertransport scheme saw the United Kingdom take in nearly 10,000 children of mostly Jewish origin from Germany in the nine months leading up to the war.

The vast majority of the rescued children arrived at Harwich unaccompanied by their parents - most of whom died in the Holocaust.

The first Kindertransport children arrived at Harwich on December 2 1938, with some taken to London and others taken to local holiday camps such as Dovercourt Bay.

Nearly 2,000 of the mostly Jewish children spent their first weeks at the Dovercourt holiday camp.

72 family members of the Kindertransport visited Harwich this week for a day-event organised by the Association of Jewish Refugees (AJR) and the Kindertransport Association (KTA), assisted by the Harwich Kindertransport Memorial & Learning Trust (HKMLT).

Gazette: Exhibition - The group visited an exhibition about Leslie Brent who was part of the KindertransportExhibition - The group visited an exhibition about Leslie Brent who was part of the Kindertransport (Image: HKMLT)

The group included 40 Americans and was accompanied by Mike Karp, AJR chief executive, Danny Kalman, chairman of AJR Kindertransport, Susan Harrod, AJR events and outreach manager, and Melissa Hacker, a Kindertransport film maker and editor.

Welcoming the group was HKMLT chairman Debbie Patterson Jones and the HKMLT director and High Steward of Harwich, Sue Daish.

The group visited an exhibition at the Electric Palace about the life of 'Kindertransportee' Leslie Brent who arrived on the first transport and stayed at the Dovercourt camp for several weeks.

This was followed by a visit to the memorial statue Safe Haven on Harwich Quay and a traditional lunch of fish and chips at the Pier Hotel.

The group also listened to refugee children’s recollections on the audio bench in the Mayor’s Garden and were invited to the Harwich Museum for an illustrated talk by curator David Whittle about the role of Harwich people in the Kindertransport story.

On behalf of the group, many of whom related very moving family histories, Susan Harrod thanked Debbie Patterson Jones and Sue Daish “for a very interesting, informative visit and successful day out”.