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Henry Kuttner

Arrived in Britain:
Place of Birth:
Born:
9 Feb. 39
British Transit Visa to Peru
Mode of Arrival:

Henry Kuttner was born in 1929 in Berlin. After Kristallnacht his father Hans Kuttner was sent to a concentration camp and the family came to the UK in 1939 on a British Transit Visa to Peru. During the war Henry was evacuated with his school. Both his father and he have been very involved in Belsize Square Synagogue. 

My father was very, very active in one of the biggest athletics clubs in Germany called the Sport Club Charlottenburg. I’ve been to visit them. They still remember him. He was the only ever Jewish President of that club. He organised the Potsdam-Berlin relay races in 1922. He wrote the history of the club.

Visiting my grandma, Oma Kuttner, was always a joy. She would entertain us with her piano playing and make the most wonderful meals. What stands out for me was the cheese blintzes she made – very difficult to do. Apparently you make them in the frying pan and then you bake them. So they’re sort of twice cooked. Very labour intensive, but for her family this was not too much trouble.

My father’s surgery had to move out in 1938. He was a dental surgeon. He took over what had been my room and made it into a surgery… until the 10th of November, when he was arrested and taken to Sachsenhausen concentration camp, where he stayed for 4 weeks. They’d taken him down the front stairs. I don’t now remember what my mother told me, but it was a pretty horrendous time.

Unless you were a refugee there’s really no point imagining what it was like to be one. All I can say is refugees need understanding. There are plenty of refugees in the world today who need understanding, help. And it’s no good looking the other way and pretending it’s not happening. So my message is: for God’s sake, help other people.

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@ Refugee Voices 2020

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