Flight of refugees: history repeating?

Lore Segal and Nina Kaye

Epsom and Ewell Times marks Holocaust Memorial Day (Friday 27th January) with an article about Surrey characters who saved Jews from persecution and we report on the work of a daughter of a Holocaust survivor, now living in Epsom, who is saving today’s refugees.

Marking Holocaust Memorial Day (27th January) Surrey History Centre highlights local characters who saved Jews from persecution. Across Britain many so-called ordinary people made extraordinary and often brave attempts to help rescue and settle people escaping Nazi oppression. Surrey was no exception: individuals and committees alike demonstrated remarkable compassion and team spirit in helping refugees during the 1930s and 1940s.

Some of these extraordinary people were themselves Jewish refugees from Europe: people like childcare specialist, Alice Goldberger (1897-1986) from Berlin, who set up a hostel for child Holocaust survivors at Weir Courtney in Lingfield in 1945; Dr Hilde Lion (1893-1970), an academic from Berlin, who established Stoatley Rough School in Haslemere in 1934; and Julius Warschauer (1907-1982) from Berlin who chaired the Mayor of Guildford’s Refugee Committee, and was helped in the pastoral care of Guildford’s Jewish refugees by his father Rabbi Malwin Warschauer (1871-1955).

Read the full story from the Surrey History Centre HERE

History repeating?

Nina Kaye, who lives in Epsom and is one of the founders of the Epsom & Ewell Refugee Network, is the daughter of a Holocaust survivor. Her mother, Marianne, was born in Vienna in 1925 and had to flee when the Nazis annexed Austria in 1938. Marianne’s mother was granted a visa for Great Britain but she was not permitted to bring any dependents with her, so Marianne had to apply for a visa for the kindertransport and, at the age of 13, travelled alone from Vienna to Stockholm. Later, in 1943, she was able to rejoin her mother in London.

In 2015, Nina wanted to offer Syrian refugees a room in her house but there was no organisation that matched refugees with private families offering to host them. So she helped set up Refugees At Home (www.refugeesathome.org) , a charity that has since become one of the leading organisations to match people with a spare room to refugees and asylum seekers in need of somewhere to stay. Since then she has hosted more than 30 refugees in her home.

At the same time she was involved in setting up Epsom & Ewell Refugee Network (EERN), a local organisation whose aim is to help support refugees and asylum seekers in and around Epsom. EERN is a volunteer led local organisation with an enthusiastic support network. Before the Ukrainian crisis, EERN was helping around a dozen families and some individuals settle in to the area and make a new life for themselves, providing English lessons, offering support to find jobs, helping children settle into schools, organising events and addressing many of the issues that arise. Since the war in Ukraine started, EERN now support around 180 families, helping them integrate into the community. Host families in this area have been very kind and generous and EERN offers support to both the families and their guests.

EERN’s most pressing need is for more sponsor families and potential landlords for Ukrainian families. If anyone can help, please contact epsomrefugeenetwork@gmail.com