Letter: Our generous act to lone children

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The Independent Online
From Mr Martin Goldenberg

Sir: Please permit me to correct an error in Andrew Marr's piece "Taking the sting out of Bosnia" (3 August). He writes:

ministers agreed in 1938 that 5,000 [Jewish children from Germany] should be taken 'for training in agriculture and domestic service for re-emigration later to the Colonial Empire ... the expenses are borne by private charity'.

The facts were these: on 21 November 1938, after a debate in the House of Commons, the Government announced that admission would be granted to an unspecified number of unaccompanied children up to the age of 17 years. There were no references to educational arrangements. By the time war had broken out, 9,732 children had arrived. The costs were indeed borne by private individuals and organisations. An appeal by prime minister Baldwin, over the wireless, resulted in pounds 500,000 alone.

It was the most generous act of any country in the world and it is remembered with gratitude by its beneficiaries.

Yours faithfully,

Martin Goldenberg

London, N6

8 August