The following are short excerpts from some of the interviews with the Jewish children who came to the Lake District in August 1945. They are talking about their memories.
(Please note that a small number of the interviews are from original, non-digital, sources and the sound may be of variable quality.)
Jack Aizenberg was born in Staszow, Poland, in 1928. He survived incarceration in the Staszow Ghetto, Kielce, Buchenwald, Colditz and Therienstadt camps. He was liberated in May 1945 and arrived in Windermere in August 1945.
Interview courtesy of the Manchester Jewish Museum
Icek Alterman was born in Ozarow, Poland, in 1928. His experiences included confinement in the Ozarow Ghetto, and internment in Auschwitz-Birkenau and Dachau camps. He was liberated near Therienstadt in May 1945.
Joe Berger was born in Vienna, Austria in 1933. He was hidden with a local Catholic family in Vienna and then handed over to authorities and placed in a home. He was moved to Theresienstadt in 1942, from where he was liberated in May 1945.
Mayer Bomsztyk was born in Staszow, Poland, in 1928.
He survived experiences including imprisonment, work as a slave labourer in an ammunition factory at Kielce and internment in camps including Buchenwald and Rainsdorf. He was liberated from Theresienstadt in May 1945, and arrived in Windermere in August 1945.
Interview courtesy Manchester Jewish Museum
Bernie Frydenberg was born in Poland.
He survived many camps including Buchenwald and Colditz. He was liberated from Theresienstadt in May 1945 and arrived in Windermere in August 1945.
Jan Goldberger was born in Bielsko, Poland, in 1927.
His experiences included internment in Plaszow, Skarzysko-Kamienna, Buchenwald and Schlieben camps. He was liberated from Theresienstadt in May 1945, and came to Windermere in August 1945.
Ben Helfgott was born in Pabianice, Poland in 1929. He grew up in Piotrkow, and spent three years in Piotrkow Ghetto. He experienced internment in other camps including Buchenwald, Schlieben and Therienstadt, from where he was liberated in May 1945.
Arek Hersh was born in Sieradz, Poland, in 1928. He was initially confined in the Sieradz Ghetto, then survived internment in Otoczno (where he worked as a slave labourer constructing railways), the Lodz ghetto and Auschwitz-Birkenau and Buchenwald camps. He was liberated from Therienstadt in May 1945.
Interview courtesy Manchester Jewish Museum
Mayer Hersh was born in Sieradz, Poland, in 1926. He was initially confined in the Sieradz Ghetto, then survived internment in a series of camps including Otoczno, Guttenberg, Lusenheim, Auschwitz-Birkenau (for eighteen months), Stuffhoff, Geothe, and Buchenwald. He was liberated from Theresienstadt in May 1945.
Solly Irving was born in Ryki, Poland, in 1930.
He experienced incarceration in Deblin camp, was moved to Czestochowa and was liberated from Theresienstadt in May 1945. He arrived in Windermere in August 1945.
Minia Jay was born in Warta, Poland, in 1926. Her experiences included internment in the Warta Ghetto, Lodz Ghetto and Auschwitz-Birkenau camp. She was liberated from Therienstadt in May 1945.
Kopel Kendall was born in Bialobrzegi, Poland in 1928. He was deported to several camps including Schlieben, Buchenwald and Theresienstadt from where he was liberated in May 1945.
Pinkus Kurnedz was born in Piotrkow, Poland, in 1928.
He initially remained in Piotrkow with his family, who were taken away in 1942, and in September 1944 he was deported to other camps including Buchenwald, Colditz and Theresienstadt, from where he was liberated in May 1945, and arrived in Windermere in August 1945.
Interview courtesy Manchester Jewish Museum
Moshe Nurtman was born in Warka, Poland, in 1929.
He was initially in Kozienice concentration camp, and from 1942 onwards moved to Skarzysko-Kamienna, Buchenwald and finally to Theresienstadt, from where he was liberated in 1945. He arrived in Windermere in August 1945.
Harry Spiro was born in Piotrkow, Poland, in 1929.
He was held captive in the Piotrkow Ghetto, and then moved to camps including Czestokowa, Buchenwald, Reinsdorf and Theresiendtadt, from where he was liberated in May 1945. He arrived in Windermere in August 1945.
Berek Obuchowski was born in Osjaków, Poland in 1928. His was confined in Lodz Ghetto for over three years and then interred in Auschwitz-Birkenau, Babitz, Buchenwald, and Reinstorf. He was liberated from Therienstadt in May 1945.
Interview courtesy Ambleside Oral History Group.
Hannah Smith was born in Lodz, Poland, in 1929. Her experiences included internment in the Lodz Ghetto, the Piotrkow Ghetto and Auschwitz-Birkenau camp. She was liberated from Theresienstadt in May 1945.
Krulik Wilder was born in Piotrkow, Poland, in 1928.
He was a slave labourer in Piotrkow, and was sent to Czestochowa, then to Buchenwald in 1944. He was liberated from Theresienstadt in May 1945. He arrived in Windermere in August 1945.
Aron Zylberszac was born in Lodz, Poland, in 1927.
His experiences included confinement in the Lodz Ghetto, and internment in Auschwitz-Birkenau, Czehowitz and Remsdorf camps. He was liberated from Theresienstadt in May 1945, and came to Windermere in August 1945.
The following is a film made at a Holocaust Survivors Evening at Whitefield Golf Club in November 2018. Sam Laskier and Icek Alterman stayed in Windermere in August 1945. Sam Gontarz, a Holocaust Survivor, lives in Manchester and is a very close friend of Sam & Ike’s and knows many of ‘The Windermere Boys’. The presenter is Gary Silver, Captain of the club.
© Richer Productions, Manchester
Below is a short excerpt from a filmed interview made with Hertha Stiefel who was a cook at the time the Survivors were at Calgarth
and another with Maureen Livingston who was the nursery nurse appointed to look after the youngest Holocaust Survivors.
In the following excerpts, former residents of Calgarth Estate and the local community talk about their memories of the Jewish Children who stayed in the Lake District in between August 1945 and early 1946.
Pat Bottomley (nee Mooney) was born in Slough in 1935. In 1941, after German bombs destroyed their house, the family were moved to Windermere. They were the third family to move onto Calgarth Estate, which was still under construction at that time, and Pat’s father worked in the stores at the the Short Brothers factory at White Cross Bay. They lived at 13 Beck Island Road and Pat’s grandparents lived next door at number 15. Pat had to attend school in Ambleside until Calgarth Primary School opened in 1942.
Kevin Coulter was born in Dalton near Barrow-in-Furness in 1930. He became ill with osteomyelitis, a serious bone infection, and was treated in the Ethel Hedley Children’s Hospital near Windermere. He befriended Mendel Preter, one of the Jewish children brought to Windermere, who was a patient in the adjoining bed.
George Harrop was born in Barrow-in-Furness in 1931 and moved to Dartford when he was one year old. During the war the family were evacuated to Bowness and his mother, father, brother and sister began working at the Short Brothers factory at White Cross Bay. The family moved to 57 Calgarth Road and George travelled to school in Ambleside until December 1942, when the primary school opened at Calgarth.
Colin Heighton taught at the school on Calgarth Estate for a short time during the 1940s, soon after had completed his teacher training.
Eleanor Hicks was born in 1944 at 11 Park Hill Road, Calgarth. Her parents and four brothers had moved there in about 1942, when her father came to work at the factory at White Cross Bay. When the factory closed in 1945, Mr Hicks worked as a gardener and eventually became the coalman, delivering coal to the estate with Mr Brooks. As the houses were cleared for demolition around 1958/9, the family were moved to 88 Calgarth Road. They were one of the last families to leave the estate in 1960.
James Hicks and his twin brother Frank were born in Bedfordshire in 1939 and moved to Bowness with their family to escape the wartime bombs. In 1941 their father began work at the factory at White Cross Bay and they moved to 11 Park Hill Road, Calgarth Estate.
John Jones was born in the East End of London in 1936. His father was in the Merchant Navy and during the war, after German bombs had destroyed his house, John, his mother and his baby sister Iris moved to Derbyshire to live with a cousin. When Short Brothers in Rochester sent John’s grandfather to the factory at Windermere, his mother decided to join him. The family moved in with their grandparents on Beck Island Road and were then allocated a house at 53 Broadfield Road, Calgarth Estate.
Lou’ Llewellyn married in 1939 and moved to Rochester where her husband Cyril worked on the Short’s Empire flying boat. In 1941 they were amongst the first Short’s employees to move to Windermere as part of the feasibility study for the factory. When the houses were complete, they moved into 24 Beck Island Road, where Lou worked as a riveter’s dolly at the factory for a year, and later worked in the canteen at Calgarth Primary School.
Velma Smith was born in South Shields in County Durham in 1934. In 1939 she was evacuated to Crook in the Lake District. When her father started work at the Short Brothers factory at White Cross Bay in 1941, she and her family moved to 80 Calgarth Road. She attended Calgarth School when it opened in 1942 and was taught, for a short time, by Mr Heighton.
Bob Spratt lived in a house in Beech Street in Windermere, which was, for a time, a billet for the workers at the Short Brothers factory at White Cross Bay and then an RAF Sergeant’s Mess. In 1945, as a boy of fourteen, he remembers seeing the child Holocaust survivors in Windermere, and in later life became acquainted with Mayer Hersh (see above).
Interviews conducted by Trevor Avery, Ros Livshin, Liz Rice and Rosemary Smith. Additional interview material courtesy of the Manchester Jewish Museum