- Young Jewish men and women who came to England with the orphans transport relax on the beach.
Pictured in the back row, from left to right are, Lillie Moskovich, Willie Zelovic, Erica Grossman (center wearing a necklace), Hershel and Renate Zelovic. In the front row, from left to right are, Paulette, Elizabeth Weiss, and Ibi and Willie Rosenberg.
1945 - 1949
- London, England
- Photo Credit
- United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, courtesy of Joseph (Zelikovich) Zeller
- Event History
- After the liberation of the concentration camps, the British philanthropist, Leonard Montefiore, organized a campaign to bring young survivors to Britain. In June 1945 the British Home Office approved a plan to transport one thousand orphans to Britain for recuperation before their resettlement elsewhere. The program was paid for with funds raised by the Care of Children from Concentration Camps organization that was headquartered at the Bloomsbury House in London and chaired by Montefiore. The first group of three hundred orphans was brought from Theresienstadt to Prague and then flown to England on Lancaster bombers. They arrived on August 14, 1945. Though only children below the age of sixteen qualified for the transport, the group actually included several seventeen and eighteen-year-olds who had falsified their ages on their applications. Since very few young children survived the camps, all but thirty of the orphans were over the age of twelve. After landing in England the children were housed at a hostel in Windermere, where they received religious and secular instruction and medical treatment. The second group of orphans arrived in Southampton in November 1945, followed by groups in February and March 1946. The final group of orphans left Prague in April 1946. They stayed in Taverny, France for six weeks before coming to England in June. Despite considerable effort, the program's officers never found a full one thousand orphans who qualified for admission. In all, 732 children were brought to England. Though commonly called "The Boys," the group included eighty girls. All but a dozen were completely orphaned by the war. Soon after their arrival the children were regrouped by religious and political affiliation and sent to separate hostels for the ultra-orthodox, orthodox, religious Zionists and secular Zionists. By the fall of 1946 the program was running into financial trouble. Funding was low and most of the children had no prospects for moving elsewhere as originally intended. In 1947 the orphans were informed that they had to find employment and seek their own housing arrangements. To help maintain their social network, which had become a substitute for the families they had lost, the members of the orphans transport established the Primrose Jewish Youth Club on June 6, 1946. Financed by private donations, the Primrose Club provided a venue with a kosher dining facility where "the Boys" could continue to meet regularly. The club remained in existence until 1949 when it lost its lease. Of the 732 members of the orphans transport, approximately half settled permanently in England. The others moved to Israel, the United States and Canada.