A SCULPTURE was unveiled commemorating thousands of children who arrived as part of the Kindertransport.

The Harwich Kindertransport Memorial and Learning Trust unveiled a statue in Harwich on Thursday, September 1, to commemorate the humanitarian rescue mission that saved approximately 10,000 children by sending them from Nazi occupied Europe to safety in Britain.

The new memorial highlights that it was in Harwich, beginning on December 2,  1938, and continuing until the outbreak of war, that those children first set foot on British soil.

Some continued their journey to London, while others spent a freezing winter at a nearby holiday camp in Dovercourt Bay.

The statue was unveiled by Dame Stephanie Shirley CH, a refugee herself who arrived at the age of five in Harwich on a Kindertransport.

She said: “I shall never forget my first sighting of Harwich as a thousand of us children came in from the grey North Sea after a horrendous two and a half days journey from Nazi Europe.”

Sculpted by award-winning Essex artist Ian Wolter, the statue, cast in bronze, depicts five children descending from a ship’s gangplank.

Harwich and Manningtree Standard: Historic - Another view of the sculpture. Picture: Maria FowlerHistoric - Another view of the sculpture. Picture: Maria Fowler

Moving quotes from the child refugees have been inscribed on the memorial and there is a space between the figures so that children can explore them at close hand.

Guests at the ceremony included more than 30 refugees who originally arrived in Britain on the Kindertransport in 1938 and 1939.

They were joined by Harwich Mayor, Ivan Henderson; Mike Levy, Chair of the Harwich Kindertransport Memorial and Learning Trust, Miguel Berger, German Ambassador to the UK, Michael Newman OBE, Chief Executive of The Association of Jewish Refugees (AJR) and Lord Eric Pickles, United Kingdom Special Envoy for post-Holocaust Issues.

Mr Newman added: “Harwich will always have a special place in the hearts of those refugees who arrived on the Kindertransport.

“The AJR is proud and delighted to be a prominent supporter of the effort to establish this memorial that honours them and their loved ones who sent them to safety.”