Arrival of Jewish refugees, London
Bundesarchiv, Bild 183-S69279 / CC-BY-SA 3.0
Creative Commons Licence
On Sunday the 24 Jan 2016 at 14:00 the Lord Mayor of Leeds will commemorate the Kindertransport, the rescue of nearly 10,000 mostly Jewish children from Nazi Germany and occupied territories immediately before the Second World War. Members and attenders of the Religious Society of Friends (whose faith I share) helped to promote and facilitate that effort by making representations to the government to relax immigration restrictions, fetching the children from their points of departure and accompanying them to England and providing homes and schools for the children upon their arrival (see Kindertransport on the Quaker website). The history of the Quakers' contribution has been recorded on remember.org.
I mention the commemoration of the Kindertransport because I learnt today in my Over 55 improvers' class at Northern Ballet Academy that Cara O'Shea has choreographed a short ballet called Small Steps for the Centre for Advanced Training students of our Academy which they will perform at the Town Hall. There will also be a speech by Nick Winton (the son of Sir Nicholas Winton who was particularly prominent in rescuing Czech children), a performance by the Clothworkers' Consort of Leeds, readings, lighting of candles and prayers by Rudi Leavor of Bradford Synagogue (see Leeds Town Hall Civic Remembrance Event on the City Council Website).
Readers of this blog will know that I have a very high regard for Cara O'Shea. It was she who trained the childen in The Nutcracker who helped to make the show for me (see Northern Nutcracker 19 Dec 2015). She first came to my attention when she was teaching the boys for the Northern Ballet Open Day on 18 Feb 2014 and a few days later I was lucky enough to be taught by her (see A Treat For Us Old Ladies 27 Feb 2014). She is also close to two other institutions for which I have enormous regard: the Northern Ballet School where she trained and the Chelmsford Ballet Company where she danced Aurora at age 15.
While the Kindertransport commemoration would be well worth supporting for its own sake a performance by some of our Academy's most promising students under the direction of one of their excellent teachers will make it particularly memorable.