In April 2015 I had the opportunity to meet and interview Margot Hanau who, as a young girl, survived the Holocaust by being sent to England, along with her brother, by her parents via ‘der Kindertransport.’
She, her parents and brother lived in Mainz Germany during the rise to power of Hitler and the Nazi party before they were able to escape. Margot’s first-hand experiences bring to life this period of darkness that over-swept Europe and threatened the peace of the entire world.
One of the stories Margot told me was how she and her brother Erich played –on violin and piano – the Barcarolle from Tales of Hoffmann in the mid-1930s. So I titled my book “Margot Hanau’s Tale.”
Stories collected on March 28th and 29th 2015 which became the basis for “Margot Hanau’s Tale” written by Margot Hanau and Patricia Carley
“Kindertransport from Germany to England, 1939”
Margot Jungermann Hanau greets me at the door of her apartment on Long Island, New York. She is a petite lady with soft gray hair framing her sweet face. She takes my hand in hers while looking into my eyes with her own faded blue ones. She welcomes me into her comfortable, spacious living room which overlooks a pond in the middle of her apartment complex.
I wonder, briefly, if anything of her current living arrangements reminds her of her early life in Germany and England. She seems happy to be near the water.
As we settle in, I ask Margot a few background questions such as her date of birth; place of birth; parents’ names and occupations. She lists off the answers and soon begins to speak about her life as a Jewish-German girl in the mid-1930s as Hitler and the Nazis begin their rise to power and initiate the systematic elimination of Jews and other ‘undesirables’.
Her eyes take on a faraway look as she travels through her memories of nearly 80 years ago. For me this is history I read in a book for school. For Margot it is but yesterday.
It is her life story.
Following, is a collection of Margot’s reminiscences interwoven with historical background that bring to life ‘Der Kinderstransport’ or the exodus of 10,000 mostly Jewish-German children to England in the early years of what history calls World War II.