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06.10.19

Survivor Talk: Martin Kapel

Portrait of Martin Kapel (c) Paul Banks

Dr Martin Kapel will share the story of his journey across Europe to escape the Nazis and make a new life in England.

Martin was just eight years old when he was forced from his home in Leipzig and, along with hundreds of other Jewish families, marched across the German border into Poland.

He recalls a knock on the door early one morning as he, his mother and sister slept. When his mother answered the door, Nazi soldiers burst in and ordered the family to dress and prepare to leave immediately. With no time to grab more than a few possessions, the family was escorted to a police station before being put on a bus and eventually a train that took them close to the border with Poland.

Members of the SS marched the families down the railway line before leaving them outside a tiny hamlet that they later discovered was on the Polish side of the border.

Martin will tell how, after being taken in by family members, he and his sister escaped aboard the Kindertransport train to Coventry, where they were fostered by an English family. Yet they were still at peril – the city was bombed extensively in the Blitz and left without water or power for weeks.

Tragically, not one of Martin’s 22 Polish relatives survived.

The Holocaust Exhibition & Learning Centre will be open from midday to enable guests to see the exhibition. Our pop-up cafe will be open with refreshments available for a small donation.