card game

 

Sep 2009 Journal

previous article:Confused as never before (Point of view series)
next article:Art Notes (review)

Kindertransport Survey completed

Going public

The ambitious project to create an archive and a database of the Kindertransportees’ experience and the historic act of rescue of 1938/39 is now complete. Much effort has been exerted over recent months in improving details of the statistics in order to ensure the maximum integrity of the completed database, which is run on Microsoft Excel. We are now ready to go public.

 

The database can be viewed in the Kindertransport section of the AJR website alongside a full description of the project at www.ajr.org.uk/kindertransport

 

In order to view the database, you must have the Microsoft programme Excel or another spreadsheet programme allowing Excel to be opened on your computer. (It is simply too expensive to create and send printed versions of the database.)

 

We hope that those of you who do download the database will send us your comments, and any feedback on possible errors, by the end of November 2009, after which the database will be made available to historians, research students, libraries and seats of learning.

 

Preserving the Survey forms

The scanning to digital file of all the forms we received, both the Main forms as well as the Supplementary ones, has been completed in order to preserve this material and make it as widely available as possible.

The scanning covered all aspects of the Survey - every page, including all the anecdotal additions supplied by well over half the respondents.

This mammoth task, involving approximately 12,000 pages, was generously completed, totally free of charge, by the specialist document management company Rolace of Melton Mowbray, Bucks (see also acknowledgements below).

The original forms are now safely stored, and maintained for posterity, at the Wiener Library, whilst the scanned records will be kept by the AJR and KT/AJR, with every word preserved.
 

Future plans

Further work on the ancillary anecdotal information sent with the questionnaires is being carried out, with the objective of making this material searchable. This will take time and cost money, but will reveal much more of the story of those days, now many years ago, for the benefit of historical knowledge.

When funds or donor generosity permit, we hope to make available a version of the database that can be queried and analysed online.
 

Thanks and acknowledgements

First and foremost, our highest appreciation is due to one and all of the erstwhile Kinder - wherever in the world - who have kindly and diligently worked with us by completing and returning the questionnaires. This was a great effort - without your input, there would be no archive. Many thanks.

 

It was my privilege to lead the team who did the work, and I wish to acknowledge in particular the following:
 

Bertha Leverton, who drafted the first attempt of the successful questionnaire;
Ronald Channing, who gave unstinting support throughout the entire project;
Frances Williams, a PhD student at Edinburgh University, who was engaged in creating and completing the digitising of the database;
Kurt Taussig, who spent many, many hours editing the database;
Tom Heinersdorff for all his help and computer expertise, his unstinting efforts and many hours of devotion generously given;
The AJR Trustees for granting the necessary funding;
All others who helped in supporting the successful outcome of the archive.

Rolace
The enormous task of scanning 12,000 pages of the original Survey forms and ancillary material we received was most generously donated by the specialist document management company Rolace of Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire. We would like to express our particular gratitude to Carole Lancaster, Managing Director of Rolace, and Karen Puryer, the Production Manager, for recognising the importance of the historic event of the Kindertransport - the saving of our lives - and preserving the record of the contribution we have made to our society. Rolace paid special attention to data protection issues and to document assembly, so that the digital versions protect the identity of Survey respondents and the originals were correctly re-assembled. We elected not to take advantage of Rolace’s Secure Document Shredding service because of the historic relevance of the originals.
 

We hope you will find the database interesting. It is the first time, to our knowledge, that a statistical database containing so much detail of what is now an important part of UK history and Holocaust knowledge has been attempted.

 


 

Hermann Hirschberger

previous article:Confused as never before (Point of view series)
next article:Art Notes (review)