In the nine months before the outbreak of the Second World War in September 1939, thousands of Jewish children were brough to Britain from Germany under the Kindertransport (children’s transport) programme.
Gloucestershire Archives holds a number records that concern a hostel at 18 Alexandra Road which the Gloucester Association for Aiding refugees (GAAR) opened in June 1939. The hostel provided a home for 10 German Jewish boys aged from 12 to 14 who had arrived in the UK with the Kindertransport.
GAAR was formed in February 1939 to launch and oversee a local scheme for the reception and care of refugees from the Nazi regime in central Europe and to administer funds raised locally for the purpose. The Gloucester branch of the National Council of Women (from whom the initial impetus for the scheme had come) provided the nucleus of committee members and other organisations were also invited to appoint members.
Although most of the Kindertransport children were placed in foster homes, the boys who came to Gloucester were considered to old to be fostered. They and their wardens (Dr Paul Arnstein and his wife, also refugees) lived at Alexandra Road until December 1941 when the hostel was closed. The boys were boarded out with local families and the Association continued to oversee their care and provide financial support
As shown by many of the papers in the GAAR collection, the Association made every effort to find temporary and permanent homes locally for both adult and child refugees. This work increased in 1940 when the Movement for the Care of Children from Germany was de-centralised and GAAR was asked to take an interest in all refugee children placed within their area.
You can find out more about the boys in Gloucester in our Kindertransport exhibition.