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Yad Vashem No Child's Play

In the Shadow of the War

Jewish refugee children from Germany deported in December 1938 to a demilitarized zone between Hungary and Czechoslovakia
Jewish refugee children from
Germany deported in December
1938 to a demilitarized zone
between Hungary and
Czechoslovakia
Childhood album of Ruth Frankel-Kolani, born on July 1, 1940, in Shanghai. Her parents had fled there from Germany and Austria
Childhood album of Ruth Frankel-Kolani,
born on July 1, 1940, in Shanghai.
Her parents had fled there
from Germany and Austria

After the Nazis’ rise to power in 1933, the plight of German Jews worsened steadily. Laws were passed which affected every facet of their daily lives, and removed them, among other things, from the economy and general educational establishment. Jewish communities tried to set up their own educational systems. Growing numbers sought to leave Germany, but few countries were willing to admit them due to a general rise in antisemitism.

Many parents decided to part from their children and send them away in order to assure their future. Before the outbreak of World War II in September 1939, Youth Aliyah succeeded in bringing some 5,000 children to Palestine. Another 9,000 found shelter in Great Britain after Kristallnacht in November 1938. Many thousands, however, sought asylum unsuccessfully. Most of the children who emigrated never saw their parents again.