Married Ilford couple who survived Nazi persecution marked 75th Kindertransport anniversary with Prince Charles

Alfred and Miriam Buechler

Alfred and Miriam Buechler - Credit: Archant

An Ilford couple who survived the Nazi persecution were among hundreds marking the 75th anniversary of a mass evacuation of Jewish children to the UK.

Alfred Buechler, 87, and wife Miriam, 78, were guests of Prince Charles on Monday to remember the Kindertransport – a rescue mission that brought around 10,000 children here between 1938 and 1939.

Alfred was one of the Kinder, as the rescued children refer to themselves, while Miriam survived two Nazi camps with the rest of her family.

He said: “[The Kinder] were saved by the British government.

“We came here without any conditions for the first time.

“Children came without their parents and 95 per cent never saw their parents again.”

Both his parents perished in a Nazi camp. The couple from Balfour Road, who have two children and two grandchildren, met the Prince at a reception at Clarence House in central London. Miriam, who survived the Bergen-Belsen camp, said: “I liked meeting him.

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“He was like everyone else. It was all very nice.” They were also the only people from Ilford to attend a reunion of the Kinder at the Jewish Free School in Kenton, north London, on Sunday. 104-year-old Sir Nicholas Winton, who organised the rescue of 669 children from Nazi-occupied Czechoslovakia, politician David Miliband and comedienne Maureen Lipman were among the guests, as well as evacuees who went on to be scientists and to sit in the House of Lords, as Alfred proudly put it.

He said: “We all had something in common. There were Sirs there and big people.

“I was a cook but we’re all the same.

“We knew everyone by their first names.”

Alfred came to England on an ocean liner aged 13, unable to speak a word of English and met a woman who was on the same boat at the reunion.

He featured on the front page of the Recorder in 1992 when he was reunited with a schoolmate after more than 50 years.

The couple have been married since 1961 and ran Buechler Catering from their Ilford home.