The Central British Fund & Staff

The Central British Fund for German Jewry or CBF (now World Jewish Relief) was established in 1933 after Hitler came to power to rescue Jews from persecution in Germany.

Generally, the administrators of the CBF were wealthy assimilated British Jews. Their volunteers and staff members were typically younger and less assimilated, often being recent immigrants to the UK themselves.

In response to Kristallnacht in November 1938, the CBF was instrumental in bringing around 10,000 unaccompanied children, mainly Jewish, from Nazi-occupied Europe to the UK between December 1938 and September 1939.

Before the outbreak of the war, the CBF rescued around 65,000 Jews from Nazi Europe. The CBF subcommittee, the Movement for the Care of Children from Germany (renamed the Refugee Children’s Movement) focused specifically on rescuing Jewish children from pre-war Austria, Czechoslovakia and Germany.

The arrangements for the Kindertransport between the CBF and the Home Office were that two-year visas would be offered to the children, and that the money for their care would be raised by the CBF. Exactly the same stipulations were later applied to the Boys.

In May 1945, the Chair of the CBF, Anthony de Rothschild, and Otto Schiff, Chair of the Jewish Refugee Committee (a CBF subcommittee) met with Sir Alexander Maxwell, Permanent Under-Secretary to the Home Office. They appealed to bring around 1,000 orphaned children to the UK.

Following the liberation of the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration and extermination camp, in January 1945, British-Jewish philanthropist Leonard Montefiore went to Europe to explore what could be done. He suggested using RAF planes returning to the UK to bring child survivors back.

In 1945, the CBF brought over 700 child Holocaust survivors to Britain. The first 300 arrived in Windermere in August 1945. They were assisted to settle in the UK and given accommodation, education, skills training and psychological assistance.

The Boys’ arrival was overseen by Joan Stiebel and Leonard Montefiore. Care for the children was led by psychologist Dr Oscar Friedmann.

After the war, a new subcommittee was set up to care for the child Holocaust survivors who then arrived in the UK: The Committee for the Care of the Concentration Camp Children (CCCCC).

The CCCCC was chaired by Leonard Montefiore. Leading members of the committee included Elaine Blond, Ruth Fellner, Joan Stiebel, Rabbi Weiss, Dr Frindolin Max Friedmann, Oscar Friedmann and Lola Hahn-Warburg.

As with the Kindertransport, the care of the Boys was administered by a rainbow of Jewish organisations, although under the direction of the CCCCC. The principal organisations involved in the care of the Boys were:

Agudath Israel

World Agudath Israel (usually known as Aguda) was established in 1912. Its base of support was in eastern Europe before the Second World War but, due to the revival of the Hasidic movement, it included Orthodox Jews throughout Europe.

After the Second World War, Agudath Israel provided aid for Holocaust survivors in Europe. The branch of the World Agudath Israel World Organisation in Britain was located at 37/38 Mitre Street in London.

The President of World Agudath Israel was Yaakov Rosenheim, the Secretary was Harry Goodman. The leader of Agudas in the UK was Rabbi Solomon Schonfeld, who played a key role in pre-war Kindertransport and rescuing child Holocaust survivors after the end of the Second World War.


Bachad Brit Halutzim Datiim (Religious Pioneers Federation) was founded in 1928.

One of its leaders, Arieh Handler (1915-2011), played a major role in the Kindertransport. In the 1930s, Handler came to Britain and was one of the founders of the British Branch of the religious Zionist movement, BneiAkiva, in 1942. He was also the President of the religious Zionist organisation Mizrachi.

After the war Bachad took care of young survivors from the concentration camps in the Displaced Persons’ camps in Germany as well as in the UK. Bachad helped care for the Boys in numerous hostels, including Liverpool and Singleton Road in Manchester.

Bachad organised ‘hachscharot’, vocational and agricultural training undertaken in view of emigrating to Palestine. The largest ‘hachscharah’ Centre was a Gwrych Castle in Wales.


Habonim is a socialist Zionist youth movement founded in Poland in 1915. The UK branch was founded in 1929. Habonim avoided any ties to political or religious groups and encouraged adherence to Jewish values and traditions.

During the Second World War, they ran hostels for evacuees in Exmouth, Dawlish and Teignmouth. 140 children were cared for at those hostels. These hostels were intended to be converted into ‘HachsharotNoar’ (youth training centres) after the war, however this plan never materialised.

After the war, Habonim provided many of the counsellors who cared for the Boys at hostels including Windermere.


Hechalutz was a Jewish youth movement that trained young people for agricultural settlement in the Land of Israel. It became an umbrella organisation of the pioneering Zionist youth movements. After the war, the movement was absorbed into Hashomer Hatzair.

The Quakers

The Germany Emergency Committee of the Religious Society of Friends was set up in 1933, shortly after Hitler came to power.

The committee, alongside other groups, was responsible for helping Jewish children escape Nazi persecution in Germany, Czechoslovakia, Austria and Poland. It then supported them in the countries to which they had fled.

In Britain, the Quakers assisted refugees with employment sponsorship, training, education, and re-emigration.

Bertha Bracey was appointed Secretary for the Germany Emergency Committee in 1933. Before that, she had been responsible for Quaker relief operations in Germany and the Netherlands.

After Kristallnacht in 1938, six Quaker volunteers travelled to Berlin to observe the immediate situation. Subsequent meetings between Bertha Bracey and the heads of Jewish women’s organisations from across Germany were crucial to the success of the Kindertransport.

Quaker volunteers chaperoned each stage of the Kindertransport journey.

After World War II, Quaker relief aid volunteers based in Brunswick provided medical aid and support to the Red Cross teams helping survivors of Bergen-Belsen.

Youth Aliyah

Youth Aliyah was founded by Recha Freier in Berlin on the same day Adolf Hitler took power, 30 January 1933.

The organisation was founded to protect German Jewish youth.

Youth Aliyah is a Jewish organisation that rescued thousands of Jewish children from the Nazis. It arranged for their resettlement in Palestine in kibbutzim and youth villages that were both home and school.

During World War II, when immigration certificates to Palestine became difficult to obtain, Youth Aliyah activists in London came up with an interim solution whereby groups of young people would receive pioneer training in countries outside of Nazi Germany until they could immigrate to Palestine.

Out of the approximately 10,000 children who migrated to the UK on the Kindertransport, some intended to reach Palestine with Youth Aliyah at a later time.

After the War, emissaries were sent to Europe to locate child survivors in displaced persons camps. Youth Aliyah opened an office in Paris. It helped with the resettlement of the Boys who wished to go to Palestine. Youth Aliyah was involved in running the training farm, Polton House.

The Manchester Jewish Refugees Committee

The Manchester Jewish Refugees Committee was founded on 7 November 1938.

The Manchester Jewish Refugees Committee coordinated most of the efforts maintaining and supporting refugees in hostels and schools in Manchester, including the Manchester Yeshiva and the Women’s Lodge of B’nai Brith.

The work of the Manchester Jewish Refugees Committee was overseen by Nathan Laski, president of Manchester’s Jewish Representative Council for most of the 1930s.