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Swansea Kindertransport girl gets royal invite

By South Wales Evening Post  |  Posted: June 27, 2013

By geraint thomas

memories   Holocaust survivor Ellen Davies.

memories Holocaust survivor Ellen Davies.

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MEMORIES of fleeing pre-war Nazi Germany have come flooding back to a Gower pensioner following a royal invitation to visit London.

Ellen Davis arrived in Swansea in 1939 as one of 10,000 Jewish children sent abroad to escape Nazi atrocities.

The rest of her family, including her brother and sisters, were sent to a concentration camp in Latvia where they were shot and killed.

Her escape was part of an initiative known as Kinder- transport, which saw then British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain allow almost 10,000 Jewish children to be sent to the safety of Great Britain.

Now aged 84 and living in Pennard, Mrs Davis was given the chance to meet Prince Charles, at a St James's Palace reception to mark the 75th anniversary of Kindertransport, this week but, sadly, had to turn the invitation down due to her age.

She said: "I was invited but it's too much for me at my age, when you get to 84 you have to watch what you do. It was very nice to be invited but there's only so much one can do."

Mrs Davis was, however, pleased that the Prince had agreed to help mark the anniversary.

She said: "It was good of him, he seems to be very interested."

The mother of three and grandmother of five, who has attended two reunions of the children, over the years, said that she was one of the fortunate ones and if it wasn't for the scheme, she would have "ended up in the gas chambers".

"I'm so grateful to this country, who opened up their arms, who took in complete strangers," she said. "I'm 84. I would have been with my mother and I would have died there. Without Britain I would never have lived.

"I'm grateful. I'm grateful for all of the 10,000 children Great Britain brought over."

Asked whether she would be attending any local memorial type services she said: "Nothing happens locally because I'm the only one left."

As for spending time on her own to reflect she adds: "I do that every day, it's never out of my mind. It's just one of those things, you can't forget.

I have remembered it for the last 75 years and I have never forgotten anything, it's as fresh in my memory now as when I came over here.

"It's been a long hard life."

Since 1997 she has lectured to thousands of children and adults about her experiences in Germany and Swansea but now she will rely upon her book, Kerry's Children published by Seren, to carry the message forwards.

She said: "I have done all that I can do over the last 30 years, it's down to my book now. It's the schools I will miss most."

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