top of page

The copyright of all photographs belongs to individual interviewees. Please get in touch for more information

Henny Franks

Arrived in Britain:
Place of Birth:
February 4 1939
Interview number:


Dr Bea Lewkowicz

Date of Interview:

Interview Summary:

Henny Franks was born Henriette Grünbaum in Cologne in June 1923. She was the eldest child of Jacob and Helene Grünbaum. Together with her parents, her sister Grete, her brother Alfred and her grandparents, she lived at Kleiner Griechenmarkt in the centre of Cologne. She recalls playing with the children in the neighbourhood and celebrating the high holidays with the family.

Henny went to the Lützowstraße Jewish municipal ‘Volksschule' in Cologne and afterwards wanted to do a course at a Textile Design school. Being Jewish, she was not admitted and had to start an apprenticeship as a dressmaker.

In February 1939 Henny reached England with a Kindertransport together with her younger sister. By contacting Dr Erich Klibansky, the principal of the Jawne Jewish Grammar School, her mother had managed to arrange for the two girls to leave the country with a Jawne Kindertransport. In London, Henny stayed with her uncle’s family. For some years she worked as a dressmaker. When she was 19, she was joined the British army and was given work as a driver.

Whilst Henny’s younger siblings also emigrated to England, Henny’s parents first fled to Belgium at the outbreak of war and then to the south of France where her father Jacob Grünbaum was arrested, deported to Sobibor and murdered there. Her mother joined her children in London after the war.

Henny Franks married her husband Morris in 1957 and they had a son and a daughter. She has three grandchildren and lives in London. She was invited by the mayor of Cologne to visit the city of her birth and has been back many times to tell school children and young people about her life.

Key words:

Grünbaum. Cologne. Jüdische Volksschule Lützowstraße. Jawne Schule Kindertransport. British Army. Synagoge in der Glockengasse. Synagoge in der Roonstraße. Yiddish.


Full Interview


Previous Interviewee
Next interviewee
bottom of page