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80th Anniversary of the Kindertransport

UCL Festival

All next week, University College London is holding its annual Festival of Culture. The list of programs looks great, especially this Sebald-related event:

A Refugee Child in WW2 London
Friday 8 June, 12.30-1.30pm
Institute of Archaeology G6 Lecture Theatre

This event marks the 80th anniversary of the first of the Kindertransports in 1938, in which thousands of refugee children came to Britain from Nazi-occupied Europe, many of them passing through London via Liverpool Street station. We’ll explore one of our century’s greatest novels, W.G. Sebald’s Austerlitz (2001), about a Jewish child who comes to London on a Kindertransport from Prague and recounts his search in later life for his, and Europe’s, lost past.

This is a panel event including talks, film screening and discussion with the audience. Speakers Dr Zoltán Biedermann, Prof. Stephanie Bird, Dr Mererid Puw Davies and Prof. Mairéad Hanrahan are from UCL’s School of European Languages, Culture and Society (SELCS).

All are welcome. Tickets are free and can be booked here:

I’m not sure how four speakers, a film screening, and a discussion will fit into a single hour…

7 Comments Post a comment
  1. Janne Weinzierl #

    As we got to know last week in Munich, Susi Bechhöfer has died the beginning of May. Her search for her identity in Munich, published as Rosa‘s daughters in 1998, and a film about her experiences as a Kindertransport child, had quite an impact on W.G. Sebald and his ‚Austerlitz‘ novel.

    June 2, 2018
  2. Janne, Thank you for the comment. I am so sorry to learn that Susi has died. I wrote about her book eight years ago and she made a comment that there were some inaccuracies, which led to a nice email exchange for a bit.

    June 2, 2018
  3. Hello Terry. I’ve been keeping half an eye on this site for some time. As it happens, I’m in mid-dissertation mode at the moment – I’m a mature postgrad at the University of Edinburgh – writing about space, time, and distance as phenomena in Sebald’s books; the chapter I’m working on at the moment deals with ‘Austerlitz’, and therefore it is somewhat of a Sebaldian coincidence that it is near enough the 80th anniversary of the Kindertransport.

    I too was in email correspondence with Susi Bechhöfer, and I’m sorry to hear of her death.

    I would like to chat about a mater arising from my dissertation. Please drop me an email to taxonomydomine{a}


    June 6, 2018
  4. Stephen Downes #

    Hi Terry

    Wow! Eighty years since the Kindertransports trundle into history! It’s 20 years this month since The Rings of Saturn was published in English, and I grabbed the hook to write the following article about Sebald and the uncanny, which was published in The Weekend Australian on 2 June. You and your readers might be interested in it.

    You’ll be pleased to hear that I’m working over the start of my ‘Sebaldian’ novel that accompanies the doctoral thesis.

    Best wishes

    June 10, 2018
    • Thanks, Stephen. Unfortunately everything at The Australian is behind a paywall.

      June 10, 2018
  5. Hi Terry,

    My comment doesn’t have to do with this post, but I just finished another book with embedded photographs and it’s actually about photography as well (among other things): Lynne Tillman’s new Men and Apparitions (

    June 18, 2018
    • Karen, Many thanks for this tip! -Terry

      June 18, 2018

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