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Forces War Records Blog


Blogger: GemSen Henry Foner, born Heini Lichtwitz, was just six-years-old when his parents in Nazi Germany sent him to Britain to escape the growing persecution of Jews, in 1938. As part of the ‘Kidertransport’ evacuation of 10,000 Jewish children before the outbreak of WWII, Henry Foner, was sent to Swansea, South Wales to live with a childless Jewish couple, Mr and Mrs Foner, who raised him as their own.
His real father, Max, never forgot him though, and regularly sent a series of postcards filled with fatherly love which have been treasured for the last 75 years by Henry, now 81. “I was one of the lucky ones — my father sent me away to save my life”, Henry told the Daily Mail. “I was very happy to receive postcards as a child. But it got harder the more I lost my ability to speak and read German. “It was very frustrating for me, but I guess it must have been a terrible blow for my father - the knowledge that I was actually forgetting him. My contact with my father broke at the end of 1942. “At that time, a letter from the Red Cross arrived with my father’s last message before he was sent to Auschwitz - and then there were no more letters,” he added. Mr Foner has published the moving correspondence displayed in the postcards in a book titled 'Postcards to a Little Boy'. When the war made communication impossible the postcards stopped and before war broke out, dated August 31, 1939, Max poignantly wrote: “My dear little Henry! I'm glad that you are well and happy. I hope war will not come.” He then signs it: 'With many regards for uncle and aunty and a lot of kisses, your Daddy.' Apparently Max spent the early years of the war in hiding, dreaming he would one day be reunited with Henry, his only child. But he was eventually captured. The final direct communication Henry had from his father was a letter sent through the German Red Cross in August 1942, saying: 'I’m glad about your health and progress. 'Remain further healthy! Our destiny is uncertain. Write more frequently. Lots of kisses, Daddy.' Sadly four months later Max was taken to Auschwitz where he died in the gas chambers. Henry only discovered that his father had died when the war was over and he waited another 20 years after that to read his father’s final 'farewell letter' addressed to a cousin. The letter explained: 'Please tell my son it was only out of deep love and concern for his future that I had to let him go. 'I miss him most painfully day by day and my life would lose all meaning if there were not at least the possibility of seeing him again someday.' He also wanted his son’s adoptive parents Morris and Winnie Foner to know that he was grateful for what they had done: 'Please convey to them my deepest gratitude for making it possible for my child to escape the fate that will soon overtake me.' Escaping the holocaust Around six million Jews were killed during the holocaust and over one million Jewish children were killed, as were approximately two million Jewish women and three million Jewish men. Those figures would have been a lot worse if it wasn’t for the ‘Kindertransport’. The ‘Kindertransport’ rescue mission saved thousands of people from Nazi Germany and elsewhere during the lead up to the outbreak of the Second World War. The United Kingdom took in nearly 10,000 predominantly Jewish children from Nazi Germany, Austria, Czechoslovakia, Poland, and the Free City of Danzig. Placed in British foster homes, hostels, schools and farms, the children were often the only members of their families who survived the Holocaust. Source: Daily Mail Do you have Jewish ancestors? Forces War Records have the British Jewry Book of Honour in their collection listing over 50,000 Jewish servicemen who paid the ultimate sacrifice in WW1 by giving their lives. The 'Big Blue Book' as it is also known as, is a unique research resource for those with Jewish ancestors from WW1 — log on to Forces War Records today and research your ancestors.
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