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Ruth Davies

Arrived in Britain:
Place of Birth:
Born:
End July 1939
Kindertransport
Mode of Arrival:

Ruth Davies (nee Hasholom) was born in February 1925 in Lötzen, East Prussia. Her mother was from Kovno and her father from Vilna. Her father had been a Prisoner of War in Germany during the First World War. He stayed in Germany and became a tailor and met and married her mother. Ruth was the first child. The family lived in a 2-roomed bungalow where conditions were primitive. Water came from the pump outside and the outside toilet had to be emptied. Ruth attended the local school but suffered antisemitism especially after Hitler came to power. She had to watch antisemitic films shown at school and their few non-Jewish friends stopped playing with her and her sisters. They were taunted by the boys from the Boys School on their way to and from School. Her father’s firm had to close and he worked for himself. Their landlord threw them out and they literally had nowhere to go. He allowed them a little extra time and they found a 2-roomed third floor flat. At Kristallnacht their synagogue was burnt down and her father was put in prison. He came out and had no work. He tried to work digging roads and came back with bleeding hands. Ruth had no school and she darned stockings for a family emigrating. 

Eventually she and her sisters got a place on the Kindertransport. They travelled to Konigsberg, then to Berlin, and then to Hamburg and caught the SS Washington to Southampton. From there they went by train to London. There was a 6-month old baby amongst the group. From London they went to Liverpool to a cousin of her mother’s but after 3 days they discovered they were not welcome. Her younger sister was taken in by another Liverpool family, who was kind to her. Shaina went to a hostel in Waterloo Road, Manchester and then went to College to learn dressmaking. Ruth stayed with the family for a while acting as domestic but was very unhappy. She then moved elsewhere and got a job in munitions. Eventually she came to Manchester and spent 2 weeks in the hostel and then moved in with a family as a home help. She was there until she married but was unhappy because the lady of the house was a schizophrenic. 

She met her husband through a shidduch and married late in 1948. He was from Hightown and he worked in a small business. He attended Manchester Yeshivah in the evenings. She became a British citizen on marriage. She davened before being married in the Shtiebel of the Shotzer Rebbe in Wellington Street East since the family she stayed with also went there. They rented part of a house in Hightown but after the first child, they moved to a condemned house in Waterloo Road. They then moved to Great Cheetham Street West before the next child was born. This was a large house and they let off a couple of rooms. They moved again after the 7th child to Kings Road. Her husband was working as Shammas in the Roumanian Shul on Vine Street and he later became the Secretary of a shul. 

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@ Refugee Voices 2019