L309 Winter 2020 Refuge for Children: The British Kindertransport Program of 1939
Tuesdays, 11:50–1:15, Feb. 11–Feb. 18
Instructor: Jeffrey Metzger
After the events of the Nazi anti-Jewish terror campaign of 1938 known as Kristallnacht, the British government put in place the Kindertransport program, a humanitarian effort to rescue 10,000 imperiled children from Germany and Austria. No other country undertook a similar effort. This class will focus on the antecedent events in Germany that caused the British to put the program in place; the immediate precursor event, Kristallnacht; the efforts by British politicians and religious leaders to obtain support for the program; and the organization and operation of the program. The instructor will also review, based on newly located records, his mother’s experiences as a child in the program. He will compare them to other participating children’s experiences. Finally, the class will discuss lessons to be drawn in contemporary America from the British humanitarian effort in 1939.
Jeff Metzger graduated from Amherst College and Georgetown Law School. He worked for the US Department of Justice, in private law practice, and most recently as associate general counsel of a multinational corporation. He now is involved in refugee aid activities and is a director of the nonprofit US Committee for Refugees and Immigrants.