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Ilford woman who travelled on the Kindertransport shares her story with cast of theatre show

PUBLISHED: 10:00 26 March 2018

Ilford-resident Hella Pearlman who came to Britain on the Kindertransport, with the cast of Queen's Theatre's Kindertransport. Photo: Rachel Pottle.

Ilford-resident Hella Pearlman who came to Britain on the Kindertransport, with the cast of Queen's Theatre's Kindertransport. Photo: Rachel Pottle.

Archant

An Ilford woman who travelled to Britain as part of an organised rescue mission during the Second World War, met with the cast of a moving play which tells the tale of a young woman who made a similar journey.

Hella Pearlman joined the cast of the Kindertransport to share her story of how she came to the UK on the Kindertransport with them. Photo: Rachel Pottle.Hella Pearlman joined the cast of the Kindertransport to share her story of how she came to the UK on the Kindertransport with them. Photo: Rachel Pottle.

Hella Pearlman was one of 10,000 Jewish children ferried on the Kindertransport from Austria and Germany to safety in Britain before the outbreak of war.

She attended the matinee performance of Kindertransport on Thursday, March 22, at the Queen’s Theatre in Hornchurch and met with the cast after the show.

Hella was almost seven-years-old when her father arranged for her and her sister to travel to the UK.

“I arrived at London Liverpool Street Station, with a ticket around my neck,” said Hella.

“We were only allowed one suitcase.

“I can still remember the hat I wore, I couldn’t speak a word of English.

“A man from Thrapston [Northamptonshire] who was quite well-off picked me up - he had two businesses, a grocery shop and a pet shop.”

After watching the performance, Hella joined the cast on stage to share her story with them.

She spoke of the loss of her parents, her memories of being on the train, and about meeting her husband and her life in Britain.

Eventually, Hella travelled back to her birth place to visit the place where she used to live.

Kindertransport is co-produced by the Queen’s Theatre and Les Théâtres de la Ville de Luxembourg in association with Selladoor Productions.

Award winning actress, Suzan Sylvester stars as Evelyn, along with Leila Schaus, Catherine Janke, Hannah Bristow, Jenny Lee and Matthew Brown.

The historical play tells the story of how nine-year-old Eva, a German Jewish girl, is sent to start a new life in Britain before the outbreak of the Second World War on the Kindertransport.

Over 40 years later in Manchester, Eva has changed her name to Evelyn, and is forced to confront the truth when her daughter, Faith discovers old letters in the attic.

Kindertransport is playing at the Queen’s Theatre until March 31.

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