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All of the children who travelled to the United Kingdom on the Kindertransport were allowed to bring a suitcase, the items put into these cases were carefully considered by those who packed them. There were obviously practical essentials like clothes and shoes but also many other important objects and belongings that represented ‘home’.

“My mother prepared all our clothes, lovingly embroidered our names in every piece of clothing, even every handkerchief, every sock”.

Testimony from Kindertransport survivor Ursula Rosenfeld quoted in ‘Into the Arms of Strangers: Stories of the Kindertransport’ preface by Lord Richard Attenborough. Bloomsbury Publishing 2000 Pg. 93)

The following activities aim to explore the themes, issues and dilemmas that relate to ‘home’.

Stimulus questions

Use any of the following questions as starting points for circle-time discussions or mindmapping tasks to lead into a deeper exploration of the ideas.

  • What parts of your home can or cannot be taken with you?
  • If you were in Inge or Imran’s situation what would you do to make your new ‘home’ like home?
  • What are the genuine implications of a ‘new and safe’ life in a ‘new and safe’ country or ‘home’? I.e. are you safe from danger? Is the new home safe? Is the country safe?

Still Image

During the first part of The Last Train programme every child in the class had to choose just one object, memento or toy that they could take with them. The possession that they chose had to have a special meaning for them. They wrote it down on a piece of paper, secretly, and placed it into a suitcase. Remind the class of their participation in that task and then read aloud Ursula Rosenfeld’s testimony above.

In pairs ask the children to create a still image/picture of that moment or a moment like it where a parent is preparing/ packing the child’s things. Ask the child who isn’t in the picture to say what they think the parent is thinking or feeling, these thoughts could be written down or shared to the whole group.

The Exhibition

Ask your class to bring in a memento such as a photograph, poem, song (spoken in ‘home’ languages) or an object that has a particular meaning of home for them. In groups, pairs or as a whole class, ask: Why is it important or significant to you?

Children could talk in as much or as little detail to the origins or ‘back story’ of the object of their choice.

Working in small groups, ask the children to create a class exhibition. This exhibition can be created simply and ritualistically by placing their object or photograph in a designated area of the classroom, hall, or wall display one at a time. Ask the group to suggest a title for the finished piece of work. It may be interesting to observe any common qualities and themes they have and why.

 

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