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Fostering Kindertransportees

A few weeks ago, the AJR Refugee Voices website received a query regarding Dr Herbert Edmonds, who came to the UK on a Kindertransport and who we interviewed just before the Covid lockdown on the 5th of March 2020. The query came from Rev. Howard John, whose family had taken in Herbert, aged 8 and his sister, aged 6, from Karlsruhe. He wondered if we could make it possible for him to speak to Herbert.

I was really pleased that Rev John found Herbert on our website and called the Edmonds’s home as soon as I could to sadly find out that Herbert was not very well. Nevertheless, Howard and John managed to have a brief conversation on the phone, the following day.

Due to the war in Ukraine and the expected arrival of Ukrainian refugees in the UK, I was more acutely aware of the fact that we rarely hear from the former foster families of the Kinder and that it would be interesting to find out how Herbert and his sister came to Rev. John’s family.

Rev. John was happy to share his memories with me and we arranged a Zoom interview on the 28th of February. This is a short extract from the interview.

Hebert and his sister stayed with the John family a few months before their mother Lottie Emsheimer joined them in Wales. Herbert’s grandparents also settled in Wales and his grandfather, Julius Vogel, founded a cardboard manufacturing business which later supported the war effort by supplying cases for gas masks.

A day after my interview with Rev. John I found out that Herbert had passed away. I am grateful that Herbert’s story is captured in the AJR Refugee Voices Archive but also feel that it is very special that Rev. John reached out to reconnect with the ‘Kind’ who had come to join his family in Wales so many years ago.


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