The story opens with sepia snapshots and a poem, written by one of the youngest travelers on the kindertransport. Readers are plunged directly into the narrative as the train travels across Europe, loaded with frightened children. After this dramatic introduction, Berne explains the context and history of the Nazi's persecution of Jews, beginning with discrimination and ending with arrests, attacks, and death. Then the stories of six children are told; Kurt Fuchel, Harry Ebert, Irene Schmied, Hans Schneider, Ursula Rosenfeld, and Jack Hellman. Each of them has a story of fear, desperation, and hope to tell, each of them remembers the traumatic parting from their families and familiar surroundings, as they were transported to Britain and a better chance at survival.
The narrative ends with a chapter talking about the children's lives as adults. Some were reunited with their families, but many lost most or all of their relatives in the Holocaust. They and their parents, if they survived, often continued to face discrimination and suspicion, but they never ceased to be grateful to the people who saved their lives as children. A section focuses on the organizers of the Kindertransport and the children they saved from the tragedy of the Holocaust.
Back matter includes a timeline, glossary, acknowledgments and sources, questions for critical thinking, bibliography, and index.
The obstacles faced by the Kindertransport, especially of governments refusing to accept refugees and setting multiple strictures on immigration and how and when children could be rescued, will draw immediate parallels to current controversies over refugees today. While it will take a mature reader to reflect and consider the many complex issues as well as the emotional impact of the Kindertransport - it was considered a temporary measure, most people assuming that the children would return to their parents after the war - this would be a powerful text to discuss in the classroom or at a book discussion as well as recommend to students interested in learning more about World War II, the Holocaust, and the human impact of world conflicts, prejudice, and genocide.
Verdict: A strong addition to resources on World War II and the Holocaust, this gripping narrative will make an excellent introduction for readers interested in exploring history as well as current events.