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05 Sep 2008 - AJR a proud sponsor of The Journey

AJR a proud sponsor of The Journey

AJR a proud sponsor of The Journey

The AJR is delighted and proud to be a prominent sponsor of 'The Journey', an exhibition exploring the lives of the Kindertransport that opens at the Holocaust Centre in Nottinghamshire on Sunday 7 September.

As part of the official opening of the exhibition, a group of AJR members will visit the Centre on Sunday 14 September.

'The Journey' follows the story of a fictional Jewish child, Leo Stein. Young visitors will walk through Leo's home, school and street. They will visit his father's shop, the 'hiding' space under the stairs and the carriage that takes him on his Journey to eventual safety in England. Visitors will also get to hear the stories of many children who survived Nazi persecution.

One such story concerns Dutch Holocaust Survivor, Dr. Martin Stern, who at the age of five was transported to Westerbork, a concentration camp in the Netherlands, before being sent to Terezin in Czechoslovakia. Of the 15,000 children sent to Terezin, little more than 100 survived.

Martin says, "I remember at the age of four looking out of a window onto a street near the centre of Amsterdam and seeing the uniformed Dutch Nazi Party marching with a brass band. Being a little boy and seeing a brass band, I was very enthusiastic about this.

One day, when I was five, I was at nursery school. My class was lined up against one wall of the little school hall. Two young Dutchmen walked in and asked "Is Martin Stern here?” The teacher answered at once saying that I had not come in that day. In my ignorance I put up my hand and said "But I am here". I was led away.”

Martin Stern survived and was liberated from Terezin on 9 May 1945 by the Soviet Army.

Director of The Holocaust Centre, Stephen Smith says, "'The Journey' offers a child a chance to learn about the experiences under the Nazis of children just like themselves. We will take them on a journey through history, a journey exploring identity, and a journey to discuss the values of the world we share."

Visiting the construction site in May, Ed Balls, the Secretary of State for Children and Families, said, "This exhibition will be hugely beneficial to help young children learn about the history of the Holocaust in an appropriate way. But its not just about absorbing information – it will also give young children a chance to question values, behaviours and attitudes and as such will be an investment in the future cohesion of our schools and communities."

AJR Chairman, Andrew Kaufman, said, “This excellent resource encapsulates one of the most poignant episodes in the Holocaust; the enforced separation of children from their parents, in most cases never to see each other again. There is a neat symmetry in that the people whose lives feature in The Journey were a similar age to those now who will visit the exhibition, and learn about the Kindertransport. We are sponsoring the project because we firmly believe that The Journey will be an invaluable resource when young people try to imagine and describe what it must be like to endure persecution, be separated from their families and build a new life in a foreign country.”