Authorpreneur Dashboard – Jana Zinser

Jana  Zinser

The Children’s Train

Literature & Fiction

In November 1938 on The Night of the Broken Glass, the Jewish people of Germany are terrified as Hitler's men shatter their store windows, steal and destroy their belongings, and arrest many Jewish fathers and brothers. Parents fear for their own lives but their focus is on protecting their children. When England arranges to take the children out of Germany by train, the Kindertransport is organized and parents scramble to get places on the trains for their young family members, worried about what the future will hold. Soon, trains filled with Jewish children escaping the Nazis chug over the border into Holland, where they are ferried across the English Channel to England and to freedom. But for Peter, the shy violin player, his sister Becca, and his friends Stephen and Hans, life in England holds challenges as well. Peter’s friend Eva, who did not get a seat on the Kindertransport, is left to the evil plans of Hitler. Peter, working his musician’s hands raw at a farm in Coventry, wonders if they should have stayed and fought back instead of escaping. When the Coventry farm is bombed and Nazis have reached England, Peter feels he has nothing left. He decides it’s time to stand and fight Hitler. Peter returns to Germany to join the Jewish underground resistance, search for the mother and sister he left behind in Berlin, and rescue his childhood friend Eva.

Book Bubbles from The Children’s Train

Death Comes

Nazi Germany-1940-- Death became too common place but the emotional turmoil and fear only increased until it was a way of life for the Jewish people.

School Was Taken Away

November 1938-Germany-The Jewish children were thrown out of school as their rights were being stripped away.

The War is Over

May 7, 1945--England. World War II was finally over and there was joyful celebration in the streets. But the consequences of the war would last a lifetime.

The Death of Parents

December 1941 Nazi Germany-- Noah was left an orphan, yet, he survived and lived to help other children.

Uncertain Future

September 1, 1939. Nazi Germany-- No one knew the extent of Hitler's evil. September 1 saw the last Kindertransport from Germany. As soon as Germany invaded Poland the borders were closed and no more trains left for England.

The Power Against Them Increased

Nazi Germany, 1939--The rights of Jewish people were taken away, little by little, until their power to fight back was eliminated.

Death Became the Normal

In 1942 Nazi Germany, the murder of Jewish people became routine. Fighting back became nearly impossible.

A Tremendous Battle

May 19, 1940--England-- Peter had escaped to England but England was now fighting his homeland. There was no winning for Peter.

Life in Camp

April 1939--Nazi Germany-- Eva, who did not make it on the Kindertransport, suffered in a work camp. At night in her bunk, she dreamed of what her friends were doing in England.

Missing the Children

January 1939-Germany--The families who sent their children on trains to England from Germany were distraught without them, but they knew at least they were safe. However, that knowledge did nothing to ease their suffering. No parent should live without their children and no child should live without their parents.

Finding a Home

June 1939--England--Many of the Kindertransport children were placed in private homes in England. But they weren't at home. Their homes were still back in Germany and the adjustment was hard.

The Hostel In England

June 1939--England-- Some of the older Kindertransport kids were sent to hostels to live in England.

Getting Out

June 1939, Berlin, Germany-- At first, Hitler was allowing Jewish people to leave...if they could find a country that would take them, get the necessary documents, and find the money to leave. Nothing was easy, especially getting out of Germany.

Where's Eddie?

October 1942-German Jewish ghettos. Waiting in line for deportation, Anna's son was nowhere to be found. What should she do? Which fate was worse?

At Least His Violin Was Safe

1938--Germany--As Hitler's restrictions increased, Jewish children were bullied at school.

You Are Not Alone.

1938--Germany--The devastation after the Night of Broken Glass was not just the destruction of the Jewish families' homes and stores, it was also the annihilation of their security.

Peter Was a Soldier

1945--Germany-- The Jewish rebels with little resources, didn't give up in their attempts at sabotage.

But I'm a Doctor

1939--Germany--The Jewish parents left behind after the Kindertransport children rode the trains to England, faced the growing tension and restrictions of Hitler.

Petrol Bombs

The Jewish rebels fought back in small ways against Hitler and his powerful Nazis.

Worst Nightmares

November 1940-England. Now the Nazis' were bombing England. The Kindertansport workers moved many of the children to the English countryside to keep them safe.

Invasion

March 1939-Nazi Germany--Hitler was on the move, now occupying Czechoslovakia. Hope seemed lost.

The Night of Broken Glass

November 1938- Nazi Germany--The homes and businesses of Jewish people were broken into and ransacked. It was the beginning of worse things to come.

Rebellion

May 1941-Holland--The Jewish rebels needed supplies and people to help carry out their secret rebellion. Peter was eager to join.

Matched with English Families

Feb. 1939, England-----Sometimes the families the children lived with in England were not a good match.

England is Bombed

Nov. 1940-England-------- When the farm Peter is staying at in Conventry is bombed, he decides he can't hide, he must fight back.

Hidden in an Attic

April 1939 Germany------------- Parents of Kindertransport children, left behind in Germany, tried to get out. They promised their children they would come as soon as they could. That promise was not always kept.

A Warning

1939- Germany Forced by his father to be a Nazi, Otto warns the Levys to leave, saving their lives.

I Should Have Warned You

1941-Germany At the Nazi work camp, Eva and her mother contemplate how their lives took such a drastic turn.

Broken Remnants of Life

Germany 1939- Children who did not make it out on the Kindertransports often had to survive in Germany, any way they could.

She Doesn't Belong Here

January, 1939 London- Even after the children escaped to England, they were often homesick for their families back in Germany.

Resentment Still Lingered

June 1945--Even after the war was over and people returned to their old Germany lives, most of what they knew was gone. It would be a long struggle yet to regain normalcy.

The Last Night

1939-Germany. The night before the children left for England on the Kindertransport was particularly bittersweet. It was the children's chance for safety but leaving their families was a heartbreaking parting.

Go On In

England, 1939-- Many of the older Kindertransport children were taken to hostels to live.

Earning His Keep

England 1939- Many of the older Kindertransport children helped the families that took them in by doing chores or being a nanny to the other children. Peter worked as a farmhand and at least he was safe. But was that enough for Peter?

A Big Rebellion

When there was opportunity, there was sabotage inside the camps. This one had help from outside as well.

Hilter's Death Camps

May 1943- The horrors of Hitler's death camps were almost too much for humans to comprehend. But the reality for some was too close to ignore.

No One Gets Out of Here Alive

Germany 1942- The reality of Hitler's evil was almost too much to comprehend, but when the realization came, it was heartbreakingly overwhelming.

Spunky Little Spitfire

1939-Nazi Germany. Children had to grow up fast. Peter had to take responsibility for his little sister on the Kindertransport and at 12, Peter knew he couldn't even take care of himself.

Heat and No Horse Meat

1939-Many of the Kindertransport children were sent to Dovercourt, a summer camp in England, to wait for foster families to take them. Some were sent to hostels. They were lucky to be safe but unlucky to be without their families.

The End of the Line

October 1942- Never forget the suffering of the past. Never let it come again. Always speak out.

Not Good News

1940-The Kindertransport children received little information about their parents back in Germany. The few letters that reached them usually brought bad news.

No One is Spared

In January 1945, in Nazi Germany, no one was spared. Even the inmates who served as matrons in the camps and did the Nazis' bidding were inmates nonetheless, and suffered the same fate.

Poisoning People

December 1941: In Germany, the Nazi killings had become so routine that the most shocking policy had become the usual, and that was the most shocking thing of all.

The Violin Connection

In August of 1939, Peter, a German boy who rode the Kindertransport train to safety in England, was sent to Coventry to live on a farm. His violin was his only remaining connection to music and his father.

Hold Tightly To My Hand

1942. Hilter's evil brought death as a common occurrence for the Jewish people. But their love for each other grew even stronger to match their beliefs.

September 1939

When Germany invaded Poland, the borders were closed and the Kindertransport was shut down for the German children.

Nazi Trauma

The children of the Holocaust lived through unspeakable horror, and even after their freedom, the ghastly memories of being ripped from their homes and loved ones affected their lives.

Baby in the Basket

Parents were so desperate to save their children from Hitler, they were willing to try to sneak them onto the Kindertransport and hopefully to safety.

The Butcher Shop

It was 1942, Peter, who had escaped to England on the Kindertransport, longed for the days before Hitler's terror when he lived with his mother and father and sister above his father's butcher shop.

Operation Skyrocket

In 1941, Peter and his rebel friends began planning a break-in to the Soblin Getto. A place where everyone wanted out.

Waiting for Good News

In 1940, the Kindertransport kids who had escaped to England lived their lives the best they could while waiting for news of their families.

Worth the Risk

In 1942, many Jewish prisoners in Hitler's camps tried to escape. Some made it, but many did not.

Nowhere to Go

Expelled to Poland and a refugee camp or living in a Jewish Residential District in Germany, losing their homes under Hitler's regime was only the beginning of what would be taken from them.

Not Even the Small Ones

The rise of Hitler and his increasing power brought fear and trepidation to all the Jewish people. Hate was beginning to win in Germany in 1938.

You Are Not Alone

In 1938, the Night of Broken Glass destroyed Jewish homes and stores, and crushed all hope that they would be safe under the new policies of Hitler.

The Little One.

The older Kindertransport children were sent to a summer camp to wait for families to choose them. Peter was chosen by a farm couple because he could fit into the attic. But at least he would be safe or would he?

Burning the Synagogue

When the Nazis attacked the synagogues on the Night of Broken Glass in 1938, they knew the line had been crossed and nothing would be the same again.

The Gravity of the Hour

May 19, 1940--World War II intensified and the Kindertransport kids, although safe in England, were often worried about what Hitler was doing and if their parents were still alive.

The Escape

Burrowing under the ghetto fence, they made their daring escape and took three other boys with them.

The Music Died

Although safe, many children saved by the Kindertransport were lonely and out-of-place in a country that wasn't home.

Jewish Rebels

Jewish rebels with little more than their determination and ingenuity, tried to fight the Nazis in any way they could.

Mapping the Camp

There were attempts at sabotage and escape from the Nazi concentration camps.

The Showers

Contrasting the pure love and innocence of Eddie with the cold, cruelty of the Nazis, paints an horrifyingly emotional understanding of what is really happening.

Nazi Storm Troopers

In November of 1938, the Nazis destroyed the homes and businesses of many Jewish people. This was just the beginning of the Nazis' inhuman and unprovoked destruction.

He Shoved William Out

Even once on the Kindertransport, the children were not safe from Nazi control and punishment.

The World Has Turned Out Its Light

Although Eva was only eleven, she understood that Hitler's threat was real and she believed the world would not ignore their plight.

Jewish Rebels

Despite their lack of skills and resources, in 1942, many Jewish people fought back against the Nazis.

What Price Freedom?

In 1941, the Nazis ghettos trapped the Jewish people in cruel and unsanitary conditions. Many were willing to risk everything to try to escape.

Sabotage

In 1943, the Jewish underground rebels found that fighting the powerful Nazis took planning, timing, and often, luck.

The War Made Men Out of Boys

June 1942 May Jewish boys who made it safely out of Germany to England on the Kindertransport fought against Hitler in any way they could.

They Took the Fathers, Brothers, and Sons.

On the Night of Broken Glass in November 1938, the Nazis raided Jewish homes and destroyed their businesses but worst of all, they arrested the men, leaving the families broken, scared, and unable to plan for their future.

A Mother's Betrayal

Pushed to inhuman depths for survival, many of Hitler's victims had to make unthinkable decisions, ones that would haunt them for the rest of their lives, if they made it out of the camps.

The Killing Ditch

Peter discovered his old classmates had become killers for Hitler. He remembered their cruelty when he was a child. But his childhood was gone. Hitler made sure of that.

Reaching Out

Some of the Kindertransport children did not feel welcome in their English foster homes.

It's Over!

The end of World War II reunited families who had wondered if they would ever see each other again. The relief and joy was intense.

The Death March

Without purpose or destination, the death march led the Jewish people out of the Nazi camps as the Allied Forces approached.

A Joy of Tomorrows

After the Holocaust ended, the Jewish people still faced struggles. Many of their friends and family were dead, their possessions stolen, and their homes occupied. But determined to get back whatever they could of their lives, they returned home.

My One True Papa

During Hilter's reign, the separation and destroying of families was his objective. As a child, being taken away from your parents was one of the scariest things that could happen and had lasting consequences even for those who made it out of the concentration camps.

A TIME TO FIGHT BACK

There comes a moment when we are young that we realize our destiny is up to us. We grasp that things won't change unless we take action. For Peter, facing the hanging of his friend by the Nazis, that time was now. He had to fight back to save them.

Only the Strong Survive

Eva saved her mother from the Nazi gas chambers, a mother who had never cared about her, but Eva's instinct was to fight. She got that from her father.

The Death Camps Are Real

The deportation trains were bad enough, but when the Jewish people arrived at the death camps, the horror became real. How humans could do this to other humans was overwhelmingly terrifying.

Hiding from the Nazis

Eddie hid from the Nazis as they loaded the trucks for the death camps. But the sorrow of being alone, as his mother was leaving, became too much. He ran to the trucks and unknowingly towards possible death.

No One has Power Over the Moon.

Hope was hard to come by as the Jewish people were shipped in rail cars to the death camps. They held on tightly to each other and their love, still believing in God and praying that one day they would be free.

Nothing Left But Courage

As the Nazis wielded their power in 1939, there was no way to fight them, especially for a child, except through the bold risk of sheer bravery. And most often, that was not enough.

Suffering Together

The Kindertransport saved many Jewish children during Hitler's murderous control, but some parents could not bear to send their children away. Arnie, a distraught father, pulled his son out of the train window. He was quickly consumed with regret. His wife comforted him with the idea that maybe suffering together would give them strength.

Risking it All to Save Others

In 1941 Nazi Germany, Hilter's men were in full killing mode but many Jewish people rebelled, sometimes in small ways but with big consequences. They often took the chance to risk it all to save others.

Mutti Still Remembers You

After having escaped Nazi Germany on the Kindertransport, Becca talks to her doll and expresses her deepest fear. Will her mother still remember her?

Getting Use to the Stench

When the good German people accepted abusive behavior from their police--the Nazis, towards a group of their citizens, it created a tolerance for the intolerable. When that happened, the hate became even harder to stop.

The Refugee Children

In 1939, on their way to live in England, the Jewish refugee children were welcomed with open arms at Hook Van Holland on the English Channel. They were fed and given a place to sleep before they boarded the boat to continue the journey to their English foster families.

Do What You're Told

In 1939, Jewish people were herded into Jewish Residential Districts in Germany which became known as the ghettos. The conditions were harsh and the deaths frequent. The dead were not given proper burials. The Nazis did not respect life nor did they respect death.

Freedom Can Still Be Scary

Although they escaped Germany, many of the older children were placed in a summer camp even though it was winter. So much like today, the living conditions for the refugees in 1939 were not ideal...but at least they were free.

Rejected Again

After the Jewish children arrived in England on the Kindertransports and World War II broke out, many of the older children who thought they were finally safe, were imprisoned for being "enemy aliens."

Acts of Bravery

During the Holocaust, there were acts of bravery and defiance even when the odds were impossible and the punishment was swift and deadly.

To Stay or Go

In 1939, parents had to decide to let their children go by themselves on the Kindertransport train to freedom in England or to stay in Germany with an uncertain fate. Sometimes the parting was too much to bear and the natural desire to stay together no matter what prevailed.

Mutti Still Remembers You

Even after the Kindertransport children were safe in England in 1939, their thoughts were never far from their parents left behind in Germany.

Hurry Upstairs Now

During the reign of the Nazis, many good people of Germany stepped up to secretly help many Jewish families. It is always the good people willing to take a stand that change lives.

Separated

Despite the many horrors of the Holocaust, one of the greatest tragedies was being separated from those you loved. People can endure much more when they are together and those in charge knew that. They used it to break them down.

Choices

Sometimes it comes down to saving yourself or doing what's right. But if you don't choose what's right, can you live with yourself?

Wobbly Legs

Many wars and much cruelty have been justified over religious differences. When Peter asks his father why the Nazis can't accept them being Jews, his father realizes Peter does not need to be exactly like him. Acceptance is a gift we choose to give.

"Spontaneous" Demonstrations

In 1938, this was Hitler's permission to attack the Jewish people without repercussions.

The Violin

Music gives us hope and can get us through the worst of times. The children of the Kindertransports in 1939 were not allowed to bring anything valuable on the trains to England. When a Nazi officer finds Peter's violin, Peter must prove he is a musician and not just intending to sell the violin in England. So, he plays, and the moment is stunning.

Hilter Makes More Enemies

The Kindertransport kids watched as other countries were slow to respond to Hitler's violent quest for power. They kept hoping someone would do something to stop him. When Peter survives the bombing of Coventry where he works on a farm, he decides that it's up to him to do something to stop the madman.

Truth

It's hard to accept the truth when it's so horrible and beyond our understanding. But cruelty must be faced and fought.

Looking into the Face of Death

The children in the Nazi concentration camps, rejected and often alone, had to face death and separation from loved ones. The world watched and did nothing until Hitler came after them, too.

The Casualties of War

The cruelty and violence of war is jarring but for even the toughest fighters it's often hard to separate emotion from war.

Saying Goodbye

The parents of the Kindertransports, despite their broken hearts, allowed their children to leave Germany without them in order to keep them safe from the Nazis. The children rode the trains by themselves and lived with foster families in England. When the parents said goodbye at the train station, they did not know if they would see their children again.

Acceptance

His father wanted him to play soccer but Peter wanted to play the violin. When his father gave him a violin, Peter knew his father had given him permission to be himself.

A Soldier of the Underground

Peter, growing up under Hitler's terror, had to decide what response was appropriate for a madman whose goal was murder.

The Nazis' Moon

Shared power helps keep a madman in check. It took a war to stop Hitler. It's a lesson for us not to forget.

Returned to Poland with a Vengeance

In 1938, Nazi Germany returned many Polish Jews back to Poland where they found services and accommodations were lacking. Meanwhile, England was scrambling to find donations and homes for the children fleeing to safety on the Kindertransport trains.

Saying Goodbye

On September 1, 1939, the Kindertransport from Berlin loaded with children escaping Nazi Germany was not allowed to leave the station. Germany had invaded Poland. For the parents, it was more heart-wrenching to see their children getting back off the train than it was putting them on. There would be no freedom for these children.

Letters From Far Away

The letters sent by the Kindertransport children to their families still in Germany were heartbreaking. Their letters showed their loneliness and their bravery. For the parents, they clung to the hope that their children would remain safe.

Is It Ever Over?

It was 1945 and World War II had finally ended. There was celebrating in the streets of London. It was over. But for anyone who had survived the nightmare, they feared the horror of an evil dictator with hatred in his heart and people who would follow him, could happen again.

Even the Unthinkable

In order to get their children to escape the Nazis and take the train to England on their own, parents often lied to them. They told them they would be following very shortly and would see them soon. Both the parents and the children paid the ultimate sacrifice of being separated from those they loved the most in order for the children to be free and ultimately, live.

Never Again Be Lost

For some, separating from family was one of the hardest consequences of the war. Many of the Kindertransport children were determined to never let that happen again.

Robbing Our Souls

Before Hitler's power had become all-encompassing, many people hoped the world would stand up to him.

A Heart's Liberation

January 1945: Freedom was sweet. There was finally hope after all the grief and sorrow, but where would they go and how could they reclaim their stolen lives?

Peter's Violin-A Gift of Acceptance

Peter's violin was not only a symbol of his hope and passion, it was also a symbol of his father's acceptance.

Turning Away the Children.

In 1939, American senators refused to let the Jewish Kindertransport children come into the US.

Hitler's Days are Through

At some point death became such a common part of life. For many who suffered during the Holocaust, facing the most horrific existence, they still did not give up. They faced every challenge and every gruesome reality with whatever strength they had left and the sheer courage it takes to stay alive.

It's About Power.

Many people wonder how a man like Hitler, so filled with hate, gained so much power. But in today's world, we can see that if the people in power begin to take away your rights, it's not about courage, it's about lacking the power to fight back.

No Help From the Yanks

In February of 1939, England sought help from America to help bring Jewish refugee children out of Germany to safety. America refused.

An Enemy of Hitler

Although the German children escaped to England on the Kindertransports, some of the older ones were eventually imprisoned for being enemy aliens and sent to the Isle of Man.

The Extraction of Joy

The Nazis experimented on many people in the concentration camps. Cruel, painful experiments were conducted. But when Eva sees what the Nazis have done to Eddie, she is devastated because she sees although Eddie is alive, the happy, loving boy he once was is gone. He is hollow. Empty. His joy is gone. Is life worth living without joy? This was Eddie's destiny. In the end, Otto, his old soccer friend turned Nazi, decides Eddie's final fate, and his own as well.

Faulty Connectors

The Jewish underground resistance had to work with what they had, and sometimes that wasn't much. But Peter and Noah became good at making do and quickly changing plans when things didn't go as expected.

Hitler is Under the Bed

As a Kindertransport child, even their dreams were filled with dread, and monsters, real ones.

Evil Things We Shall Be Fighting Against

Soon after Germany invaded Poland, England declared war on Germany. The Kindertransport from Germany was ended. Now the borders were sealed. The remaining children were trapped. Life is sometimes just a matter of timing.

The Gift of Acceptance

Peter's father was a butcher, a war hero, and a former soccer player. But Peter was a musician. He wanted to play the violin. When his father finally accepts that Peter is different from him and gives Peter a violin, Peter knows he has been given permission to be himself. His father has given him the gift of acceptance. The music of the violin, that precious gift, guides Peter's life from then on.

Home Doesn't Exist Anymore

Some of the older kids riding the Kindertransport out of Nazis Germany were placed in a summer camp. But it was the winter when Peter arrived. It was not what they were expecting. The cabins were cold and Peter had been separated from his little sister. They were free from Hitler, but overwhelmingly lonely and homesick.

So Many More Children

Sebastian and Marla, Kindertransport organizers, wonder how they can get more children out of Nazi Germany on trains to England. How many children can gain their freedom depends on "timing, politics, bravery, and luck, but mostly money." The Kindertransport was an amazing journey. I wonder even today, how many of us would help people gain their freedom and a new life, even for children.

Then Play It!

On board the Kindertransport, the children were not allowed to bring anything valuable. Even Peter's violin was suspect. He had to prove he could play it. With the train car of children listening, the Nazi policeman confronted him. He had to play it, to prove it was his. He had to prove he was a musician or risk losing his precious violin.

The World Has Gone Mad

When the unexplainable violence of November 1938 had ended, 267 German synagogues had been burned or destroyed. The German officials quickly ordered the immediate demolition of the synagogues' remains and then made the Jewish community pay the costs. Nothing made sense any more.

Hitler Was Real After All

The dark, unexplainable power of Hitler was overwhelming to the Jewish children. As much as their parents tried to protect them, Hitler's hate expanded until they were surrounded with no where to go. Peter witnesses the power of Hitler and realizes the boogeyman of his nightmares is real after all.

The Butcher Shop

In 1938, the Weinberg's Butcher Shop in Berlin was not only a place to buy meat, but it was also a gathering spot, a central place of the neighborhood. But on November 9, 1938, everything changed. And Frank, who had served in the Great War with Henry, and had been the Weinberg family's friend for many years, was a destroyer of their shop on The Night of Broken Glass. It was not only glass broke that night. Their lives would never be the same.

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