The children have been standing in front of the Friedrichstrasse station for nearly two years. Two of them are looking hopefully with bags and satchels in one direction, five others are staring dumbly in the opposite direction. The track alongside leads to life or death.
The sculpture, by Frank Meisler, now living in Israel, commemorates the rescue mission now known as the “Kindertransporte” (children’s transport) more than 70 years ago, which saved the life of the artist himself. Between December 1, 1938 and the start of World War 2 in September 1939, more than 10,000 Jewish children and teenagers would be saved from the National Socialist concentration camps. They all left, without their parents, in trains bound for Great Britain.
The sculpture gives people on sleepy Friedrichstrasse a moment’s pause, perhaps studying the notices, which explain the historical background. Further sculptures commemorating the Kindertransporte can be found in London’s Liverpool Street station, the main station of Gdansk in Poland and soon also in Hoek van Holland (Rotterdam).