Escaping the Nazis as war began (animation)
Ruth relates her remarkable story of escape from Nazi controlled Prague to Safety and arrival in England on the day war began.
An escapee from Germany, who arrives in Britain on the day that war started, 3rd Sept 1939, relates her childhood experiences and remarkable courage of her mother. The German nationalisation of the Sudetenland under Chamberlain’s appeasement agreement with Hitler in Oct 1938, leads Ruth and her family to flee Germany to relative safety of Prague, Czechoslovakia. Hitler’s annexation of Czechoslovakia and move into Prague, March 1939, sees Ruth and her family in a state of desperation once again. Realising he’s a wanted man, Ruth’s father escapes over the border leaving Ruth, her brother and mother to fend for themselves. Like many of the 56,000 Jews in Prague now under Nazi occupation, we see her mother move from embassy to embassy seeking permissions to leave but found she could only leave without her children, which she would not do. Finally, a ‘miracle’ clerk from a British embassy, breaking the night curfew, brought the family papers to travel through Czechoslovakia, Holland and onto Britain – but they could take nothing with them and had to make it look as though they were only going on a day trip. Encounters with an SS Officer on the train who tried to ‘chat-up’ her mother up and Ruth asking continuously when they’d be in England, provide that extra child’s perspective of an experience that must have been harrowing and filled with dread. Upon arrival In England, it began to rain – the sign her mother had given her so she would know when she had arrived in England. Disembarking the train at Liverpool Street, London, at 11am on the 3rd Sept 1939, everything stopped as Chamberlain’s mournful voice announces the news that war had begun.