Kindertransport to Scotland: reception, care and resettlement
Williams, Frances Mary
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The Kindertransport brought close to 10,000 unaccompanied minors to Britain on a trans-migrant basis between 1938 and 1939. The outbreak of war turned this short-term initiative into a longer-term episode. This PhD is a study of Scotland’s Kindertransport story and an evaluation of the Kindertransportees’ experiences of reception, care and nurture between 1938 and 1945. It also considers the wider implications of the Kindertransport upon the Kindertransportees’ broader life stories after 1945, namely further migration and resettlement. This thesis will unite a number of disparate areas of research, including British philanthropy and welfare, Anglo/Scottish Jewry, Zionism and migrant/refugee studies. It will be shown that Scotland’s reception of the Kindertransportees was highly varied and marked by many different agendas. These were fundamentally responsive to British interests. Growing up in Scotland exposed the Kindertransportees to a variety of different types of care. These were strongly tied to their Scottish context and mirror experiences of the Scottish child in care. Kindertransportees’ nurture invited important changes in their connection to Judaism. Nonetheless, an epitaph to a lost Jewish generation is inappropriate. Zionism emerges as an important Jewish connection. Nevertheless, Kindertransportees did not en-masse adopt Zionist goals or make Aliyah. Yet, at the same time, they did not usually remain in Scotland. Resettlement patterns show that there was a mass exodus of Kindertransportees across the Scottish borders. However, these Kindertransportees still exhibit a connection to Scotland as well as to Scottish communities in the diaspora. They express a profound fondness to all things imagined to be Scottish.