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Emigration: 1934-1939
© Portraits by Hanna Nacken, LSE, Stoatley Rough School

Thomas Alexander 12 yrs

Ilse Bayer 12 yrs
In 1934 pupils came to the school via various channels. Parents resident in Germany and émigrés resident in England heard about the school from relatives, friends and colleagues. Gertrud Gans, one of the first pupils at the school, became a boarder in March 1934, whilst her parents travelled to India. Her father had accepted a job there to undertake research into Leprosy. The recommendation had come from Professor Immermann, former English Professor at Frankfurt University and former colleague of Professor Gans.

Dr. Lion cultivated her connections in Berlin: The Department of Central Welfare of the Reichsvertretung Der Juden in Deutschland’ (Government Representation for Jews in Germany), The Jewish Kulturbund and her friends and former colleagues were encouraged to refer and recommend Stoatley Rough School.

Dr. Lion continued to advertise the school through her visits to Germany, which was remarkable, as the full weight of Nazi oppression was often brought to bear against those émigrés and Jews returning to Germany. The school was always closed for two months for the Christmas vacation (mid-December to mid-February) from the years 1934/35 till 1937/38 when it became no longer possible for the German staff to return. A proportion of the children did accompany the staff on these visits, returning to their families for the winter holidays. Herta Loeser, nee Lewent, was one of those pupils returning in 1937, ‘My first Christmas in England, in 1937, I returned to Berlin but almost did not manage to get out again. It was touch and go’. (Reminiscences; 1990)

Dr. Lion used these opportunities to lecture in various towns and cities in Germany about the school and the type of education offered and to interview prospective pupils. In the winter 1935/36 Dr. Lion and Dr. Wolff had 140 interviews with interested parents and children. Herta Loeser was interviewed in the Christmas vacation of 1936.

‘We all came to Stoatley Rough through friends or a referral. In my case it was Dr. Bernhardt in Berlin who recommended Stoatley Rough to my parents. I was interviewed by Dr. Wolff in Berlin and recall that occasion well. One of the things I wanted to know was whether I might take my canary bird with me. I was soon disabused of that idea and had to leave the bird, as so much else behind. My family luckily was able to join me in England just a year later – but I was the scout who was sent to England first’. (Reminiscences; 1990)

Margot Kogut’s, nee Silberbach, father heard Dr. Lion give a talk at the Cologne Kulturbund in January 1935 about Stoatley Rough School. With great perspicacity Mr. Silberbach saw that this was a way of emigrating and setting up a business in England. He suggested to Margot that she should go there for a trial period – for six to eight weeks which would give him the opportunity to make some contacts and for Margot to see if she liked it at Stoatley Rough School. In 1935 Margot was an ardent Zionist, a member of the ‘Werkleute (a Jewish Youth Movement in Germany) which was very left-wing. One of Margot's cherished hopes was to go to Palestine and become a Kibbutznik. Margot at the age of fifteen went to Stoatley Rough in March 1935 as a ‘Household’ girl.

From the beginning Dr. Lion courted the Refugee organisations here in Britain as a means of attracting children to the school. Many of these Refugee organisations did recommend the school to parents who could pay the fees, but mostly they couldn’t and many of these organisations became responsible for the care of these children. Mr. Walter Schwab who taught for ten months at the school in 1935 remembered Dr. Lion’s visits to his mother Mrs Anna Schwab. She was the chairman of the Hospitality Committee of the Jewish Refugee Committee, whose function it was to find homes for those refugees who did not have relations or friends to give them lodging or board. Dr. Lion used to visit his parents at home or at the refugee office in London, at least once a month, to organise the placement of children at the school, fees being paid for by the refugee committee.

After the crisis in Germany in November 1938, many more children were sent to the school via the Refugee organisations, including The Movement for the Care of Children from Germany, Inter-Aid Committee for Germany, Christian Council for Refugees from Germany and Central Europe, The Nicholas Winton Kindertransport from Czechoslovakia, The Mayor of Guildford’s Committee for Refugees and others.

During the war years, children continued to be referred and placed at Stoatley Rough School by the Refugee organisations, including a number of children who had disastrous experiences with their English foster families.

English children were also accepted at this time and there were two or three English pupils at any one time, but it was a special philanthropic parent who sent their children to Stoatley Rough School during these years and later during the war.

Ruth Bayer 14 yrs

Elisabeth Bing 16 yrs

Berthold Bronheim 14 yrs

Eva Cassel 14 yrs

Lilly Cassel 15 yrs

Beate Frankfurther 12 yrs

Felix Frankfurther 14 yrs

Martin Friedenfeld 10 yrs

Gertrud Gans 19 yrs

Peter Gaupp 11 yrs

Barbara Gerstenberg 16 yrs

Marianne Glucksmann 17

Peter Glucksmann 17 yrs

Mona Goettel 7 yrs

Karla Hagen 16 yrs

Inge Hamburger 17 yrs

Susi Horn 12 yrs

Edith Hubacher 16 yrs

Uli Hubacher 10 yrs

Hanna Klein 12 yrs

Kaethe Klein 13 yrs

Ludwig Klein 14 yrs

Siegbert Klein 15 yrs

Hanni Kochler

Lore Kretzmer 16 yrs

Gunther Lepmann 17 yrs

Elisabeth Loeser 16 yrs

Beate Lux 9 yrs

Beate Maier 12 yrs

Edith Marx 11 yrs

Inge Mendelsohn 17 yrs

Liesel Neufeld 16 yrs

Trudi Neufeld 18 yrs

Hans Oppenheimer 16 yrs

Hans Pachmayer 17 yrs

Heinrich Pachmayer 17 yrs

Ursel Paulsen 12 yrs

Renate Pniower 12 yrs

Marianne Ruben 7 yrs

Thomas Ruben 9 yrs

Hans Jurgen Schleimer 10 yrs

Inge Schleimer 13 yrs

Marianne Simmel

Micha Strauss 11 yrs

Peter Strauss 9 yrs

Georg Wallis 16 yrs

Helga Weissrock 11 yrs

Ruth Weissrock 12 yrs

Ernst Wohlgemuth 16 yrs

Lilly Wohlgemuth 14 yrs

Gerhard Wolff 13 yrs

Thea Wolff 15 yrs

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