Historical context


The following pages examine the happenings of autumn and winter 1938/39 in Nazi Germany to provide background information for the “Life Stories” section of this website. The first page deals with the deportation of Jews of Polish origin in October 1938, before focusing on the deportations from the Rhineland. The situation in the Polish border town of Zbąszyń, home to a large refugee camp, is the topic of the next page.

With the Kristallnacht of 1938, a new stage of persecution began in Nazi Germany. From December 1938, the Kindertransports to Great Britain provided an opportunity for the escape of Jewish children. The escape routes from the cities of what is today North Rhine-Westphalia are of particular interest here, before the last pages of this section give accounts of the Kindertransports initiated by the Jawne, the Jewish Reform Grammar School in Cologne.
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